August 3, 1927 – July 12, 2021
Our mother, Mary Friesen (nee Penner) passed away in the presence of family on July 12th at Dufferin Place in Nanaimo, BC
Mary was a wife to Peter Friesen for 54 years and a mother to Marlene (John Unrau), Barb (Ric Koop), Ray Friesen (Linda), Glenn Friesen, Molly Friesen and grandmother to 11 grandchildren and great grandmother to 19 children.
She is survived by her youngest sister, Helen Enns and predeceased by her brother Jack Penner and sisters Anne Newbery and Elizabeth Enns, her daughter Karen in 1951 and her husband Peter in 2002.
Mary was born in Gem, Alberta. Mary was 7 when her family moved to Black Creek, BC. As a young girl Mary helped out on the family farm picking rocks, working in the garden, tending to animals and developed a strong work ethic. These skills led to a job at a seed and nursery garden in Oyster Bay picking pansy seeds.
It was here the top picker caught the attention of Peter Friesen. This friendship flourished and Mary and Peter were married February 15, 1948. They started their life together on a plot of land in Black Creek. Life was not always easy and they worked hard.
Mary was an amazing homemaker and supper was always ready at 4:50PM when Peter came home from work. Peter retired early from his career as a diesel mechanic at Elk River Timber Company and they opened their home to offer a refuge for young boys 11-14 years who needed foster care. Over a period of 14 years they had 43 children in their care.
The farm was sold in 1989 and they built a home in Courtenay, BC which became known as Quail Place Bed & Breakfast. Guests were blessed by their kindness and hospitality and when they retired from this work, many of these guests became long time friends.
In August 2002, Peter and Mary moved to a condo in Comox, BC to spend more time together. This was short lived as shortly after their move, Peter passed away. A surprise to her children is how independent Mary became.
Mary learned which gas stations were with service, continued to entertain, joined the Evergreen Club, a Canasta group and contributed in her church as she could. Flowers thrived under Mary’s green thumb and she loved her community garden where she could visit, share her tips and produce.
In later years, Mary loved sitting on her deck or her living room watching the boats on Comox Bay and enjoying the view of the Comox Glacier. Many nights would find Mary on her deck watching the moon dance on the water. This was her happy place.
In the fall of 2020, Mary had a fall which resulted in a hospital stay. It was there that Mary was assessed as not being able to live at her condo even with home care help. Her children accepted a placement at Dufferin Place in Nanaimo where Mary endeared herself to the staff.
Special thanks to all the amazing family, friends, home support workers, Dr. Ostry, neighbours Al and Brenda Good, care aids, and nurses that formed our village of love and care in recent years.
It has been said the measure of one’s life may be seen in the values and traits of their children. We, as her children and grandchildren, will do our best to honour her memory by living our lives in God’s grace practicing hospitality, having fun, and “making the best of it”.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a small family celebration. In memory of Mom, please visit a shut-in or lonely person.Obituary
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