The Life Story of Abram F. Wiens

Abram Franz Wiens
April 3, 1918 to April 5, 2011
Abram Franz Wiens was born April 3, 1918 in Sagradowka, USSR. When he was 12, his family, together with their entire village, fled the terror of communist Russia in a miraculous escape that paralleled Israel's escape from Egypt. After 15 months spent in China, with the assistance of the fledgling Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a group of 375 people left Habrin, China for Paraguay. It was on the ship somewhere between Shanghai and the Suez Canal, that Abe came to understand his need for a Saviour and asked Jesus to come into his life. He was baptized and joined the Mennonite Brethren church at the age of 14.

The early years in the Paraguayan jungle were full of hardships as young Abe learned the trade of wheelwright and wagon-maker.

On October 1, 1938, Abe married Anna Wiens, the vivacious 18 year old from the other end of the one-street village. Over the next nine years God blessed them with "five boys". After many moves and seeral brushes with death, Abe was able to emigrate from Paraguay to Canada with his family, where God blessed them again with three daughters and another son. This was the land of his hopes and dreams, but with no education in a strange land with a language he did not understand, it was hard to provide for his growing family when he was earning 30 cents an hour.

In 1952, Abe moved his family to a farm in the Edmonton, Alberta area, in order to give his growing boys an opportunity to learn to work and stay off city streets. Due to several mishaps on the farm and health issues for both Abe and Anna, they decided to move their family of nine children to Ontario in 1958. Here Abe and his older sons worked in house building while Anna and the younger children worked on fruit farms to provide for the needs of the large family.

Abe retired from the dual role of carpenter and farmer in 1983. This allowed him to follow a dream from his youth, as he took several courses in massage therapy and reflexology and started a work, which he saw as a healing ministry for aching bodies and (often) lonely souls. This "second career" kept him busy for almost 20 years. These years were also filled with travel to all continents (except Australia), visiting parents, children and grandchildren.

Abe and Anna spend the last 45 years of their lives together in various church servant/leadership roles. He always served with integrity and humility. On October 3, 2000, after 62 years together, Anna was taken from him. In spite of being surrounded by his children and many grandchildren, this led to a very lonely time for Abe.

On February 15, 2002, he married Susie Enns. As a family, we want to that Susie for the companion she's been to Dad over the past nine years. Abe has spent the last two years in the Tabor Manor long-term care home in declining health. His final graduation cam on April 5, 2011, only two days after his 93rd birthday.

Abe is predeceased by his son Henry (1966) and wife Anna (2000). He leaves to celebrate a life well-lived, his wife, Susie, and his children: Ernie and Marie, Erwin and Marian, Hugo and Lydia, Hart and Ginny, Mary and Peter Warkentin, Betty and Peter Loewen, Muggs and Ferd Klassen, Dave and Debbie, and Chi and Boma Waboso. In addition there are 32 grandchildren and their spouses and 63 great-grandchildren. Abe is also survived by one sister, Lena Sawatzky and one brother, Henry, many nieces, nephews and Susie's large family.

Here is a link to a slide show that shows glimpses into his life. 

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