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November 14, 1917 – February 11, 2013
Aaron Regehr was born on November 14, 1917 in the Mennonite community of Waldheim, Ukraine (then part of Russia). Our father was the third son of Franz and Helena Regehr's union. Helena was Franz's third wife and they had three boys, Ben, George and Dad. In addition, Dad had additional half-brothers and sisters from Franz's previous two marriages. The family enjoyed an industrious, comfortable life in Waldheim, but in 1926 the family left all of their valuable possessions and immigrated to Canada. Upon arrival in Rosthern, Dad's father Franz caught pneumonia and passed away. Dad's mother Helena was faced with the challenge of raising the entire family on her own. She worked long hours as a seamstress, tended a large garden and raised chickens. Older half-sister Anna and brothers Ben and George left school early to help support the family income. Dad also did whatever he could to help, delivering groceries with his bike and other odd jobs after school. Aaron enjoyed his school years and was reported to always have been at or near the top of his class. As a conscientious objector during the second world war, he was sent to Radium Hot Springs and Vancouver Island planting trees and being the camp cook. His last Select Service assignment was at Swift's Meats in Moose Jaw, SK where he was in charge of making sausage. It was in Moose Jaw where he met the love of his life, Eileen Hale. They fell in love and were married in Moose Jaw on October 8, 1945. In 1946, Dad accepted employment at Friesen's Department Store and the young couple moved to Rosthern. It became their lifelong home where they raised their three children, Linda, Carol and Marvin and had many lifelong friends that they deeply cherished. Dad managed the grocery business at Friesen's Department Store for many years and in 1976 purchased the business, in partnership with Peter Martens, from owner Menno Friesen. In 1985 he sold his part of the business to his son Marvin and worked his way into retirement. For Dad, each day had purpose and meaning. He was an active member and volunteer at Rosthern Mennonite Church throughout his life. He was Sunday School treasurer for 10 years, was elected to various committees in church, was Chairman of Finance and spent many hours volunteering in the construction of the new church in 1964. He especially loved to sing and was blessed with a wonderful tenor voice. He sang in several male quartets as well as the male church choir and male melodies. In retirement, Dad started handcrafting grandfather clocks, building one for each of his three children and seven grandchildren. Dad thought it would be a good project to build one for the annual MCC relief sale. The clock sold for $4,200. Over the next 10 years he handcrafted and donated a clock each year to the MCC, raising a total of $67,750 for this worthy cause. Dad was always about giving back to the church, community and helping others less fortunate then himself and in his own way small help the Christian community for all it had given him in his lifetime. Aaron is predeceased by his father Franz, his mother Helena, sisters Anna and Sarah, brothers John, Ben and George and loving son Marvin. Left to mourn his passing is Eileen, his loving wife of 67+ years, daughters Linda Regier (Don), Carol Tingley (Dale), seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Rosthern Mennonite Church on Saturday, February 16, 2013. In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Aaron may be made to MCC (Mennonite Central Committee). Interment will take place in Rosthern Cemetery. Arrangements are in care of Funk's Funeral Home, Rosthern, SK (306-232-5245, www.funksfuneralhome.ca)
Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Feb. 14, 2013