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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Howard Willems on November 8, 2012. Howard died peacefully at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon at the age of 59. He was born in Saskatoon and split his school years between Saskatoon and Waldheim, SK. Howard joined the public service as a food inspector in 1981 where he inspected dairy and honey facilities. During his time with the federal government, Howard became very involved with the Public Service Alliance of Canada Agriculture Union where he continuously fought for the rights of others. Howard and his wife Brenda enjoyed camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, and travelling the world, capturing it all through photography. Howard was also a very active member in the community and dedicated his life to creating a better world. He was very involved in municipal, provincial and federal politics. He was a dedicated fundraiser for the United Way, Station 20 West and Nashi, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op and a founding member of the Buena Vista Cycling Club. After being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused from inhaling Asbestos fibres, Howard retired from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and co- founded the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization where he spent the rest of his life fighting to prevent others from suffering the same fate. Howard is survived by his wife of 19 years, Brenda, his parents Wilmer and Rosella, his two sons Jesse (Kelly) and Lee (Courtney), and his sisters Valerie (Surindar) and Audrey (Frank) and their families. A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Nutana Park Mennonite Church (1701 Ruth St. E.). Memorial donations may be made to the Saskatchewan Asbestos Awareness Diseases Organization (, 436 3rd. St. E., Saskatoon, S7H 1L7), Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op (905 20th St. W., Saskatoon, S7M 0Y5), Station 20 West (230 Ave. R S., Saskatoon, S7M 2Z1), or Nashi (Box 362 RPO University, Saskatoon, S7N 4J8). Online condolences may be sent from Arrangements entrusted to Charmaine Legrand.

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Published in Saskatoon StarPhoenix from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12, 2012.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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62 entries
November 6, 2013
Brenda and family
It was an honour this past week to light a memorial candle at the SFL convention on behalf of PSAC for Howard. His legacy will not be forgotten
Nancy Johnson
November 5, 2013
When I think of the struggle to make Howards law a reality, I feel awe and inspired by your sacrifice.
Shobna Radons
February 21, 2013
My condolences to you Brenda and all of your family. I watched Howard as he spoke on TV so sad that he had to go thru such trying times.... I remember Howard from my childhood days, willmer and Rosella used to spend a lot of fun times at our place. During one of those visits Howard being the boy that he was poked a hole in the hood of my brand new doll carriage and after that it was taped. Just a fun little memory I have of him. On Dec 23,2012 ... I lost my precious husband so I totally feel your pain, my prayers are with you . Rhoda ( Falk) Voykin
November 19, 2012
Valerie and Surindar,
Please know that you and your family are in my prayers through this very difficult time.
Susan Walker
November 19, 2012
Brenda and family,
My sincere condolences to you with the passing of Howard. I enjoyed working with, and having discussions with Howard. It seemed Howard was driven for the rights of others, which is a quality of few. :He will be missed.

Richard Delnea, CFIA retired
Richard Delnea
November 18, 2012
Brenda,Jesse,Lee and family. We are so sorry to hear of the loss of Howard. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Michael and Stephanie Leishman
November 16, 2012
Dear Brenda and Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Howard was a positive, caring, and motivating person. He will be truly missed. You are in our thoughts an prayers.
With sincere sympathy,
John and Nadine Langs and family
John and Nadine Langs
November 15, 2012
My heart felt sympathies to you Brenda as you mourn the passing of Howard. When I first met him I was moved by the compassion he had for life and his smile. May the good Lord wrap his arms around you and give you strength to carry on.
Irene Kroeger (Enns)
November 15, 2012
Brenda and family,
My heart goes out to you during this very sad and difficult time. Howard was a very special person and set a standard for many of us to strive to be better through our activism. I will always remember his encouragement and patience when I joined Council as a new RVP, always ensuring inclusiveness at Committee meetings. I always enjoyed the pictures he would bring to meetings to show us where you had been on your last adventure. We will always remember the contributions made by both of you at Council and will continue the fight. May the memories of all the good times you had together help to sustain you during the difficult days ahead. "To live on in the hearts of those we loved, is not to die"
Michele Jackson
November 15, 2012
Dear Brenda & Family
We were so very sorry to hear about Howard...please know that you and yours are in our thoughts and prayers.
Steve & Edie Nelson, Saskatoon SK
Edie Nelson
November 15, 2012
Sorry for your loss. Howard was well respected in the produce industry
Martins Produce
November 15, 2012
Goodbye to you Howard,
You are an inspiration, you are a light and guidance, and the most important of all, you are a friend. Thank you. We may have loss you but in all our hearts you are there in our memories. -Hilbert/Grace Macadaeg & Family
November 15, 2012
Brenda & family, we will miss Howard's passion and compassion for social justice. We all must do what we can to ensure his battles are now ours - take care.
David Forbes
November 15, 2012
Brenda and Boys .. Wilmer and Rosella .. Val and Audrey and all of your families.
I am so sorry for your loss.
I have a memory I would like to share.
My Dear cousin Howard .. I remember when we were kids.
Family gatherings at the farm.
One Sunday it would be at The Fast Family Farm by Dalmeny. Another Sunday it would be at the Penz Family farm be Hepburn.
It was always so much fun. Running around playing together.
We'd watch as your Grandfather Pete Penz would show us how to milk a cow or do his target practice.
Going out to the chicken coop to gather eggs and to the garden to with your Grandmother .. my Auntie Marie .. for fresh vegetables for supper. She always made so much good food.
And always so many people. Your Mom and Dad .. your sisters .. all of us cousins and all of our families. And more people .. I don't remember everyone.
Someone would say "let's play ball" and the farm yard would transform into a ball field.
Some one would start playing a guitar and singing.
Far away memories of our childhood.
We each grew up and went our own way .. except for your Mother and Me.
But .. these memories and more .. I will always hold close to my heart. Everyone that knew you will have their own memories to cherish. Thank You .. Love from Franc and Cathie Neufeld Cline.
November 15, 2012
Brenda,Jesse, Lee and family my deepest condolences on your loss. Howard was a friend and inspiration to so many and his efforts to help those that needed it will not be forgotten.Thank you for sharing him.
Milton Dyck Agriculture Union
Milton Dyck
November 14, 2012
Dearest Brenda and Family
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you as you and your family go through this difficult and sad time. Howard's death will certainly impact many, I know for you and your sons the depth of loss cannot truly be understood. He had such a large life and embraced adventure, challenges and each day with such integrity.

As the partner of a union activist, I remember the first time I meet Howard –at the time I felt so removed from the issues that were important to the collective. It was Howard who helped me make the connections within my social justice work and what was happening from the union activism perspective. He helped me engage in the discussion by talking about the issues important to me. Supporting people to be involved and helping them feel included was a beautiful gift he possessed. He will be missed.
Cathy Murphy
November 14, 2012
Brenda, Jesse,& lee
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers, we are so sorry for your loss,take care
Cara Smith, Carman Smith & Nancy Hamilton
Cara Smith
November 14, 2012
Brenda & Family,
My condolence in the loss of Howard. He was a kind and gentle man who was strong in his beliefs of equality and fairness for all. He will be missed but also remembered by many.
Cheryl Magnusson
November 14, 2012
Howard was always a strong supporter of learning and training at the CFIA. I appreciated his commitment and support. My deepest sympathy to his family. Mary Brodhead (ED Learning, CFIA)
November 14, 2012
To Brenda and Family,
Our sincere condolences to you on the loss of your husband and father Howard. We will always remember him in his work as our CFIA inspector as a very caring person who was always there to educate and suggest improvements that would benefit our operations as well as comply with the regulations he upheld. He was a true gentleman yet a fighter for the causes he believed would make the world a better place. We will sincerely miss him.
Grace & Lee Whittington
Riverbend Plantation
November 14, 2012
Our sympathy goes out to Uncle Wilmer and Aunt Rosella, Valerie, Audrey and especially to Brenda and family.
Deryl, Bonnie and Sarah Williams
November 14, 2012
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Janet Holick
November 14, 2012
Our deep sympathy to you Willmer, Rosella and you family.
Peter/Cassie Olesko
November 14, 2012
Brenda, Jesse and Lee our deepest condolences to each of you. Howard was a wonderful person to be around and to talk with, whether at the hockey rink or in our work setting. We all will miss his candid and thoughtful advise and support.
Alan & Sandra Klemmer/Stephens
November 14, 2012
Brenda and Family please accept my condolences on the loss of Howard. He was an exceptional person, his consideration for others will be greatly missed.
Darlene Tingtved
November 14, 2012
Brenda & family
My heartfelt sypmpathy to you at this time. It was always a pleasure to work with Howard and yourself. You both helped me through some difficult times and will always be thankful for you both. Take care.
Laurie Roberts
November 13, 2012
Brenda and family,

My deepest condolences to you. I was very saddened to hear the news of Howard's passing. I enjoyed all of my time spent with Howard during my time at CNYC.
Sarah Bell
November 13, 2012
Brenda and family

We were very sad to hear the news of Howard's passing. It was always a pleasure to meet with Howard to hear about his latest outdoor adventure plans and to talk about upcoming political and social events. Meetings around the dining room table to plot a political strategy or work on a campaign of one variety or another were always a treat.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with you at this time.

Scott Bell and Rob MacDonald
November 13, 2012
It is with great sadness to hear of the loss of a true freind

It will be the little things
that you will remember,
the quiet moments,
the smiles, the laughter.
And although it may seem
hard right now,
it will be the memories
of these little things
that help to push
away the pain
and bring the smiles
back again.
Ron and Nancy Filteau
November 13, 2012
Brenda and the family, my condolences, my toughts and prayers are for you. " I will always remember"
Yves Ducharme
November 13, 2012
Brenda and Family. Thinking of you all at this time and sending best wishes to get through this time together. Heather Longstaff
November 13, 2012
I am saddened to hear about the loss of our dear colleague, Howard. He was a dedicated inspiration to whatever he touched. I feel for the family carrying on without him and wish them peace in accepting that Howard is no longer suffering. We will all miss his presence to remember his life, each in our own way. God Bless.

Sal De Monte, CFIA
November 13, 2012
Brenda and family of Howard. Sorry to hear of Howards untimly passing. I worked as one of Howards counterparts for CFIA in Regina, he was great guy. I knew he wasn't doing to well lately, he put up a good fight till the end. Our Sympathy to you. Henry and Marguerite Baier.
November 13, 2012
Brenda & Sons
Our Sympathy and prayers are with you and your family at this very sad time.
Beth & Richard Hiibner
November 13, 2012
Brenda, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have thought fondly of you and Howard since leaving CFIA and want you to know the positive impression both of you left on me and the importance of public service and helping others. I saw the story on CTV and was so proud of you both of fighting for others even while going through such a difficult situation. Take care in this difficult time. Kind Regards, Keleah Ostrander (Herron)
November 12, 2012
Dear Willmer and Rosella
So sorry about the passing of Howard. Our condolences , thoughts and prayers go out to you.
Owen & Lois
Owen & Lois McCormick
November 12, 2012
To Brenda & family, Uncle Wilmer & Aunt Rosella, and sisters, we would like to express our most sincere sympathies to you during this time. I wish we could be there with you. We are currently in the Ukriane. Howard and I spent a lot of time having fun growing up together and yes sometimes we got into a little trouble. Take heart to you knowing he has made a step into Heaven. Love to you, Barry Fisher
Barry Fisher
November 12, 2012
My sincerest condolences to all of the family. Howard was a good man and will be missed by many. Debra Alexander Penticton BC .Family friend.
November 11, 2012
Brenda, Jesse & Lee - the neighbourhood will not be the same... 'we have no reason for sorrow for him ~ only for ourselves for having lost him. there will never be another like him.' sorry, i won't be there for the funeral.
S. Irlbeck
November 11, 2012
Dale and I had the pleasure of hiking the Grand Canyon with Howard and Brenda. We will truly miss you Howard. Brenda Our thoughts and prayer are with you and your family at this sad time.
With Love
Dale and Natina
November 11, 2012
Sincere sympathies to Brenda and family and also to Howard's parents and sisters. I will miss him and hearing of all the trips and viewing the many photos taken over the years. The cause he was committed too will continue with others.
Susan Putz (& Family)
November 11, 2012
Bob and I are grateful for the presence of Howard in our lives. He was a fine hard working person with so much compassion for others. We hope we could do as much for others in our lives. We wish Love for him and you and the family.
Caron and Bob Pyne Littlejohn
November 11, 2012
Thoughts and prayers with family
Shobna Radons
November 11, 2012
To Brenda, my deepest sympathy for you & your family, I can't imagine how hard it is for you. You were a great campion for Howard.
Rosemary Neufeld
November 11, 2012
I had the pleasure working with Howard in the dairies, and later on was able to enjoyed his company while cycling. Truly a gentleman with many worthwhile concerns, It was a privileged to have know Howard .
dave cunningham
November 11, 2012
Brenda: I am so sorry to hear about your loss you and Howard were truly one amazing couple that i will never forget, he may be gone but he will never be forgotten, I will never forget running across the street in Moose Jaw and giving you guys a hug, take care Brenda you guys are in my prayers. Love Iris
November 10, 2012
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Sabrina Gronick
November 10, 2012
Thoughts and prayers for you and yours. Always remember Howard truely made a difference for others.

Patti Gieni, Santa Rosa, CA
November 10, 2012
Dear Rosella ans Wilmer: I cannot imagine the pain you feel,losing your beloved son, Howard. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
Rita Lawrence
November 10, 2012
To Brenda & family , my sympathies to you and your family Howard was a great man he was always there for us it was a blessing knowing him take care .
Christine gauthier
November 10, 2012
Sister Brenda and family,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this message. Howard was a great man who made this world a better place to live. Please find some comfort in knowing that he has only left you temporarily, his legacy will live on in all of us.

My Deepest Sympathies,
Sister Brea (CIU SK 40031, formerly AG 30048)
Brea Lewis
November 10, 2012
Brenda, Jessy, Lee and family, I am deeply saddened by your loss. Howard was a wonderful mentor and friend to me. His strength and courage remain an inspiration to those that knew him, and the fight will continue! He truly has left legacy .

My heartfelt sympathies.
Meraiah Morison
November 10, 2012
Brenda. It was with much sadness that I heard of Howard's passing on the evening news. He was a great ambassador for many charitable causes. My sympathies to you and your family for your loss.
Gordon Soron
November 10, 2012
Brenda - My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
Maris Cumming
November 10, 2012
Dear Brenda and Jesse and Family:
We are so sorry for your loss and thinking of you at this time. Howard was a wonderful man and he will be missed.
Janine Lensen and Family
November 10, 2012
I am so sorry to hear the passing of Howard, My prayers are with you Willmer, Rosella & Fam.
Carol (Goetz) Boersma
November 10, 2012
Dear Sister Brenda and family of Howard. The world is sad for the loss of our Brother Howard but a whole lot better for the work he has done. We hold you in our thoughts, prayers with a great deal of sadness for the loss. He was an inspiration in life to others and has left a legacy of hope for others to follow. Marlene and family of Local 70067 Agriculture Union PSAC (Ottawa)
Marlene O'Neil
November 10, 2012
Brenda, Audrey and family,
Sorry to hear of Howard's passing, he was truly a remarkable humanitarian...our sincere sympathies
Nancy Johnson
November 10, 2012
Brenda and Family,with deepest sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. But I hope you know you are not alone, we will there for you as our caring thoughts are with you now, and in the days to come. .
Karen Zoller & Family
November 10, 2012
Brenda, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very sad time. Audrey (Richert) and Ron Vierling
Audrey and Ron Vierling
November 10, 2012
Dear Willmer & Rosella,
Please accept our condolences in the passing of your son. We are remember the entire family in our prayers.
Neil & Ruth Hamm
November 10, 2012
We were so sorry to learn of the passing of Howard. Our prayers and thoughts go out to both of you, "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal." Your friends, Syl & Ivadelle Kulyk
Syl & Ivadelle Kulyk
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