In Memory of




Obituary for Clifford Raymond Derksen


The family of Clifford Raymond Derksen is deeply saddened to announce his passing on May 22, 2022 at 76 years of age.

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Wilma; his two children, Odia (Larry Reimer), Syras (Natasha); and his three grandchildren, Simeon, Anna and Georgia; as well as his siblings, Ethel Arnold (Bill), Walt Derksen, (Bernice) and Leo Derksen (Sandra).

Cliff was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and grew up on a farm in the Great Deer District north of Borden. He attended a one-room elementary school, Hoffnungsfeld, then graduated from Borden High School. He accepted the Lord in his youth, was baptized becoming a member of the Borden Mennonite Brethren Church.

Cliff left the farm to attend Bethany Bible Institute for three years graduating in 1969. He met the love of his life, Wilma Bergmann, at BBI. They were married on October 4, 1969 in the Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church in British Columbia.

Cliff continued his studies at Mennonite Brethren Bible College, graduating in 1972. He pastored the North Battleford Mennonite Brethren Church from 1975 to 1980. From there he moved into the camping ministry, starting with Star Lake Lodge, Keswick Fellowship in West Hawk Manitoba. In 1982 he continued his camping career at Camp Arnes as their promotions director during the winter and director of the Pony Unit during the summer. From 1988 to 1991 he was the Executive Director of Camps with Meaning of the General Conference Mennonite Churches. He ended his camping career as Executive Director of Camp Arnes from 1991 to 1993.

In 2003 he established “First Impressions Janitorial Services” where he employed up to 17 staff. He retired in 2021.

In 1984 Cliff and Wilma experienced the murder of their 13-year-old daughter, Candace Wynne Derksen. With the onslaught of trauma and the aftermath of murder, his efforts to understand what was happening led him to work at his art in a whole new way. He rented studio space at Clifton Studios in 2010 and began to express his pain and journey of healing and forgiveness through creating ceramic sculptures.

He has held art shows at: Mennonite Heritage Centre, 2012; Altona Art Show, 2012; Winkler Mental Health, 2012; Frame Art Warehouse, 2014 & 2015; The Edge, 2016; Flatlanders, 2019. One of his favorite pieces, Dancing David, was stolen during the 2015 show. He was also a member of Theotrinsic Art Group and Mud In Your Eye Creatives.

His is also well known for the sculpture of his roped hands, reminiscent of Candace’s death, entitled Seven Weeks, and the feathered angel hands, entitled Project Angel.

He remained a lay minister at heart all his life. Three years ago he became part of the Maplecrest Church pastoral team.

After retirement age, in 2013, he began volunteer teaching to elementary students at St. Aiden’s North End School campus which later expanded to include the Grade 9-12 High School students.

Cliff loved the Word of God, memorizing and maintaining a vigorous personal devotional life. His favorite subject and hero was David the shepherd king. He spent many years researching, sculpting, teaching and sharing sermons and devotionals on the life of David.

There are two documentaries reflecting his work as an artist. Refuge 31 produced a documentary in 2018 called Suspended: the Art of Forgiveness. Another documentary After Candace: the art of healing, was produced by Ottawa’s Algonquin University, Victimology Research Centre in 2020. Both films portray Cliff’s journey of forgiveness through the 33 years after the murder of their daughter.

Cliff was predeceased by his father, Ernest G. Derksen, his mother, Mary (Bueckert) Derksen and his daughter, Candace Derksen.

Beyond his immediate family, he leaves to mourn a large contingent of cousins, nieces and nephews.

Cliff, your smile and laughter will not be forgotten. Your heart and spirit touched many people.

A celebration of Cliff’s life will be held at Soul Sanctuary Church, 2050 Chevrier, on June 4, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

The service will be livestreamed, and available at:

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Candace Derksen Fund housed in The Winnipeg Foundation endowment fund. A fund that continues to support crime victim programs.