Dr. Ferdinand Pauls

Dr. Ferdinand David Pauls

Sunday, October 21st, 1934 - Sunday, March 21st, 2021
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Doctor Ferdinand David Pauls October 21, 1934-March 21, 2021

Ferdinand David Pauls, born October 21, 1934, went to be with his Lord March 21, 2021 at the age of 86. Ferd is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Ruth, and children Ferd and Tammy, Joel and Sara, and Merril and Karen. Ferd was blessed with Grandchildren Hannah and Josh, Nathaniel and Melissa, Alex, Ferdinand Sean and wife Jodi. Great grandchildren were Andrew, Sam, and Ben. As Ferd was the youngest of five children in his family he had numerous relatives who formed a loving and strong extended family that we will always remember from Holiday and Life celebrations.

Ferd was predeceased by his sisters Hilda (John) Sawatzky, Elsa (Jake) Koop, and brothers Wally (Kay) and Ernest (Frieda). John Sawatzky is Ferd’s surviving brother in law.

Ferd was born in Winnipeg in 1934. He grew up on the family farm in Arnaud, and moved to Winnipeg to attend Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute. He went on to University and Medical School, graduating from the university of Manitoba with his M.D. in 1958. That same year, he married Ruth Neufeld in June.

After 2 years of further medical training in St. Boniface, living in the Nun’s residence, Ferd and Ruth flew to Belgium, where they spent a year learning French, and Ferd studied tropical medicine.

Ferd went alone to the interior of the Belgian Congo, and Ruth joined him two months later. They spent 7 years in Kajiji. During this time Ferd established a nursing school, and provided medical service to a people who would not have been able to access care. In addition to delivering many babies in the community, Ferd was also able to deliver his own sons, Ferdinand II in 1962, and Joel in 1964, roughly the same time as an armed rebellion.

The family returned to Winnipeg in 1967, where Ferd completed specialty studies in obstetrics. His youngest son Merril was born in November of 1967.

Ferd was contacted by a representative of the President of the former Belgian Congo, now called Zaire, in 1970. President Mobutu Seseseko had established a large hospital in the capital city of Zaire, the Mama Yemo Hospital, named after his mother. Ferd became the Medical Director for Maternity at the hospital. Later, when we returned to Canada, we could brag that our father worked at the hospital that once held the record for most births in one day, over 120.

After four years in Kinshasa, the family returned to Winnipeg in 1974. Ferd began to work at the Manitoba Clinic. Ruth remembers him being on call every second night and every second weekend. There was still some time for family meals, often scheduled around deliveries, long trips by car in the summer (including Nevada with no air conditioning), the activities of three sons as they grew up and attended school, and the cornerstone of their faith, Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. Sunday morning worship was a constant, and special occasions and group gatherings were numerous. Ferd served as Moderator, was on numerous committees, and taught Bible studies and Sunday school. Support for missions was a given and consisted of both his time and financial support.

Ferd was very proud to see his sons graduate and attend university and move on to careers as a nurse (Ferd II), school psychologist (Joel) and doctor (Merril). The addition of his daughters in law, Tammy, Sara, and Karen, finally provided Ruth with some female company. As grandchildren were added, the family expanded and allowed Ferd to start his role as loving and caring grandfather.

When Ferd eventually retired from on call schedules and delivering babies, he moved on to new challenges in medical administration. He worked at Seven Oaks and Grace Hospitals, and also in several rural areas of Manitoba; Brandon, Dauphin, La Broquerie, and Selkirk. With all the spare time available in his “retirement” he also worked with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, working internationally in Haiti, Kosovo and Congo. Emergency medical services were organized in Congo for several years, and when a project to reduce infant mortality was not possible in Haiti, Ferd spent several years travelling to Kosovo to achieve the same ends. He also attended medical conferences in Chile, Manila, South Korea, Panama, Mexico, Russia and Morocco.

Ferd’s love of tennis lasted his entire life, and he played well into his 70’s at the Taylor Tennis Club and Clear Lake, and if there was tennis on television there had better be silence in the room. Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Jets games were attended and watched with his family, and he attended many of his children’s and grandchildren’s activities from baseball to football to track and field. He had to wait for his grandson Alex to take up hockey before he could support local amateur teams, but enjoyed being a hockey grandpa.

As their house gradually emptied, and their children established households of their own, Ferd and Ruth could not have been more loving and supportive parents. Together they were always the sun around which our families revolved, and they were always there to help. Family gatherings were incomplete without grandma and grandpa, and there will now be a Ferd size hole. We are fortunate to be able to fill that hole with our indelible memories of Ferd and the certainty that he loved us and was proud of us. For many years, the end of the summer was marked by the family trip to Clear Lake, which included as many as 18 of us. These trips have become a part of all of us who attended, and will be remembered as long as there are two of us who are together and say, “Remember that time at Clear Lake? Remember the swimming, or the boating or the family suppers or the campfires that ended the day?”

As Ferd began limiting his activities, eventually the house at 568 Campbell St. was sold, and Ferd and Ruth moved in to Sterling House. The family would like to thank the excellent staff who were able to make Ferd’s last years comfortable and enjoyable. Family meals and gatherings at Sterling House were a highlight. Ferd made many new friends, and enjoyed many lengthy conversations. Ferd and David Halstead spent many hours at Tim Horton’s seeking answers to aging and changes in brain functioning.

The pandemic slammed a curtain down on so many activities. After beating a number of medical challenges in the last several years, Ferd had fought for long enough. After accomplishing so much, he could say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)” Ferd was so many things to so many people. Loving husband, proud father, caring grandfather, true friend, consummate professional and accomplished physician, he was also a devout follower of Jesus across continents and countries. He was truly a man who lived well, and who loved and was loved. We will miss you.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m. at Friends Funeral Chapel, 2146 Main St. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be by invitation only. The service will be streamed at Visitation will be Thursday, March 25, at Friends Funeral Chapel from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission International Central Council ( 440 Main Street, Steinbach, MB., R5G 1Z5, Canada, in memory of Doctor Ferd Pauls. AIMM supports the leadership ministry in the Congo, the people he once served from 1960-1967, returned to many times to support medically, and supported financially and in his heart until his passing.

The funeral will be held at Friends Funeral Service on March 26th at 1:00 pm (attendance by invitation only). The service will be live-streamed and can be viewed at the following address:
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, March 26th, 2021 | 1:00pm
    Friday, March 26th, 2021 1:00pm
    Friends Funeral Service
    2146 Main Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Private Family - by invitation
    Pastor Scott Koop
  • Interment

    Friday, March 26th, 2021 |
    Friday, March 26th, 2021
    Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens
    4000 Portage Avenue
    Winnipeg, MB R3K 1W3
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Liette Perron

Posted at 01:47pm
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr Ferd Pauls. I had the opportunity of working and traveling with him during the 10 years or so that he contributed to the Society of Ob/Gyn of Canada's Global Health Program, as Chair of the Society's International Women's Health Committee, and also one of its very active volunteers. His contribution to the program was huge; he was instrumental in adapting and piloting the Society's emergency obstetric training program for use in lower resource countries and a champion of our partnership program with peer ob/gyn countries in Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia and South East Europe. He was a great trainor, mentor and expert in the field of obstetrics. Through several country visits or work meetings in Ottawa, he always spoke very lovingly of his family, is lovely wife Ruth and his children and grandchildren. He will be sorely miss. Liette Perron, SOGC, Global Health Project Officer, Ottawa.

Lorraine Carter

Posted at 09:00pm
My sincere condolences Ruth. My mom often spoke of “onkle Martin Paul’s”. I’ve heard so many good things about your life and ministries. May God go with you in this time of sorrow.
Lorraine Carter (Shrier). St Albert AB

Kathy Foret

Posted at 01:53pm
Thank you good sir for more than exceptional care you gave me during my pregnancies and the birth of my sons. I will never forget your kindness and wisdom, and the patience you gave to a scared 18 year old girl. You always made sure my questions were answered and I felt at ease. You are a hero to many, a blessing to all that had the privilege of knowing you. Rest easy in the arms of angels, your work on earth is done.

Henry and Eleonore Esau

Posted at 02:51pm
Dear Ruth and family,
Our sincere condolences to you. We pray God may comfort you now and in the days to come. We will miss Ferd.
Love in Him, Henry and Eleonore Esau

Lynnette Dueck

Posted at 09:10am
So very grateful also for your dads added gift of 4 years of life after a huge health scare. It is only because of this that our paths crossed at Sterling House where I visited my mom and dad. When my dad passed in 2018 your dear dad said he would be my adopted father and ALWAYS took time to make me feel loved and special. A unique bond we had and I will miss our chats. He seemed to look deep inside and touch tender spots. 💕

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