In Memory of

Harry

Olfert

Obituary for Harry Olfert

It was with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Harry Olfert on January 4, 2024, at the age of 81 he went home to be with his heavenly father.

Harry leaves to mourn his loving wife of 59 years Agnes; his daughter Sandy (Ron) and their children, Ryan (Janelle children Ellis and Riel), Kristyn (Mark children Carter, Claire, and Austin) and Stacey (Lucas); his daughter Jacquie (Troy) and her children, Jamey (Katelyn children Porter and Eden), Julia (Stefan and daughter Harper), Kaitlyn (Dan) and Megan (Logan); his son Trevor (Leanne) and their children, Ethan and Tait. He is also survived by his brothers, David (Hermine), John (Agnes), Art (Elsie); and sisters, Agnes (Ed), MaryAnne, Kathy and Ruth (Arvid); and many nieces and nephews.

Harry was predeceased by his mother Maria, his father John, and his mother Elizabeth.

Harry was born in Winnipeg, MB and was the third son born to John and Maria Olfert. He enjoyed life on the farm near Sperling, MB better known as “The Bunch”. After his mother’s passing in 1955 the family moved to Winnipeg. In 1956 his father announced he was to marry Elizabeth Enns and there was a feeling of now I have a mom. In Winnipeg he attended John Pritchard School and then went to Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (MBCI) for high school. After graduation he attended teachers’ college, this is where he met Agnes. They were married in 1964. In 1966 they began their family with the birth of Sandy followed by Jacquie and then Trevor.

Dad had a love for travel. Holidays often began June 30th when the school bell rang. We spent many vacations at Detroit Lakes with the extended Olfert family. He wanted to travel Canada from the East to West coast and North to South after that he could go to other places. Those travels took him to Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Branson, Nashville, Hawaii, Mexico, India, Africa, and Asia. When we traveled as a family dad thought it was important that we received a Geography lesson along way.

Dad took an interest in many sports. Whether that was playing volleyball, coaching, or refereeing volleyball. He also curled together with his brother and played on the church slow-pitch baseball team with his son and other family members. He also was an avid runner until he began having trouble with his footing. After many years of testing, he was diagnosed with MS which slowly affected his movement and balance and eventually had him using various mobility aids. His active lifestyle became a challenge for him.

Faith and service were an integral part of his life. He was involved in the beginnings of McIvor Church and was the first moderator of the McIvor Avenue MB Church. He helped with Sunday school and serving on the finance committee. Harry also provided leadership for the Manitoba Mennonite Brethren Conference, the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference and chaired the World Conference of Mennonites hosting the world conference in Winnipeg in 1990.

After 19 years of teaching (Steinbach, Ft Garry, MBCI and River East Collegiate) he moved in another direction and became the Campus Administrator at Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC). After 8 years at MBBC he moved on to Olympic Building Systems. In 1991 Harry started his own consulting and fundraising business helping others to achieve their financial and building projects goals. In 97-98 he returned the MBBC, now called Concord College, as the College President and facilitated the transition into what became CMU (Canadian Mennonite University).

After planning his retirement International Development Enterprise (iDE) recruited dad to join their team of “Powering entrepreneurs to end poverty”. This led to opportunities to collaborate globally and to allow people to give and support iDE. He saw firsthand how the money he raised made a difference in the lives of the poor and rural households. This was one of the most rewarding projects he had the opportunity to get involved in.

With decreasing mobility, he continued taking interest in the lives of his family and their involvements in work and life activities. He was always up for a conversation about finance, politics, church involvements and travel. He loved his grandchildren and his great grandchildren. He enjoyed giving the great grandchildren a ride on his walker or wheelchair or helping them play with cars. If they wanted a cuddle they could climb onto his lap. Dad took great pride in his family, and he will be greatly missed.

Thank you to Dr. Fotti for his care and concern for Harry over the years. Thanks to the home care workers, the nurses at Palliative Care for their assistance as we navigate keeping dad at home for as long as possible. When we felt overwhelmed by his care, they helped us find a spot in Riverview. To the nurses and health care aid at Riverview we will forever be grateful for the care you showed Harry and our family. You treated him with respect by addressing him by name or buddy or my dear whenever you were caring for his personal need.

Viewing will take place at Friends Funeral Service, 2146 Main St. Winnipeg, on Monday, January 8, 2024, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. There will be a Celebration of Life at 11:00 a.m.Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at McIvor Avenue MB Church, 200 McIvor Avenue, Winnipeg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to iDE or Simonhouse Bible Camp.