Willie Dueck

Willie B Dueck

Wednesday, July 18th, 1923 - Friday, April 16th, 2021
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Obituary of Willie B Dueck
July 18, 1923 - April 16, 2021

Our Dad was born on July 18, 1923 in Morris, Manitoba - the 17th of 19 children. Dad entered eternal rest, forever united with Elizabeth, the love of his life, April 16, 2021. We say he is at rest, but Dad was a man of action, always working on some project, so possibly he is now done resting and is scheming about how to make better preparations for the loved ones still to join him on the other side.

Dad grew up on a farm and never lost his love for farming. Years after he retired, even though his knees often bothered him and he complained about not being able to walk, when it was time to walk the fields and check the crops, nobody was ever farther out on the field than Dad, and in his optimism, he always anticipated that this could be the best year ever!

Dad was a sportsman and played a lot of hockey and baseball in his youth. Years later at Morweena school picnics he was the formidable pitcher for the parents as they invariably trounced the students’ team in their annual matches.

Dad didn't wait for others to get things done. If something needed to be done, he would get busy and do it even when, or especially when, he was told that it was not possible. He liked the saying that grew around him - where there is “a Will there's a way”. He had strong opinions, but people were always free to disagree and be wrong. When someone said "no" to him he accepted it and moved on. When he first proposed to our Mom in 1948, she declined, and he prepared to move on. Dad’s family was literally in the process of moving to Mexico when, fortunately for him and us, Mom, realizing that she did not want to lose him, called him up and told him that she had changed her mind and would love to marry him if he was still willing. Needless to say, he accepted her proposal and a wedding was quickly planned. Using the trip to Mexico as an excuse to travel, Dad took mom on a month-long honeymoon around the west coast to eventually end up on a large ranch in Mexico along with many other neighbours and friends from Southern Manitoba. Mom and Dad ended up living in Mexico for 15 years, so Dad often claimed that they had been on a 15-year honeymoon.

Dad quickly became the “go to” guy. He knew how to get things done. Mom was a licensed nurse, and the colony needed health care, so they started a pharmacy and clinic in their home, which soon became a hospital that is still operating. From helping Mom inoculate her patients at the clinic, to learning Spanish and dealing with the local authorities, Dad did what was needed for the community to prosper. In due time Dad was elected to leadership and served as the Vorshterer (Mayor) of the settlement for a number of years. Dad also assumed a major role in helping to provide social welfare for the settlement. He did all this while operating a successful farm and business, being a good husband, and becoming a father to eight children while in Mexico.

Mom and Dad moved back to Manitoba in 1963 to a farm in the Vidir area. With 2 more children, and the demands of a mixed farm, life was hectic, and Dad was never content with the routine. He soon built a hog barn and then a chicken barn for laying hens. When a business acquaintance advised him that he had loads of second grade shingles for sale, Dad jumped at the chance, purchased all the available shingles and resold them. Thus, Vidir Lumber was born. When Raymond and Neil took over the business, Dad was able to turn his attention elsewhere. So, when a very gifted mechanic who needed a job moved into the area, Dad employed him to start Vidir Machine as a farm repair shop. Later he worked with others to build the first prototype of a carpet storage rack. That is how the current Vidir Solutions was born, a company that now employs about 200 people. Dad didn’t dream of doing big things, he was simply there to respond to whatever the need was.

One of Dad’s most prominent and endearing characteristics was his outsized love for people. Family dinners out were sometimes spent watching Dad move from table to table throughout the restaurant, connecting with old friends and making new ones. No wonder he had so many friends. For Dad there was no such thing as a telephone call to a wrong number. He'd just carry on a conversation as though it was meant to be.

Dad’s responsiveness to people and his connections to Mennonites placed him in a unique position to help them when they migrated from Mexico to Seminole Texas. Dad invested a great deal of his money to establish schools and churches that would help them adjust and thrive in a new country. He personally paid for housing and salaries for several of the first teachers. When a group of Mennonites in Paraguay were looking to acquire more land, Dad donated the money through MEDA to purchase the property. Dad was heavily invested in the work of MCC and was instrumental in starting Die Mennonitische Post and the Canadian Food Grains Bank. The monuments to Dad’s work are scattered throughout the Americas and the world, and Dad’s work continues to bear much fruit.

As he aged Dad began thinking of retirement and what that would mean for them as a couple. He deplored the way in which older couples were often torn apart when one of them would need more care than the other. His dream of having a home where couples could age gracefully together encountered many roadblocks, until one day while he was driving by the farm of the Reeve of the Municipality, he decided, in that moment, to stop and offer a substantial donation with no strings attached to kick start funding for the home. Without that funding the House of Hope would not have happened. As it turned out the house was ready when Mom and Dad needed to move out of their home in the country because of Mom’s failing health.

When Mom passed away in 2012, Dad kept his mind sharp by listening to, and discussing news articles of the day. He continued to think about how to improve the world around him. We remember his intense interest in improving a paint storage machine and the detailed drawings he prepared to show how it could work. He was always happy when he could innovate, problem solve, and come up with solutions to problems others weren’t even thinking about.
Dad was profoundly grateful for all his caregivers and was always happy to see them. A special thank-you goes out to Dad’s caregivers; Doris, Jolyn, Roselly, Emily, Frieda, Angela, and Cassandra. We thank doctors Akinpelu and Donelly, the EMTs, and the staff of the Arborg Health Centre for their care of our Dad.

We can never thank Rose enough for dedicating so much of her life to being a caregiver, first for Mom and then for Dad. Thank You Rose! Gloria, you too committed much time and effort in organizing and helping to create the space Dad needed to age gracefully in the House of Hope. Thank you!

Dad was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth, one daughter Maryanne; three grandchildren, Kris, Jason, and Renee; and all his siblings. Family left to mourn his passing are:

• Raymond & Martha Dueck; (Kris, d.); (Jason, d); Justin: (Renee, d); Alayna & Scott Darby & Owen; Karalee

• Neil & Mary Ann Dueck; Claudia and Tina Dueck- Read; Ben & Kendra Dueck & Anika, Kaylia, Everett; Carlee-Ann
Igoniwari; Alicia & Jodi Dueck-Read & Felix

• Rose Dueck

• Trudy & Peter Dueck; Carissa & Ernest Rempel & Allianna & Elijah: Jirah & Laura

• Bernie & Caroline Dueck & Katie

• Mary & Henry Friesen; Josh & Gina Friesen & Henry, Jaxon, Ava; Zachary & Brittany Friesen; Nathan & Amanda

• Cal & Anna Dueck; Caleb, Andre

• Sid & Bea Dueck; Amber Dueck; Dean Dueck; Kyle & Jori Dueck; Stephanie Dueck

• Gloria Dueck

Dad leaves us to continue his legacy of faithfully caring for others around us. He challenges us to leave the world a better place for everyone. Our gifts and resources are not ours alone. They are meant for sharing. Dad knew how important it is to share with those who are marginalized, and that it is when we share our resources with the most vulnerable that we truly do God’s work.

Thank you, Dad, for proclaiming and enacting the kingdom of God by who you were and how you lived.
A public viewing will be held at Friends Funeral Service, 2146 Main Street, Winnipeg on Wednesday April 21, 2021 from 3:15-5:30 and 7-8 p.m. - by appointment only. Please call Friends Funeral Service at 204-339-5555 to schedule a viewing time.

Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. at Morweena Evangelical Mennonite Church at Aborg, MB by invitation only. The service will be available to the public by livestream only - . However, the public is welcome to come for the viewing between 11:00am – 2:00pm.

Donations can be made to Canadian Foodgrains Bank

If you can we would appreciate if you could sign our electronic guestbook.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, April 23rd, 2021 | 3:00pm
    Friday, April 23rd, 2021 3:00pm
    Morweena EMC
    Address Not Available
    Arborg, MB R0C 0A0
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Funeral service will be on Friday, April 23 at 3:00 p.m. by invitation only with live-streaming available.

    Viewing will be held at Friends Funeral Service, 2146 Main Street, Winnipeg on Wednesday April 21st from 3:15-5:30 and 7-8 p.m - by appointment only . Please call Friends Funeral Service at 204-339-5555 to schedule a viewing time.

    There will also be viewing at the Morweena Evangelical Mennonite Church in Arborg on Friday April 23 from 11:00-2:00 p.m.
    Pastor Eric Isaac
  • Interment

    Friday, April 23rd, 2021 |
    Friday, April 23rd, 2021
    Morweena EMC Church Cemetery
    Address Not Available
    Arborg, MB
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Ernie Plett

Posted at 02:42am
Mr Dueck has so richly blessed my life in numerous ways. In his generosity and honesty in his business and being able to provide a great place to work. I always enjoyed working for him and appreciated his kindness in the day to day life at the work place.
I want to pass on condolences to the Dueck family as you grieve Mr. Dueck's passing.

Erna Dueck

Posted at 10:09pm
Hello me Erna daughter of Ben &Lorna C Dueck remember uncle Willie all my life. My parents bought the farm from Willie & Elizabeth. So when they came to visit it was always very special. When we came to Manitoba we loved to visit them. Loved to hear his stories about his mission work, their honeymoon stories and different experiences. He always had a smile ready.

Abe Warkentin

Posted at 08:43pm
Willie was a great help in launching Die Mennonitische Post. When the first issue came off the press in spring, 1976, he was there helping us with the huge mailing, get copies out to the hundreds of villages in Mexico. He came out for meetings in Steinbach for years. He was a humble man.

William Janzen

Posted at 08:28pm
If Willie Dueck seemed like an ordinary man, I soon realized that he was far more. I first met him in the 1970s and 80s at MCC meetings where we discussed issues relating to Low German Mennonites in Latin America. He had a remarkable ability to see what program initiatives were needed; he could get them “on the table” with a minimum of words; he’d speak with humility and clarity and so gained the support of other people quickly; and he provided funding. And yet he never made himself the center of such things. He was not “heavy.” He loved and respected people and had faith in them. He had a wonderful smile and a twinkle in his eye, evident even in his last pictures. In a way, he did not take himself all that seriously. He believed that he was only an instrument, meant to be of service to others, and to bear witness of a loving God. I will always be grateful that I got to know him. – Bill Janzen, Ottawa

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Donations are being accepted for: Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
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