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Maxine Friesen passed away peacefully on March 21, 2019, at 4:37 p.m., with family beside her holding her hands and face while hearing reassuring words of love and kindness and the promise we will all be together once again.
Maxine Irene was born on September 22, 1934, to Ludwig and Karoline Armbruster, together with her twin, Noreen. She was baptized and confirmed at Christ Lutheran Church in Neudorf, SK, and attended Pheasant Hills School half a mile away from their farm. Because both her parents descended from Austria, German was Mom’s first language. She learned English later at school because it was required, but she always spoke German with her sisters.
Mom worked hard all her life and was a natural, loving care giver. Being one of the oldest, she helped raise her younger sisters and brothers so that her mom could sleep because her mother was also a very hard worker in difficult times. Mom’s brothers and sisters remember her going out to work and coming home at Christmas with two big parcels of presents for all her younger siblings; they still remember those gifts today. She also used to make parcel orders for clothes for her sisters and brothers. Growing up they had nothing; mom said for Christmas they would get nothing more than Christmas oranges and some brand name cereal.
Mom worked hard on the farm and stayed at home longer than most. She stooked 250 acres by herself every year with her dad, she shoveled grain, milked cows, chopped wood, scrubbed clothes on the scrub board for all of her brothers and sisters. She was up when the sun rose; her sisters said she was the one that made sure they were all warm in the winter. Mom could carry 100-pound bags of flour, yet was only 115 pounds herself. Later on she moved off the farm and worked as a live-in nanny and care giver for numerous families; she cleaned their houses, cooked meals and looked after their children for many years until she met George Friesen; they got married on September 23,1966, and then started their own family, having two sons, Robert and Kevin. Mom and Dad were faithfully married for 52 years, and their little family grew to also include one grandson (Robert’s son, Skylar) and two great-grandchildren (Skylar’s children, Evalyn Maxine and Skylar Jr.), all of whom were very precious to her. The family would always say “there’s little Maxine and big Maxine”. Evalyn was a very precious treasure to her, being the only girl in three generations of family and also sharing her name, but she loved her great-grandchildren equally; she loved children very much. Mom gave complete unconditional love to everybody in the purest form. To get on her bad side meant that person must have done something quite terrible to her, as she was a very forgiving person all the time.
Mom worked for 14 years at Chow’s Cafe, serving at banquets every week; Jim Chow, the owner, said she was their best worker; she also volunteered at St. Paul Lutheran Home for many years.
Mom loved dancing very much and was a member of the local seniors dance group for many years; she was full of life and happiness, always giving everybody a genuine smile full of love and acceptance to everyone she saw. She was an excellent painter, making lots of beautiful paintings. She was a terrific cook and baker; although she didn’t do it commercially, she definitely knew her way around the kitchen, making everything from scratch. She canned fruits and other foods and always gave us healthy meals every day; nothing came from a can.
Mom enjoyed gardening and picking berries and flowers. She was known to be a fast runner and won many sporting events in school, one which was the three-legged race with one of her cousins. Her sisters say she used to ride horses a lot, and you could hear her whistling songs loudly in the distance on her horse named Dexter.
Mom loved people and socializing; she took great pleasure in everybody and had a gift for remembering everyone’s birthday, who was related to whom of probably almost everybody in Melville. Everybody was a little treasure to her, and she was a happy soul her entire life.
Mom even played a little bit of harmonica (about 10 polkas and waltzes). She didn’t do a lot of traveling, but she did go to a few places; she was in Las Vegas in 2007, her biggest trip, and experienced walking in the middle the desert; we stopped to take a picture of her standing by a 20-foot tall cactus. She went to Vancouver three times, Victoria on the ferry, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Red Deer, and all over Saskatchewan, taking great pride in her grandson playing hockey and coming on the team bus with everybody. She was at every game in Melville or out-of-town, as she just loved hockey; she enjoyed seeing her grandson score many goals, but one goal in overtime in the playoffs putting Yorkton out was one that she remembered right to the end of her life. When he scored, she jumped in the air so high the other fans must have thought she was only 20 years old.
Mom loved many people and many people loved her. Her physical beauty became better and better the older she got; she took great pride in her cleanliness, clothes and appearance. But it was her inner beauty that very few can match; she was just born with one of the kindest hearts that God has given someone and that was what made her a woman with class.
Mom will be painfully missed by her family and friends. Just before her passing, you could see in her face she was looking at something very good; that was God she was seeing. She passed away with a smile of relief on her face. In Mom’s passing, God received one of his best back with him, and she now will be watching over her loved ones from above as a guardian angel.
Maxine was predeceased by her parents Ludwig and Karoline Armbruster; her brother, Harry; and sisters Sylvia Crayne and Viola Goebel. She leaves to mourn her passing: her husband, George Friesen; sons Robert and Kevin Friesen; grandson Skylar Friesen; great-grandchildren Evalyn Maxine Friesen and Skylar Jr. Friesen; brothers John (Sharon) Armbruster, Jerry (Edith) Armbruster, Ernest Armbruster, Magdeline Johnson, Noreen Anderson, Gladys Friesen Wihlidal, Marlene Sitter, and Sharon (Tom) Haywood; sisters-in-law Leona Friesen and Alice Friesen; along with many relatives, extended family and friends.