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Yarrow, British Columbia

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Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Biographies and Obituaries


BARWICH, Jakob After living a rich, full and eventful life Jakob (Jake) Barwich, of Yarrow, BC, died peacefully, surrounded by his family on December 6, 2010 at 80 years of age.

Jakob Barwich was born March 21, 1930, in Berosowka, Siberia, Russia, the eldest of five siblings to Johann and Anna (nee Voth) Barwich. At the age of 3, while visiting his grandparents farm he suffered the loss of his legs and half his left hand as a result of a farming accident. Though these injuries had a dramatic effect on his life and the life of his family he consistently surprised everyone by never letting these setbacks hold him back.

Jake was a creative and resourceful youth who despite the turmoil of war learned leather craft and upholstery skills that he used to propel himself through a successful career. Following the end of WWII he, along with his family and a host of other Mennonites, were transplanted from a devastated Europe to the undeveloped jungles of Paraguay. Here Jake proved himself as an important member of the community, taking part first in erecting shelters and buildings in their new settlement and later developing a thriving business providing community members with the saddles, reins and harnesses needed to work the land.

In 1951 he married Kaethe Fast and subsequently welcomed the births of his eldest sons, Herbert and Helmut into their family.

In 1957 he emigrated to Canada, eventually settling in Yarrow, BC. There he established his family and a shoe sales and repair business and welcomed another son, Henry. Then on Easter Sunday, April 1961, on a trip to Vancouver to celebrate Easter with his parents, he and his family were involved in a motor vehicle accident which claimed the life of his wife, Kaethe and injured the children. Yet in the midst of this devastation Jake was found bringing hope and encouragement to others.

On December 30, 1961 he married Erna Fast and in time added 3 more sons, Frank, Vernon and Kenneth to their family.

Jakob leaves to mourn his beloved wife of 49 years, Erna (nee Fast); sons Herbert, Helmut (Annemarie), Henry, Frank (Doris), Vernon (Barb), and Ken (Heather) and 19 grandchildren; his sisters Elli (Erwin) Bublitz, Anneliese (Benno) Jeske, and Magdelene (Conrad) VanDerKamp; his sister-in-law Wendy (Werner) Barwich, many nieces, nephews and countless friends.

He was predeceased by his first wife Kaethe, granddaughter Kaitlyn-Marie, brother Werner, and his brother-in-law Erwin Bublitz.

Viewing will be held on Friday, December 10 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. in Woodlawn Funeral Home, 2310 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsoford. All are welcome to participate in a Memorial Service to be conducted at Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church, 41995 Yarrow Central Rd., Yarrow, Saturday, December 11 at 11:00 am celebrating the life of Jakob Barwich.


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