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Yarrow, British Columbia

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Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Biographies and Obituaries


Jacob G. Derksen: His Life

Our father, Jacob G. Derksen, described his life in the following way in his memoirs:

My parents, Gerhard and Tina Derksen have told me, and I have a Russian passport to prove it that I was born on October 20, 1911, in the village of Alexandertal. I must have been something special because later on I found out that I was really being loved by my grandparents, my mother and dad, my sister, Annie, my cousin, Agnes, and by my Kindermaedchen.

Alexandertal was one of the 75 villages located in the Mennonite settlement of Molotscbna. My parents thought this was a nice place to raise Annie and me.

When Russia became entangled in the first World War in 1914, my father was conscripted and sent far away to the Ural Mountains. Since Father was seldom home, I spent a lot of time with my mother and grandparents. I will never forget that my Grandma Goossen talked a lot about trust in God. Many an evening I listened to Grandma tell how Jesus had come into this world to die for us and that Jesus wanted to come into my heart and save even little boys like me. She would sing too and we prayed together. I was only a six year old boy but I believed it with all my heart that I was saved by the grace of Jesus. My trust in God has never wavered through all these years because of the grace of God that I found in my Saviour at the age of six. I have never been in doubt that Jesus loves me and I love Him and that I am His child.

When I was about ten years old, something I'll always remember, happened to me. Two of my friends and I were joyriding on a wagon pulled by two horses. I was sitting on the front seat and all of a sudden I toppled over and fell off the wagon. I fell so that my head was right in front of the wheel. Suddenly the horses stopped just before my head was about to be crushed. It seemed as if something had made them come to a very abrupt stop. It saved my life. I have always believed that an angel stopped the horses because there was no logical reason for them to stop. I have never forgotten this event and I have often thanked Jesus that he spared my life.

My father came home after the defeat of the Russian Army. The Communists came into power and more changes came to our village. Finally in 1924 my father became convinced that we would have to leave Russia if we didn't want to land up in a concentration camp.

Following this decision we sold our farm and everything we had and said good-bye to our village friends. We also had to say good-bye to my foster brother, Jake Dahl, who had lived with us from 1919 -1925. Singing "Gott mit euch bis wir uns wiedersehen," (God Be With You Until We Meet Again) we started on our way - destination Canada.

After landing in Quebec City on October 25, 1925, we travelled by train to Plum Coulee, Manitoba - I got my first look at Canada. The doubts I had experienced during our trip to Canada vanished. My mind was made up - I would survive.

While my family farmed in Manitoba, I worked on threshing gangs in Saskatchewan during the summer, and in the winter I attended school and later Winkler Bible School. It was in the summer of 1928 that I was baptized and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church in Blumenhof, Saskatchewan.

In 1930 we moved to Yarrow where we scraped all our money together and bought a five acre farm and house. I worked at various jobs from back breaking hoeing to field bossing. I even organized a strike of seasonal workers. After I got fired, I came to the conclusion that I should become an entrepreneur. I approached Uncle John Derksen to lend me enough money to buy a truck and I started hauling whatever materials I could.

I was 25 years old and everything looked good, but I was lonely. It was then that I got acquainted with Susie Giesbrecht while haying. To make a long story short, we slowly fell in love. I courted Susie until June 19, 1938, our wedding day, when we became man and wife. After a honeymoon to Oregon, we moved into our house on Central Road.

It was to this home that we brought our children: Jack in 1939, Ed in 1942, Caroline in 1944, Susan in 1950, and finally Laszlo joined in 1959. We loved our children very much, and we became a close knit family. Our happiest times were when we were able to take trips up country, to California, and to Mexico. Our children will never forget our vacations.

We have had our ups and downs in life. We sold our lumber business in 1948 because of my illness. Later in 1965, I purchased Earl Pearcy & Company Ltd. and thus began one of the happiest periods of my life - the whole family was able to work together every summer in the berry business.

After I learned that I had cancer in 1973, the raspberry plant was sold and Susie and I travelled all over the world. God was with us, and after several years I was told that I was free of cancer. I was healthy but I was tired of travelling.

To add some spark to life I returned to the fruit packing business working with Mukhtiar and Sons starting in 1979 until 1985. I had lots of fun in the fruit business the second time around, and have fond memories of Neger Farms. We always remained friends.

Susie and I thank the Lord that He guided our lives in a wonderful way. We have been married 56 years, have 10 grandchildren who love us and we love them. God has given us two wonderful daughters-in-law and two wonderful sons-in-law. Last, but not least, there is Laszlo Kocsis, who has shared our home for over 30 years.

Throughout my life, I have felt the love of Jesus, and I know I am His child.

Family of Jacob & Susie Derksen

Jacob G. Derksen passed into the presence of our Lord on Friday, July 15, 1994.
He will be deeply missed by his loving wife, Susie, and his family.

Jack and Jenny Derksen - Santa Cruz, Bolivia

    Craig and Pamela Derksen - Bolivia
    Jonathan and Tanya Derksen - Bolivia
    Sarah Derksen - Bolivia

Caroline Derksen and Juan Vila - Toronto

    Daniel Vila - Toronto
Edward and Dianna Derksen - La Paz, Bolivia

    Greg Derksen - New York
    Kristina Derksen - Bolivia

Susan and Alan DeLong - Hope

    Jennifer DeLong - Hope
    Rachel DeLong - Hope
Laszlo Kocsis - Yarrow


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