Henry Robert Fenski was born on October 5, 1947 to Robert and Katie (Daudrich) Fenske. He passed away peacefully on April 30, 2019 at the age of 71.
The Fenske children were brought up on the farm on NE 4-37-25 and later in the house on Learners Street on the edge of Minitonas. Of all the animals the family kept in the farmyard, Henry took most delight in the chickens, especially the exotic breeds that laid colorful eggs. He also enjoyed collecting coins as a young boy and added to his collection at every opportunity. This became a lifelong hobby. The family attended First Baptist Church in Minitonas and Henry was baptized at the age of 12. Henry loved to sing, and he had a beautiful deep voice. As a young boy, he sang out loudly from the front pew, much to the embarrassment of his siblings. Sadly, when Henry was 14 years old, his mother passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Henry went on to attend Bible School in Edmonton in the 60’s and returned to Minitonas to continue farming with his father. Robert suffered many years with ALS, until his death in 1978.
Henry and Carol (Hart) were married in 1970 and raised three daughters, Jen, Christine and Amber on the farm three miles north of Minitonas. Aside from grain farming, Henry also worked for Siewert Logging. He later supplemented the farm income by cutting firewood, guiding hunters and pushing snow.
In 2003, when Jen and Chris purchased the farm from Henry, he relocated to St. Laurent, MB. He returned to Swan River in 2004 where he lived until March of this year, at which time he moved to the Pioneer Lodge in Minitonas. His last days were spent at the Swan Valley Health Centre, where he lost his battle with cancer.
Henry had many interests and hobbies over the years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, taking every opportunity to have fun outdoors with his buddies. He took great pride in his numerous master angler catches and in developing his ‘secret sausage recipe’. This homemade delicacy was a family favorite that he loved to share with friends. He also enjoyed playing cards, especially crib. Elvis gospel music was a favorite; and if anyone could sing along to Elvis and pull it off – it was Henry! Henry liked to spend money on new technology and toys; those who knew Henry well weren’t surprised when he brought home an argo, an ultra-lite plane, a school bus, a new camcorder or a unique vehicle. He was usually up for a race or a wager, challenging friends and neighbours every chance he got. In recent years he spent countless hours building his coin collection. He very carefully created coin sets for each of his eight grandchildren and loved gifting them with coins each Christmas and birthday. Henry always made a point of phoning his children and grandchildren on their birthdays, eager to set a date to go out for a meal together.
Margaret has been a special friend to Henry in recent years. They enjoyed going out for supper, visiting, picking fruit, making wine and watching curling and Jets hockey. They also shared in fellowship with the close-knit community at the First Baptist Church in Swan River.
Despite many challenges over the years, we hold on to the good times and memories that make us smile.
Henry leaves to mourn his three daughters: Jen (Chris) Zamzow and their children Bryn, Neva and Matthew of Minitonas, Chris (Clint) Buchholz and their children Konnor and Finley of Campbell River, B.C. and Amber (Todd) Friesen and their children Josie, Charlotte and Kate of Kenville; sisters Lil (Leo) Hart of Swan River, and Florence (Richard) Holland of Kelowna, B.C.; brother Bill (Lin) Galloway of Swan River and special friend Margaret Zell of Minitonas along with numerous nieces and nephews. Henry was predeceased by his parents Katie (1962), Robert (1978), his sister Betty Watkins (2008) and nephew Wade Galloway (2014).
Thank you to those that have cared for Henry over the years and in these last months of his journey, including Dr. Gendy, Dr. Wickert, Dr. Kotb and the CancerCare team, home care and the staff at the Primary Health Care Clinic and Swan Valley Health Centre. Thank you everyone at the Pioneer Baptist Lodge in Minitonas for your kindness during the short time that Henry lived there. Dr. Koetting, Dr. Burnside and the amazing nurses and health care aides showed incredible care and compassion to Henry and his family in his final days.
As Henry requested, cremation and a private family burial has taken place. Donations in Henry’s memory can be made to The Robert and Katie Fenske Charitable Foundation, Box 8, Minitonas, MB, R0L 1G0.
The Robert & Katie Fenske Charitable Foundation
Box 8, Minitonas MB R0L 1G0