Peter R. Toews was born to Peter and Aganetha (Unruh) Toews on August 29, 1916 in Walheim, Southern Ukraine. When he was five years old his parents were killed in a Civil War skirmish. Peter and his three siblings were orphaned by this tragedy and placed in homes of close relatives. Peter and his brother Victor came to their uncle Abram and aunt Helen Toews’ home. They immigrated to Canada in 1926 and settled on irrigation land in Coaldale, Alberta.
Although there were daily devotions in his home and he attended church regularly, Peter was in his late teens when he accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. Subsequently he attended the Coaldale Bible School for three winters and the Prairie Bible Institute for one.
In 1941 he married Lydia Janz. After farming for five years he answered the call of the Lord by moving to Winnipeg to prepare for the ministry. He studied simultaneously at MBB College and the MB High School and also spent two years as speaker of the Gospel Light Hour radio program. Following college Peter had the privilege of serving the MB Conference for more than four decades. Beginning as a teacher at the Coaldale Bible School, he went on to be a pastor of churches in Hepburn, Vancouver (Fraserview), and Dinuba CA. He returned to Columbia Bible Institute in Clearbrook for a ten year period. He was president for eight years. Next came a call from Elmwood Church in Winnipeg, back to Fraserview, and two final pastorates in Watrous, Sask. and Armstrong, BC. In 1986 he retired in Abbotsford and enjoyed woodworking, fishing, and especially growing roses.
After a brief hospitalization, he passed away peacefully on January 15, 2005 with loving family at his side. He is mourned by his loving wife Lydia with whom he shared almost 64 years of marriage; his children Victor (Pam Van Lunzen) Toews, Abbotsford, Ruth (Gordon, his daughters Jennie and Ali and their families) Heinrichs, Fresno, CA, Elfrieda Hiebert (Charles Fisher), Santa Cruz, CA, Peter (Linda) Toews, Abbotsford; and his grandchildren, Andrew (Amy) Funk and great grandchild Madeline, Sarasota, FL, Gregory Funk, San Francisco, CA, Meredith Toews, Denver, CO, and Peter and Karen Toews, Abbotsford. He is also survived by his siblings Mary Schmidt and John B. Toews, Abbotsford, Helen Toews, Coaldale, Alta., and numerous nieces and nephews.
Burial will be at Maclure Road Cemetery at 11:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005. Memorial service will follow at the Bakerview MB Church, 2285 Clearbrook Road at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Mennonite Central Committee.