October 29, 1933 – February 29, 2008
Our beloved father and grandfather passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family in Abbotsford, B.C. on Friday, February 29th, 2008 at the age of 74 years.
Wilmer was predeceased by his loving wife Jean of fifty two years in June 2007. Survived by his children Cheryl (Greg) Szostakiwsky of Calgary, Douglas (Noreen) Neufeld of Langley B.C and Brian (Jill) Neufeld of Calgary. Also survived by five Grandchildren, Matthew and Nicholas Szostakiwsky of Calgary, Christopher and Carmen Neufeld of Langley B.C., and Lindsay Neufeld of Calgary.
Born on the family farm near Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, Wilmer was the only child of Jake (1898-1954) and Mary (1906-1988) Neufeld. He often shared, with great fondness, his life memories of growing up alone with loving parents and numerous cousins in the same community. The central role of the church ignited a passion for music, which remained throughout his entire life. At the age of 21 years, Wilmer returned from Briarcrest Bible Institute to work the family farm upon the untimely passing of his father. Wilmer remained a devoted and caring son to his mother throughout her entire life. Dad married Jean Schmidt on August 6, 1955. While serving in many capacities in the heating and air conditioning industry throughout his working life, his passion was always music. In 1970, Wilmer completed his studies at the School of Opera – University of Toronto and later that year, he moved his family to Europe where he embarked on a professional singing career. During this career, he appeared in lead Tenor roles at Opera houses in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and England. When his professional singing career ended, the family returned to Canada settling in Calgary until 1991, when Wilmer and Jean enthusiastically relocated to the Lower Mainland of B.C. During his all too short retirement and most pronounced after the death of Jean, Dad fought to maintain his independence. When ill health prevented this possibility he was appreciative and thankful for the help, support and small graces provided by both the family and care workers.
At Wilmer’s request, a formal funeral will not be held. In honor of these wishes, a family viewing and celebration of his life was held on March 1, 2008 in Abbotsford and Langley. Dad’s remains will be privately laid to rest with mother at Maclure Road Cemetery in Abbotsford.
If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be directed to Wiebe & Jeske Funeral Home, 202-31314 Peardonville Road, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6K8.