Ernest “Brian” Toews passed away peacefully on January 27th, 2019. He leaves to mourn his wife Betty, son Corey and his wife Jennifer, grandchildren Riley, Casandra and grandpa’s “little ray of sunshine” Hunter. He will also be missed by his sisters Marge Friesen and Elvira Harder, his brothers Ron (Georgeann), Al (Kathy), Garry (Lorraine) and sister-in-law Esther, and their families. He was predeceased by his father Peter P. Toews, his mother Olga, brother Bill and brother-in-law C. J. Friesen.
Brian was born in Altona, MB on December 16th, 1941 and grew up on the family farm where he was driving the tractor at the age of 12. His father was a great influence in his younger years, coaching him in baseball in summer and teaching him the finer points of curling and sportsmanship on the ice in winter. In 1959 he met Betty who became his best friend and future wife. They were married in 1964 – a relationship that lasted 54 ½ years. In 1961 Brian moved to Winnipeg and got a job at James B Carter assembling car warmers and block heaters. He worked his way up the ladder taking night courses and eventually became the company’s accountant and in all worked for that company for 38 years.
In 1974 their son Corey was born and they received him 2 days before Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas that was! He was an excellent and a very understanding father giving his son every opportunity to pursue his dreams. And just when he thought he would only ever have fur-grandkids, along came the pride and joy of grandpa’s life, Hunter Brian Daniel Toews. What a salvation he has been to Brian’s life.
Brian and his brothers loved sports and that showed when he started playing baseball. He played with the winning team of the Plum Coulee Pirates from 1955 to 1960 which would in 2002 earn him an induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Then he again earned another induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 when he along with his dad and 3 brothers were rewarded an induction as a Family. He went on to play when he came to Winnipeg and was fortunate enough to play with the Black Knights who played in the Canadian Championships in Halifax in 1978. For that he was honored with an induction into the Softball Hall of Fame as an Athlete in 2010.
In winter he loved to curl. He started playing with Roy Wiebe, Barry Mulvenny and his brother Ron at the Victoria Curling Club when he moved to Winnipeg and for many years they enjoyed curling together winning a lot of spiels, club championships and in 1968 winning the MCA aggregate and the most coveted gold jackets. In 1984 he joined forces with Mike Riley, John Helston and Russ Wookey and in their first year of curling together went on to win the Labatt’s Brier in Victoria, BC. His team again won the right to represent Manitoba in 1986 this time playing in Kitchener, Ont. His Brier winning team was also honored by an induction to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in June of 2009.
After that he retired from curling for several years due to bad knees but when Clare DeBlonde contacted him a few years later, he couldn’t say no. That led to another Provincial win with team mates Clare DeBlonde, John Helston and Garry DeBlonde and a chance to play in the Canadian Seniors in Sue Ste. Marie in 1998 where they lost in the final by a smidgen of an inch to Saskatchewan.
Golf was another of Brian’s passions beginning at the Winnipeg Canoe Club in the earl y 70’s. Then in the early 80’s he joined the Transcona Golf Club where he enjoyed the competitive years of his golf. He was on the Board of Directors for years in almost all of the positions there were, serving most of his later years as Financial Director. In April of 2015 he was awarded a Lifetime Membership, something he really was humbled by but was never able to enjoy because of his failing health.
The last 5 years have been very hard for Brian as he never really recuperated from a spinal infection he had at that time. Brian was an honest, humble, quiet-spoken, kind and loving man who would never say a bad word about anyone. He was a good man who lived life to the fullest
A celebration of Brian’s life will be held at the Transcona Golf Course, 2120 Dugald Road on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 at 1 p.m.
The family would like to thank the staff on the 5E Medicine Ward at the St. Boniface Hospital for their compassion and care, especially the “constant care staff” over the past month.
In lieu of flowers please send your donation to MCC (Mennonite Centre Committee) 134 Plaza Drive, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5K9 or online at mcccanada.ca
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