We Remember

JANZEN, William “Willie”

October 20, 1931 — May 8, 2018

Willie Janzen, born October 20, 1931, passed into the arms of His Saviour on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

He was born in Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico where he was raised by immigrant parents and relatives.  He lived his early childhood and teen years running through the countryside, riding horses and playing soccer with his cousins Nettie and Andy Janzen.  At the age of 12, he gave his life to the Lord when he attended Church where he heard the word of God being preached in Low German.  He was so impressed, that he decided, “If God could understand so many languages, that is a God I want to know and follow.”

The family left Mexico and moved to Kelowna in 1946, where his parents bought property on Highway 97.

Willie went to Columbia Bible College in Clearbrook, BC, where he studied the Bible and got to know God as a personal guide for his life.

He returned to Kelowna to help look after his parents and took a job at the cannery where he worked as a machinery maintenance operator for 15 years.  If something went wrong on the line, the ladies would call, “Willie!” He would fix it and work would continue.

In 1959, he married his beautiful Katie and they built a house on his parents’ property.  After several years working night shift, he came home one night to his wife and three daughters and said, “This isn’t the life I want for my family.”  He quit his job and went looking for an orchard to buy and settled down on Reid Road.

The family spent 45 years there, growing apples and relationships with family, neighbours and anyone who came into their home.  There was always time for coffee and baked goods or the family favourite—fresh apple or sour cherry pie. Willie would often walk through the orchard looking at his trees and talking to Katie about this tree or that one, or this block or that block.  These were more than trees and a livelihood;  they were something that he cared for.  Over the years Willie could be recognized by the cardigan and cap he wore.  They became his signature, never leaving home without them, rain or shine.  In the winter he would wear one to keep warm, and on the hottest summer day, that same one kept him cool.  Yup, he was cool.

After retiring and moving into town, Willie continued to build relationships with people.  He started going for coffee at the mall, meeting a group of guys whom he faithfully joined every morning.  If his kids were visiting he would say, “Is it ok if I go see the guys?” Of course, it was ok; that’s who he was, always building relationships.

He will be truly missed by his wife Katie of 59 years and daughters Lil (Gil) Rueck, Hildi (George) Melzer, Carol (Andy) Hawkes, his grandchildren Jordi, Anna (Clayton) van Steenis, Libby, and cousins Andy Janzen, Nettie Avila, as well as many other relatives and friends.

Memorial Service Friday, May 18, 2018, at 1 pm at Mission Creek Alliance Church, 2091 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Far East Broadcasting Associates of Canada www.febcanada.org.  Bringing the gospel to the Russian people became important to Willie in the last few years.


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Friday, May 18, 2018, at 1 pm

Mission Creek Alliance Church

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Far East Broadcasting Associates of Canada Link: www.febcanada.org


Service Information

Service Details

The service for JANZEN, William “Willie” is scheduled for Friday, May 18, 2018, at 1 pm. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Mission Creek Alliance Church

2091 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC


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  • David Baskill says:

    Our very best to you Katie, and family. This world has lost a very good man who dearly loved our Lord. Coffee at he mall, and after church, will never be quite the same.
    We will all miss him dearly.

  • Jonathan Wiebe says:

    Lil, Hildi, and Carol,
    I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing. But I am happy that he is resting in the arms of Jesus and that he will rise again in the resurrection of the righteous. May our Lord be close to you at this time and may he visit you with his peace and comfort as you grieve.
    In Christ,
    Jonathan Wiebe

  • John Penner says:

    To Aunt Katie and family:
    Sorry to hear about the passing of Uncle Willie. Even though we rarely saw our BC relatives, we think of you often, and have found memories of our visits to Kelowna. May your happy memories help you through this difficult time.
    John and Diane Penner

  • Ron Penner says:

    Aunt Katie, Lil, Hildi and Carol .. we were saddened to hear the news of Uncle Willie’s passing. Distance did not keep your family out of our thoughts, and I have many fond memories of Uncle Willie from our visits. That great smile in his picture is what I remember most of his character – always happy! Our sincerest condolences are with you in this difficult time.
    Ron, Shirley and Samantha Penner

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