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Helen Schapansky (Dyck)

October 16, 1934 - June 10, 2020


With profound sadness we announce the passing of our dear Mother, Oma and Great Oma.  Mom rose to meet her Saviour in the early morning of June 10th in her home at Menno Terrace East in Abbotsford.  Helen was predeceased by her first husband John Thiessen in 1983 and her son-in-law Joseph Keith Carter in 1988.  She remarried in 1985 and lost her second husband Herman Schapansky in 2004.  Helen is survived by daughters Helene (Robert) Tarling, Susan (Douglas) Rudnisky, Marge McNichols and son Gary (Jodi) Thiessen; 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren who were the loves of her life.

You were the best Mom and you are dearly loved and missed.  We will cherish you forever.  A celebration of  life is planned for the fall.

Helen was born in Neuhorst, Ukraine on October 16, 1934 to Heinrich and Susana Dyck; she was one of 9 children. The Second World War was very difficult for the family, they fled the Ukraine and travelled to different parts of Germany in an old wagon with an even older horse making for a nomadic life and a meagre existence. The family immigrated to Paraguay in 1947 on a ship that was even more derelict than the old family horse and wagon. Although they escaped the war, their life in a new country continued to be extremely difficult. Helen was married to John Thiessen in 1953 and they started their farming life growing cotton and peanuts, Hunger and hard work were their constant companions. Over the next 5 years they welcomed 3 daughters into the world, Helene, Sue and Marge. In 1958 the family immigrated to Vancouver BC and 6 years later their son Gary was born to the delight of the family. During the next 8 years, Helen went to night school to learn English, get her driver’s license and Canadian Citizenship all while keeping house and raising her family. In 1966, Helen and John purchased their first layer farm in Clearbrook. Helen enjoyed this lifestyle very much with a work ethic that could put most men to shame, and that’s the truth. She would rather be shingling a new chicken barn than doing domestic duties, but of course she did both cheerfully. When time permitted, Helen and John enjoyed going on fishing trips where Helen would invariably catch more fish than John, she enjoyed her time away from the farm on these fishing trips. When at home on the farm her time was spent gardening, canning, slaughtering animals, as well as making her own butter, yogurt, cheese etc. etc. etc. which she also sold to her various neighbours. She was an enterprising lady. Then in August 1977 Helen and John purchased a broiler farm in Langley, hoping to reduce their workload. For some mother and son bonding, Helen and Gary worked on their firearm and shooting skills when they got their hunting license together, she showed Gary how it was done. Look out Annie Oakley! She was always there for her children and was the kind of Mom who encouraged her kids to have an open line of communication so she could support and offer advice when needed or just be an ear for them to talk to. In 1983 John unfortunately passed away, leaving Helen and Gary to run the farm and although this was a tough time, they managed to keep the farm running. Helen attended a dance at the German Club in Chilliwack and it was here where she met her second husband to be, Herman Schapansky, and they were married in 1985. They moved to Chilliwack where they lived happily for a couple of years and from there they moved to Aldergrove and started a pigeon farm on 248th St. They stayed here for a few years and managed the farm before deciding to retire and do some travelling. In their travels they returned to Paraguay for a visit, took their RV across North America and spent time relaxing at their cabin at Sheridan Lake. Helen had to endure the passing of her second husband in 2004, and was once again on her own. Thankfully her life at this time was filled with wonderful grandchildren that she adored and spoiled happily. Helen had been through many health challenges including numerous strokes, heart attacks, major heart surgery, hip and knee breaks which lead to replacements but she endured these with grace and an appreciation for life all while being humble and stoic. She was not one to complain. Her lifelong relationship with the Lord gave her a strong faith which she leaned on greatly. Her biggest joys in life were getting together with her family which consisted of eleven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She was once heard saying if the little ones aren’t coming you don’t need to come over, jokingly of course. Later in life she filled her time knitting at least 2 thousand baby toques for the maternity ward to place on newborn babies heads. It gave her such purpose and joy and it was greatly appreciated by the nursing staff. Life and family meant so much to her. She loved and was loved and will continue to be loved. She will be dearly missed.


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From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Sharing Vallance
Relation: Friend of family

Deepest sympathy to all the family. Your Mom was a special lady and you will all miss her. Treasure all those wonderful memories. Hugs.

From: Marianne Toews
Relation: Went to school with her children.

My sincere condolences to Helen, Sue, Marg and Gary on the passing of your mother. I remember all our times together on your farm on Queens Road.

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