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Selma Sawatzky (Unger)

October 24, 1937 - May 2, 2024


Our dearest Selma (Semp) was called to be with her Lord on May 2, 2024. Despite the challenges of dementia in her later years, her spirited personality, deep love for Jesus, determination for life, and strong character continued to shine brightly.

Selma was born in 1937 in Neuhorst, Ukraine. In 1944, during a tumultuous time, her family fled through Poland to Germany, joining many other Mennonite families seeking refuge. While as a child she held fond memories of living in army barracks as refugees, there were also painful memories such as losing her only sister, Lydia, at the age of six. In 2015, Selma found closure by visiting Lydia’s gravesite in Munich. In 1947 Selma’s family moved to Paraguay and later to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was here that she met Heinrich Sawatzky. They married in 1962 and began their family, immigrating to Canada in 1965.

In Vancouver, Selma and Henry raised four boys. A seamstress by trade, Selma learned her craft in Argentina and utilized these skills throughout her life. Additionally, she assisted with Henry’s Home Heating Business and was actively involved in numerous community and Church initiatives, including the Verein, City Hall prayer sessions, hosting family gatherings, and supporting the Spanish Church. She was a source of friendship, love, and guidance to many.

Selma leaves behind her husband of 63 years, Heinrich; her sons: Rob, Herb (Lorrie), Rudy (Joanne), and Heinz (Cheri) as well as her brother, Arno (Jenny).  She also joyfully cherished her seven grandchildren; Kennedy, Brooklynn, Aleah, Colton, Avery, Aaron, and Audrey.  She will be missed by  extended family and in-laws in Canada, Brazil and Germany including many nieces/nephews and grand-nieces/nephews whom she cherished and was proud of.  Selma was predeceased by her siblings Victor (Mussi†), Hans (Leni†),  Walter (Agnes) and Lydia.

Selma was known for her strength, humor, and fearless spirit, teaching us above all to pray and love Jesus with all our hearts. Though we say goodbye, we are comforted knowing she is rejoicing in Heaven.

A graveside service will be held at 11:30 AM on Friday, May 24, 2024, open to all who wish to attend. This will be followed by a memorial service at 1:00 PM at Peace on 52nd (FUMC), with a time of food and fellowship to follow.

We invite all whose lives were touched by Selma to join us in celebrating her remarkable life and legacy.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

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

From: Monica Grove
Relation: Niece

I have a photo of when I was about 4 years of age with a play tea set that my Aunt Selma had given me. It was really special to me because at that time my brother and I didn’t have many toys. Also, it was something special from my Aunt, just for me, and not a toy that was to be shared with my older brother.

I have come to see how many infusions of care came from my Aunt Selma over the years – from that thoughtful tea set to week-long stays at the Sawatzky house, to endless homemade soup and buns, to sharing of recipes (there was a certain carrot dish she made that I still make to this day), to organizing extended family fun, to helping out at our elementary school, to just laughing and celebrating the energy that I had, to the care and love she poured on her grandchildren when they were small, to her endlessly faithful work at her church … the list is a bit endless. I gravitated to her humour, her bell-pealing laughter, her energy, and her delight in fun and making things happen.

Aunt Selma took a real interest in the things I made and did. She would always chuckle and say, “Jaaa, Monika you are so creative!” I remember her coming to Aldergrove where I was staying with my Oma, and she picked up a book that I was in the process of writing, and she didn’t merely acknowledge that I was writing a book – she actually took the time to read it. I remember being so touched and grateful for this kind of care and attention.

If ever someone deserved to be met at heaven’s gates with “well done, thy good and faithful servant!” it is my beautiful, vivacious, generous, spunky aunt Selma.

I will miss her so much, and I’m so proud of the fact that she is part of my family.

From: Jacob Sawatzky
Relation: Selma is my sister in law!

Linda and Jacob.
We are saddened to learn of Selma’s passing!
We have many good memories!
Many occasions at Harrison Hot Spring!

From: Anita

My deepest condolences to the family. Selma was such a sweet sweet lady, kind and gentle, and full of the fire of God. I will miss her. Our city will miss her.

From: Gloria Roxana
Relation: Attended same Church

Dear Señor Enrique, Herb, Rob, Heinz and Rudy,

I will forever give thanks to God for having had the privilege of having Mrs. Selma in my life. As long as I live I will always remember her kind heart, her devotion to our Lord Jesus. I will always be grateful to her and all of you, you are a blessing. I don’t have the words in me to tell you how grateful I am to having met you all.

Service Schedule

  Memorial Service

Date & Time:
May 24, 2024
Beginning at 1:00pm

Peace on 52nd (First United Mennonite Church)
659 East 52 Avenue
Vancouver, BC Canada

659 East 52 Avenue
Vancouver, BC Canada

  Graveside Service

Date & Time:
May 24, 2024
Beginning at 11:30am

Mountain View Cemetery
5455 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC Canada

The entrance is off of 43rd at the corner of 43rd and Prince Edward St.

5455 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

Thank You Notice

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Wiebe & Jeske Funeral Home
202-31314 Peardonville Rd.
Abbotsford BC
V2T 6K8


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