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FRIESEN, J. “Sandy”

January 6, 1924 – Steinfeld, Russia
January 17, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

J. Sandy Friesen, son of George J. and Maria Friesen, was born in Kamenapol, Krevuposkeski: Okru; otherwise known as Steinfeld, U.S.S.R. This started his adventurous life in which he became an incredible man of God. With every change there was a new beginning. He once said life began at 80. Sandy started his new adventure in Heaven with Jesus on January 17, at 6:30 pm, 2019.

Sandy, with his parents and then four siblings, immigrated to Canada in 1926 aboard the S.S. Montclare. The family settled on a farm near Rosthern, Saskatchewan in 1928. Here the family grew to 11 children in all.

Sandy served in the Canadian Army from 1944 – 1946. It was during this time that he accepted the gift of salvation, that the Lord Jesus Christ offered him, and was baptized. He has proclaimed that to be the most important decision he made in life.

During his service to his country he had been posted part of the time in Lethbridge where he met and courted Kay Friesen. Their relationship blossomed and on September 5, 1948 they were married in the Mennonite Brethren Church just south of Vauxhall.

Their first daughter, Arlene (Lucille) arrived on November 22, 1951 in High River.
Their second daughter, Gwendolyn Donna (Gwen) arrived on September 3, 1957 in Calgary.
Their third daughter, Melodie Bonny-Fae (Dee-Dee) arrived on August 12, 1964 in Lethbridge.

The family lived in the Lethbridge area until 1975 when they bought a ranch near Sparwood, B.C. This was a place of hard work and hard times, yet a place of peace and tranquility at the same time. Sandy really came to love nature and horses while living on the ranch.

Tragedy struck the family when Kay died suddenly on October 12, 1979. This was a devastating blow to the family. Sandy said that it was God’s hand holding them that sustained them during this time. He took great comfort in Isaiah 43:1-3 and Deuteronomy 33:25.

The ranch was sold in 1980 and Sandy moved back to Lethbridge with his daughter Dee-Dee.

Sandy was a keen student throughout his life. He studied at Coaldale Bible School, Prairie Bible Institute and the University of Calgary, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree. Among his many & varied careers he worked as a border security guard, a transit driver, a Driver’s Ed Instructor, an Industrial Arts teacher, a rancher and a print master for Wycliff.

In 1982 Sandy met Shirley Uptigrove on a blind date. They grew to love each other and were married on March 26, 1983 at Brentview Baptist Church in Calgary, AB. Their blended family of 7 children has now grown to be a family of 37. Sandy and Shirley’s life together has been filled with family, friends, travel, camping, volunteering, and serving the Lord. They particularly enjoyed traveling from coast to coast to coast of North America in their motorhome.

Sandy’s volunteering included horse packing trips with Camp Caroline, serving with the Gideons, teaching English as a second language, serving as a deacon at church and marking Bible lessons at U.B. David & I’ll B. Jonathan.

His Hobbies included: woodworking, painting, model airplane building/flying, photography, reading, camping, bread making, coin collecting, and being a master at recreating & repurposing anything. He loved horses, working with his hands and spending time in God’s creation.

Sandy was an incredible husband, father, grandfather and follower of Christ. He was our Prayer Warrior.

Sandy’s new adventure has begun and he has had a change of address. He now permanently resides in Heaven. His new Landlord is the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No doubt, he is keeping his hands busy helping prepare a place for you if you too have chosen to be a child of the Most High God. That was his deepest desire and prayer for all of you.

Sandy is survived by his beloved wife Shirley Friesen; children, Lucille Gliege, Gwen Millman and husband Bill, Dee-Dee Neufeld and husband Don, Terry Smith and husband Bob, Barry Uptigrove and wife Lois, Connie Schmuland, Stan Uptigrove and wife Peggy; grandchildren, Janay Bates, Dawna-Rae Friesen and husband Brent, Christopher Smith and wife Jessica, Tracy Smith, Leah, Heather, Robyn, Chantel and Jenna Uptigrove, Rhonda and Graham Schmuland, Joel Schmuland and wife Sofia, Vicky Seus and husband Matt; great-grandchildren, Jadeyn Bates, Oliver, Mataya and Jonah Friesen, Cole, Miles, Layla Smith, and Emma Schmuland; and siblings, Elsie Groves, Ann Johnson, Peter Friesen.

Sandy was predeceased by his wife Kay Friesen; siblings, Ben Friesen, George Friesen, Hank Friesen, Jake Friesen, Marg Clark, Tina Bexte, Mary Klassen; sons-in-law, Hank Schulz, Duane Gliege, Wynn Schmuland.

Funeral Services will be held at Brentview Baptist Church (3512 Charleswood Drive N.W., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the church. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made directly to U.B. David & I’ll B. Jonathan Inc. 2115 – 5th Ave NW Calgary, AB T2N 0S6, The family thanks Dr. M Christie & Agape Hospice for their compassionate care.

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Condolence Messages

  1. I always loved Sandy. He was kind and had a gentle spirit. I will remember him hopping on one of my horses in his 80’s and thinking he would go for a little jog ….much to my surprise he took off at a gallop!!! He loved every minute of it! You will be missed Sandy

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  2. In this sorrowful time, I would like to extend to you my heartfelt condolences. May our Lord comfort you and your loved ones.

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  3. Cliff & Peggy Anderst

    Dear Shirley,
    We are so deeply sorry to hear of Sandy’s passing. Such a profound loss for you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  4. Dave and Sherry Lloyd

    Dear Shirley and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers for you during this time.
    May our Lord give you His Peace.
    Dave and Sherry Lloyd
    Sherwood Park, AB

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  5. Uncle Sandy: a smile mile wide, a heart that served & loved His Lord and a life lived that proved you are loved!

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    My mom and Edwin and I would like to send our condolences to you Auntie Shirley and the family.
    Always appreciated Uncle Sandy and his quiet nature. So much reminded me of Dad and that beautiful Friesen spirit displayed in the entire Friesen siblings.
    May God bless you and keep you, Love and prayers…

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  7. To Sandy Friesen’s very special family , My family and I extend to you all our deepest and most sincere sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you at this very sad time.
    God bless. Much love, Faye and kids

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