1980 ~ 2019
It is with broken hearts we announce the tragic passing of our beloved husband, father and son, Jonathan Friesen, who passed away on October 26, 2019. But with the great loss of his passing on earth, we rejoice in the knowledge that he has joined many family and friends gone ahead to their heavenly home. Jonathan left us while doing what he loved best, serving others in the seat of his favorite airplane. As he liked to sometimes say, “He went out with his boots on!”
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Tanya, son Liam and daughter Keira; his parents Klass and Linda Friesen; parents in-law Bryan and Jan Williamson; brother Mark, sister Julie (Scott) Williamson, sister Lois (Jonathan) Thiessen, sister-in-law Allison (Kelly) Demoline and sister-in-law Kim Friesen. He so loved his nieces and nephews Jacob, Riley and Hannah (with Jesus in 2003), Norah, Joseph and Lucy, Zoe, Edom and Edillie. He loved so much to tease them!
Jonathan grew up on the family farm near Riverton, MB where he enjoyed helping with all aspects of farming and raising cattle. Over the years he continued to have strong ties to his home community and enjoyed visits with friends and family there, especially if it meant he could spend a few hours in a tractor. After high school he started his flight training where he met the love of his life. After completing his flight training and getting married, he started his flying career in Ear Falls, ON where he also spent winters doing highway maintenance. His flying career then took him to Bissett, MB to work for Blue Water Aviation. What started out as a stepping stone job turned into a career and the development of a whole new “family”. He was never one to sit still so when he wasn’t flying he would be on call with the local EMS department, or out in the bush logging, driving truck, plowing driveways, helping with building projects and many other jobs and hands on activities. He loved serving others, and always with utmost humility.
Jonathan’s definition of family extended well beyond it’s genetic borders. He was blessed to have a flying family that extended well beyond the confines of his job, an EMS family, a huge local community family, as well as friends stretching to the far corners of the globe. He was a man of few words with a huge presence that had a way of making everyone feel special.
The family would like to extend a big thank you to all who have helped out in the last few weeks. The dive teams that worked tirelessly in poor conditions to bring him home, the community members of Little Grand Rapids who helped with the search and provided necessary supplies, the air operators who supplied aircraft and pilots, and the many friends who gave of their time, supplied meals, and were just there to love us!
A celebration of Jonathan’s life will be held at the Bissett Community Hall on November 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be gratefully accepted towards a fund for Liam and Keira’s education. Donations can be e-transferred to JonathanLegacy@hotmail.com.
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Our sincere sympathy to Julie and family, and to Klass and Linda. What a shock this must have been. We pray God will shelter you and bring you peace.
Alec and Sheila Boermann.
Praying for God’s presence and peace to blanket you all tightly in this deep grief.
Tanya, Liam & Kiera
Our very deepest sympathies to you all. We hope the great memories you all had of him will carry you through this difficult time.
James, Joe, Paul & our families
Tanya and Family
It was terrible to hear of Jonathan’s passing.
I have flown many times with him and enjoyed his dry sense of humor. I felt that we had become good friends over the last several years while he serviced our camp.
We will miss him.
Carroll Lake Lodge
Harold & Marlene
Our sincere sympathies to your family, Klaas & Linda. How we hurt for you.
Rick & Adela Bergen
Our prayers have been with each of you continually during these past 2 weeks and will continue. What a fine man Jonathan was and it was certainly an honor to have taught him in school, hosted him in Senegal when he came to stay with us for a month, and to have had him and his family visit us in BC a few years ago. His quiet, compassionate, fun loving nature will always be remembered. He “wore” his faith in a most practical, kind way. Our hearts ache for your deep loss, and the loss to all of us that knew him. Love, Rick and Adela Bergen
Tanya and family
No matter how far we are apart you have always been in our prays and thoughts. At this sad time more so. God bless you all Amanda Hamilton-Oldfield (nee Starr) xxxx. england
Tanya, Liam & Kiera I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Jonathan…you would be proud of his work with others as I saw first hand. The care & concern he had for others was especialy heartfelt, because he gave so much. I recall the time we went on a call & I’ve always been awkward with kids on EMS. Jonathan stepped in an like a father would held that sick 2 month old like they were his own. I have a great respect for him, his family & his work…and I’m a better person to have known him.
My heart’s with all, as you heal
I got to know Jonathan work briefly on the ambulance with him, he was a truly caring man and a huge asset to the community of Bissett. Jon Is missed by so many. What a beautiful and accurate tribute
So Sorry this has happened to Jonathan. He will be missed by You, Liam, Keira and your families. Anyone new that has come up to Giraffe; I’ve told them that Jonathan could land that otter in a bath tub. Condolences to Y’all
My sincerest condolences. I flew many times as a passenger with Jonathan. He will be sorely missed.
We are so saddened to hear of Jonathan. We remember him just as this described him, hard working, quiet, strong, helpful and a pleasure to spend time with!
We are praying for you all, and trust the God of all comfort to hold each of you as you grieve <3
Love, Mark and Jobina Westman
My deepest condolence to the Family and his extended Family which is our Community Chapel in Manigotogan. We’re all sure going to miss him. I enjoyed seeing their Family in Church . They travelled from Bissett to be with us . My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Tanya and their Son and Daughter. Go fly with the Eagles my Friend Jon .
Sutee & Debbie Wangsud
We are deeply saddened with you Klass and Linda, Scott and Julie, the Willamson family, and Jonathan’s wife Tanya and children. We pray that God who cares for the broken hearted will truly be your comfort now and in all the years to come. May God’s love carry you. We will continue to pray for your family.
My deepest condolences to the family. I was part of Jon’s EMS family and actually just spent a day training
with him a few days before this tragedy. May he rest in peace.
to Klaas & Linda,
We cannot image the shock and grief that goes with a situation like this. May God hold you in his Hands in the coming days. Love Peter (George) and Anne Funk
I knew that Jonathan was a pilot, but did not meet him in that way. I was a volunteer fire fighter here in Bissett, and that’s were I met him. He was so unselfish, cared about others, and the small community of Bissett, that I wish I would have known him better. So sorry for your familys loss. The whole town of Bissett, truly lost a great man.
Pete and Darlene Gerbrand
We extend our deepest sympathy to the entire Friesen family. Fly to your heavenly home brave and
honorable young man.
Ron & Judy Plett, Lloydminster, AB
To Klaas & Linda – We read of Jonathan’s accident in our online news feed not knowing that he was your son. Having discovered this, it made the news ever more poignant. Our deepest sympathy to you & his wife & children on this great loss.
Tanya, Liam and Kiera. We are all devastated about your loss. Jonathan was a wonderful man. Allison, Kelly, Edom and Edillie spoke of him often. Take care and God Bless.
Sandy and family
Dear Tanya, Liam & Kiera,
I am deeply saddened by your loss. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this must be and I hope that you are able to find at least some comfort from those around you and the many people whose lives both of you have touched.
From first hand experiences, Jonathan was a treasure of a man who was deeply committed to serving others. He was an expert at so many things, yet humble enough not to say it. Instead, he did what was right and in the best interest of the people he served. Together with you, Tanya, Jonathan always went above and beyond in helping our participants who found themselves in need of medical attention and evacuation. It was clear that both of you felt that flying was only part of how you served others.
Personally, I want to tell you that Jonathan’s counsel and friendship were a true gifts from a man I deeply admired and respected.
All you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Tanya, Liam & Kiera,
I’m so very sorry for your loss and we are thinking of your family in thIs difficult time. I only flew with Jonathan a few times but heard him in the air every time I flew. He will be missed. Our deepest sympathies to your family.
Our whole family is heartbroken over this accident. You and Jonathan and your team have been such a huge part of our families joy…taking us to our favorite place ‘the lake’ year in and year out. Jonathan was so kind and good to us. He will be so dearly missed. A great man gone too soon.
We are sending so much love to you in this sad time.
Dale, Kathy, Jenny Gordon and Dilshan Hetti Hewage
We at Grace Mennonite Church have kept all of you in our prayers these past few weeks. You and Jonathan always took such good care of us as we flew back and forth from Pauingassi. We have nothing but fond memories of flying with you all. Much grace and peace and love to all of you as you say goodbye.
Kyle Penner (Grace Mennonite Church)
Sorry for your loss thinking of you all from Debbie Calder
Marilyn and Jim Thain
We would like to give you and all your family our deepest condolences.
So sorry for your loss
In the short amount of time I knew Jonathan, I thought he was a very kind hearted man, honest and a hard worker. I was looking forward to meeting up for work in the future. He will be missed by many, including myself.
Rick (and Alicia) Friesen
We so wanted to be there today to say goodbye to your brother alongside you. We’re so sad for you and your family. We’re praying for you all. I don’t know how else to get a hold of you except through this website.
Rick (from the Mennville days)
(The driving conditions here are really bad so we can’t make it to Bissett today)
Condolences to Tanya and her family. Your family (physical and spiritual) in Rosenort and area have been praying for you. May this service bring glory to God.
So sorry. Such a wonderful testimony. He was so loved. Cherish the memories.
So sorry have to have learned of Jonathon’s tragic death. He has flown us and our canoes for many years and his willingness to put in an extra effort in our interest was remarkable. Now that I read about his faith I can surely say that he lived it. Knowing he is with the Lord cushions the blow but I pray you will be comforted as you grieve his passing.
God bless Jonathon, neighbour and friend for the last 15 years. Your family is part of ours and will always be there for them
My heart sank when finding out about your son Jonathan.
My thoughts are with you.
The prayer is strong.
Douglas Red lake
My most abject Condolences, I just heard about John’s passing, he was a good man and always such a pleasure to fly with. I’ll be raising a glass in his honor tonight!