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Yarrow, British Columbia

Edited by
Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Yarrow's Settlers: 1956-1965

Yarrow in the Summer Time   |   Yarrow's Tenette Club   |   Yarrow's Volunteer Fire Fighters

Community Portrait - Jake Derksen   |   Yarrow's Ocean Spray Baseball Club

Idaho Accident   | Community Portrait - Reverend Henry Brucks   |   Community Portrait - Susie Derksen

Yarrow in the Summer Time
by Elmer Wiens

Strawberry picking time in the fields of Yarrow coincided with the start of summer holidays in June. The hard work of growers and family members—ploughing, disking, planting, fertilizing, irrigating, hoeing, weeding and sucker snipping—was not rewarded until the ripe, red strawberries were picked into flats and trucked to the cannery for processing. Yarrow Strawberry Picking Time The monetary magnitude of this reward depended on the price per pound the canneries paid, which in turn was determined by the demand for strawberry products, and on the abundance of freshly picked strawberries. Growers hired teens, housewives, or underemployed local men if family members were insufficient for the harvest. Pickers kneeled between the rows of strawberry plants and picked the succulent fruit into six thin beech wood boxes (hullocks) set into wooden carriers. Kneeling and bending while picking resulted in many sore backs by the end of the day. When these boxes were full—about six to eight pounds of berries—the carriers were taken to an open shed at the end of the berry field, and the hullocks transferred to flats. Two carriers of strawberries equalled one flat. At the end of the day, a picker's flats were weighed, and the picker given a receipt indicating the net weight of berries picked that day. These receipts were redeemed by the grower at the end of berry picking season for cash at the going rate of about five cents per pound. The growers trucked the day's berries to a local cannery, or had them picked up by the cannery's truckers.

Raspberry picking time followed directly after the strawberry crop. In late June and early July, the raspberries began ripening, and the major cash crop of Yarrow's growers was ready. Yarrow Raspberry Picking Time While the raspberry fruit is smaller, raspberry picking was easier on one's back as raspberries were picked while standing or squatting into flats on wooden stands. Once the flat was filled with twelve to fifteen pounds of berries, it was carried to the berry shed and stacked. At the end of the day, the accumulated flats were weighed and credited to the stack's berry picker. The day's berries were carted to one of the local fruit plants: Pacific Cost Packers, Ocean Spray (Cascades), Earl Percy & Son, or Clearbrook Frozen Foods. The fruit was then processed the very same night and placed into cold storage. A few days after a row of raspberry plants was plucked clean of ripe berries, freshly ripened berries were ready for the next picking. This cycle repeated for three to four weeks until all the fruit was gathered.

Smaller growers with less than three acres of raspberries employed neighbours, their children, and members of their extended families. The larger growers, with four or more acres of berries, typically brought in pickers from out of town—Chilliwack, Langley, Surrey, and even Vancouver—lodging them in picker cabins adjacent to their berry patches. These cabins provided minimal amenities for their tenants—perhaps a sink with cold water, a hot plate, some pots, pans and dishes, a table and a few chairs, bunk beds, a wood burning stove, and an outside toilet.

Yarrow Raspberry Picking Time During the summer time, Yarrow's population burgeoned with teenage girls, many away from home for the first time. In the evenings, packs of these berry pickers, walking to Funk's or Aberna's to shop for the next days necessities, cluttered Yarrow's streets and sidewalks. Young men in hot cars, and teenage boys on bicycles cruised Yarrow's streets and avenues, hoping to fashion a summer friendship with some delightful "foreigner." Sometimes these friendships lasted for a few summers, and some friendships ended in marriage. The conversation of youth hanging around Betty's Café often turned on the questions: Whose raspberry pickers are the most attractive—Unger's, Wiebe's, Baerg's, Derksen's, Giesbrecht's, Harms', Reimer's, or Harder's? Has Sheila, Frieda, Angie, Mary, Vy, or Loretta returned again this summer? Maybe this summer I'll get lucky?

During the strawberry and raspberry harvests, Yarrow's canneries hired local adults and older teenagers to receive and process the berries. Growers and truckers transported flats of berries to the canneries' loading docks. At the cannery, each farmer's berries were weighed on a large scale, inspected as to their quality, and the farmer was given a receipt for the net weight of berries delivered. The stacks of berry filled flats were set-aside on the spacious loading dock for the night's processing. A typical cannery had two conveyer belts used to sort-out the bad berries. Ripe Raspberries A muscular teenager dumped flats of berries onto the lower end of a revolving belt. Overhead nozzles sprayed and cleaned the berries as they moved up the conveyer belt. Eight to ten women standing or sitting on stools at the sides of each belt removed rotten and green berries, twigs, leaves, dirt, and insects. At the top end of the belt, the berries entered a large hopper—a tin container tapering downward. Controlling the flow of berries from the hopper with a sliding metal plate, a worker emptied quality berries into cans containing twenty-eight pounds. Another worker weighed the filled cans to ensure the correct weight of berries. Then the cans moved along another conveyer to a waiting truck for transport to a cold storage facility. Poor quality berries were emptied into barrels containing four hundred pounds, which were preserved with SO2 solution, sealed, and stored for delivery to the British overseas jam market.

At the height of the raspberry season, cannery workers took long shifts until all of the day's berries were processed. These shifts started as early as five o'clock in the afternoon, and sometimes continued until eight or nine the next morning. Young men assigned to the clean-up crew worked another hour, washing down the machinery and conveyer belts, sweeping the floors and loading docks, and cleaning the washrooms. Tired cannery employees had just enough time to go home for a meal and sleep, before returning to the cannery plant for another night of toil.

Not everyone was hired in the berry industry. Reimer's Nursery, with their vast fields of shrubs, trees, and flowers hired crews of men to hoe, weed, graft, train and bud plants growing in long, long rows. These coveted day jobs often lasted year-round. Yarrow Bean Picking Time Other workers found jobs in local shops, garages, lumberyards, and schools, or at businesses in Chilliwack or Abbotsford. Guenther Doors, Glacier Cold Storage and chicken processing plants in Clearbrook, the Vedder Crossing Army Base, Bowman's and Cattermole's Sawmills in Sardis along the Fraser River, logging outfits in the Chilliwack River Valley, the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association, and carpentry and construction provided full time jobs for Yarrow's residents. In August, seasonal workers were needed for pea harvesters on Sumas Prairie, hop kilns in Sardis, and bush and pole bean farmers. Throughout the year, dairy farmers shipped milk, chicken farmers shipped eggs and live poultry, and pig and beef farmers provided meat for local and district butchers and animals on the hoof at auctions. The best paying jobs were probably driving trucks around the Lower Mainland for Vedder Transport, or operating equipment and vehicles on road construction projects around B.C. for Diamond Construction.

In the evenings, hardworking homemakers might take a break from their daily family chores of cooking, cleaning, laundering, fruit and vegetable canning, gardening, shopping, and child rearing—tasks required to be done along with paid seasonal work. Women also held responsibility for visiting seniors, supporting parents and grandparents. Caring for the sick, attending weddings and funerals, choir practice, music lessons, and attending Sunday school and church were obligations to be fulfilled.

Barnyard Water Fight Notwithstanding these busy times, Yarrow's residents still found time for leisure activities during the summer. Residents with memberships at the Chilliwack Golf Club, with cottages at Cultus Lake, or with powerboats were the envy of the community. Families who could afford summer vacations to such glamorous locales as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and the Seattle World's Fair, or trout fishing trips to lakes in the Cariboo were also envied. Once the crops were harvested, some Yarrow families drove thousands of miles to the Canadian Prairies to visit relatives they left behind in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or Alberta when they moved to B.C. Others entertained relatives holidaying in B.C. before they had to return to the Prairies for the grain harvest. In late summer, folks returned home from a holiday trip to the Okanagan Valley with boxes of peaches, apricots, apples, and grapes.

Recreational activities in Yarrow centred on the softball and baseball teams. Crowds of spectators avidly cheered their teams to victory on many hot Yarrow nights. The young people's group of the Alliance Church played co-ed softball games on Wednesday evenings, while on Thursdays the MB Church's softball team played other church teams in the Chilliwack District. Teenage boys organized football games at local school grounds or at the park, games played without equipment, and teams determined by skins or shirts.

Cultus Lake - Sunnyside Beach Swimming at the main beach of Cultus Lake on Sunday afternoons, and at the Jordan water hole of Stewart Creek, or in the Vedder River near Dyke Road on hot evenings was really relished. Cannery workers drove to Sunset Beach of Cultus Lake for an after work, midnight dip. Young children played "kick the can" with the neighbours late into the evening, far past their bedtimes. Meanwhile, audacious Mennonite youth attended the Saturday night dances at the Cultus Lake Pavilion, with music by a local or out-of-town rock and roll band.

In the days before television sets were common, families played games such as Monopoly, Chinese checkers, Careers, chess, and table hockey around the kitchen or dinning room table. Weekday evenings or Sunday afternoons might find them gathered around the radio. Comedies such as The Red Skelton Show, Amos 'n' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, and Our Miss Brooks were popular, as were drama programs, including The Shadow, and The Lone Ranger. B.C.'s major league sports teams, the B.C. Lions football club, and the Vancouver Mounties baseball club, broadcast their games on CKWX 1130, the powerful Vancouver radio station. Aspiring ball players devotedly followed the successes of their teams. If the notoriously slow pitcher George Bamberger was on the mound, the game could last for three or four hours. In the meantime, more enthusiastic fans organized car pools to drive the seventy miles to Vancouver to take in these games.

Vancouver Mounties Baseball Club Vancouver Mounties Baseball Club Vancouver Mounties Baseball Club
Vancouver Mounties Baseball Club
Vancouver Mounties Baseball Club
Vancouver Mounties Program Courstesy of Mary Froese



Yarrow's Tenette Club
Yarrow's Tenette Club
Photograph Courtesy of Dennis Martens



Yarrow's Volunteer Fire Department
Yarrow's Volunteer Fire Department
Corny Funk, Dave Klassen, Dave Giesbrecht, Jim Braun,
Menno Unger, John Braun, Henry Funk, Dave Martens, Henry (Ziegen) Neufeldt, John Kehler
Photograph Courtesy of Dennis Martens



Yarrow News From The Chilliwack Progress For 1956
The Chilliwack Progress June 13, 1956

Three Escape in Yarrow Blaze

Yarrow's Volunteer Fire Department

Fourteen-year-old Agatha Klassen
saved the lives of her mother and
sister yesterday morning as fire
tore through their home. She
leaped through a screen of flames,
then had them climb through a
window to safety. Normally
Agatha would have been at
school, however, she was
home Tuesday with a sore foot
.

Girl Heroine As Fire Tears Through Home
A 14-year old Yarrow girl tore through a screen of flames yesterday to warn her semi-invalid mother and convalescing sister that their frame house was a blazing inferno.

Agatha Klassen had just finished sending her younger brother off to school and was doing odd jobs around the kitchen when she noticed smoke.

She rushed to the living room to see fire eating savagely down the staircase. She ran through the flames to the bedroom of her mother and sister, then hurried them out the window in their night attire.

HUSBAND AWAY
J. Peter Klassen, owner of the house, was working at Campbell River with his son at the time of the blaze.

Mrs. Klassen and her daughters were taken to the Matties home to shelter immediately after the fire brigade arrived.

When The Progress arrived the fire was still smoldering. Particles of burned clothing were strewn around the debris and a badly melted refrigerator was lying near the edge of the foundation. These were the only items the fire left distinguishable.

Nine persons, seven of them youngsters between the ages of four and 17 were left homeless.

The Mennonite Relief committee headed by A.A. Wiens is seeking a place for the family to live until a new home can be found.

HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL

Annie Klasssen, one of the two persons in the bedroom returned from a 10-day stay in the hospital last week. The mother had been in the hospital four times this year and is due to go in again for an operation within seven days.

Cause of the fire which started in the attic and totally destroyed the structure and its contents is not known.

Neighbours say the house was insured only to the value to the mortgage. The estimate the damage to be between $10,000 and $15,000.

First outsider to notice the fire was neighbour Peter Giesbrecht 1202 Boundary Road. He was about to take his children to school when he saw the flames jetting out of the roof and rushed to the scene.

In the meantime, Mrs. Giesbrecht tried to phone the Yarrow fire department, but the line was busy.

A second neighbour, Willy Matties, 1185 Boundary Road also noticed the fires, and rushed to the scene.

BEYOND SAVING
When the Yarrow fire department arrived about 8:20 am, the house was beyond saving.

Normally, Agatha Klassen would have been at school, however yesterday she was forced to stay home with a sore foot. Neighbours day that if she had not been in the house at the time of the fire, the two women might have perished.

The family moved to the Fraser Valley seven years ago from Mexico. This was the first home they have owned. It was located at 1199 Boundary road, about a mile west of Yarrow.

Mr. Klassen had been unemployed most of the winter and just started to work three weeks ago. Until last year he had a job with one of the local hop yards.




Yarrow News From The Chilliwack Progress For 1957
The Chilliwack Progress June 5, 1957

Five Graduate At Yarrow

Graduation ceremonies were held in Sharon Mennonite Collegiate on Sunday, May 26th. The 1957 graduates are Linda Dahl, Ruth Janzen, Abe Ratzlaff, Arthur Loewen and Peter Thiessen. W. Friesen, principal of the school presided over the ceremonies.

Miss Linda Dahl presented the valedictory in the German language and Arthur Loewen gave the same in English. Farewell address from the student body was given by Miss Betty Dahl of grade 11.

The junior and senior choirs and smaller groups presented a musical program. Rev. H. Lenzmann was guest speaker.

A special feature of the program was the presentation of the J.J. Wittenberg Cup for general proficiency. The cup is presented annually to the student with the highest average in grades 9, 10, 11. This year's winner was Ronald Neufeldt of grade 10. Second highest average went to Anne Rempel of grade 9.

Principal Friesen handed the diplomas to the graduates.

Following the ceremonies a graduation tea was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Rempel with Miss Joan Rempel the hostess. Tea was sponsored by the Grade 11 class. Waldo Neufeldt prepared the report of the program.


A family picnic, 79 persons in all, was held in Bellingham Park on Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Giesbrecht and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives from California and Washington motored to the Park.

Present were Mr. and Mrs. Dave Wittenberg from Cuba, Mrs. J. Wittenberg, Abbotsford, Mr. and Mrs. John Wittenberg, Abbotsford, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wittenberg, Blaine, Wash., Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Giesbrecht Jr. and family, Mr. and Mrs. David Giesbrecht and family, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Giesbrecht and family, Mr. and Mrs. John Giesbrecht and family, Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Derksen and children, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Dahl and family, Mr. and Mrs. A. Friesen and family, Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Derksen and family, Mr, and Mrs. Dave Redekop and family, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Unger and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Friesen.

In all there were 26 adults, 43 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Enns and children, Kelowna visited at the home of Rev. and Mrs. A.D. Rempel, Dyke road.

Mr. and Mrs. John Hepting, Tulsa, Okla. Visited the home of Mr. Hepting's mother, Mrs. H. Hepting Sr. Dyke road.


The Chilliwack Progress June 26, 1957

Dedication Service at Yarrow

Dedication services on the completion of addition to Mennonite Brethren Church building were held when Rev. H. Lenzmann preached the sermon followed by a short address given by George Braun, Hazelton.


Yarrow Water board has tentatively approved the building of a board room. Alterations in the present fire hall will provide the accommodation.

Employment situation in Yarrow is good. Local plants are absorbing a substantial number of workers and many young people and women are employed. With a good strawberry yield and a good prospective raspberry season, very little activity other than field work and plant work is noticeable. Gardens are in excellent condition.

Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Neuman and family, who recently sold their home on Wilson Road, have left for Vancouver where they bought a new home. Mr. Neuman is employed in the city.

Mr. and Mrs. John Siemens and family, Burquitlam, were guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wolfe, Lumsden Road.


Good Raspberry, Pea Crops Forecast

Providing the weather co-operates, the district packing and processing plants are predicting good crops this year for both peas and raspberries.

Cascade Foods Ltd. Yarrow, and York Farms Ltd., South Sumas Road are both receiving their first batch of peas today. Fraser Valley Frosted Food report they will begin processing peas early next week.

All receiving plants stressed it was too early to say just how good the peas and raspberries will be so far as quantity and quality are concerned. But they felt at least a normal crop could be expected.

At Cascade, round-the-clock processing has been in operation since June 10. Strawberry processing put 160 workers on the payroll. So far only small quantities of raspberries have been received. A company spokesman stated that contracts to peas growers are "slightly higher" this year.

Strawberry processing is finishing at York Farms. The plant is now working 24 hours a day. Raspberries started rolling in Saturday, and a shorter season than last year is expected.

"Newburgs are the same as ever," said a spokesman, "but early season results have been disappointing for Williamettes." He expressed the hope that the variety will show an improvement as the season progresses.

One hundred and fifty workers are on the job night and day at Fraser Vale.

All packing plants reported the price of raspberries still very unstable. However, a return of 13 cents a pound for Newburgs has been predicted.


Yarrow Students Get Awards

Students from grades seven, eight and nine of Yarrow Elementary-Junior High school were entertained at an awards banquet in the school.

Grade seven and eight students served the seniors, who are leaving the school for senior grades. Members of the PTA served supper to 80 people.

Guests included School Inspector Ivan Jeffrey and C.A. Froese, school trustee. Chairman was Fred Ewart, and a farewell and good wishes talk was delivered by P.E. Reimer, president of the Yarrow PTA.

All around boy of the year was Fred Ewart, grade nine, and all around girl was Caroline Derksen, grade seven.

Best in sports for the girls was Gerda Epp (grade nine); other girls honoured for sporting prowess were Diana Reimer, Kaetie Kroeker, Anita Koehn, Erika Froese, Helen Epp and Evelyn Epp.

Boys' sports winner was Bill Peters; others honoured included Victor Fast, John Barkowski, Ed Derksen, Harry Fast and Dave Pankratz.


Mr. and Mrs. William Reimer have returned from Germany where they spent two years. Mr. Reimer attended the Northwest German Music academy in Detwald.

Also returned home from Detwald, Germany are Mr. and Mrs. Victor Martens and small son. The two young couples travelled home by air, flying via the North Pole.

Mrs. Wallace, Vancouver, visited with her daughter and son-in-law Mr. and Mrs. J. Kehler, Second street.


The Chilliwack Progress Oct 23, 1957

Church Conference Opens at Yarrow

Approximately 800 delegates are attending North American conference of Mennonite Brethren churches being held in Yarrow for the first time in its history.

Taking part are representatives from all parts of North America and some from South America. They are staying with families in Yarrow, East Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Clearbrook and Greendale.

The mammoth undertaking reflects extensive local planning. At the request of local residents, Yarrow streets were "spruced up" by municipal council for the occasion.

Registration was held Friday and Saturday and the conference started Sunday.

Reeve T.W. Richardson officially welcomed delegates Monday. Session originally intended to conclude today, may have to be prolonged due to volume of business.

Chairing the conference is Dr. H.H. Janzen, a Canadian teacher whose home is in Basel, Switzerland. He is staying with Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Martens, Central Road.

Monday saw the largest attendance to date. About 1400 person were served two meals that day. Spacious kitchens and many volunteers ensured smoothness of operations.

Among those attending is Rev. Frank Peters, a teacher at Winnipeg Bible College, who is staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Krause, Eckert Road. Rev. D.K. Duerksen, Winnipeg, another delegate is staying with Rev. and Mrs. H. Bartsch, First Street.


The Chilliwack Progress Oct 30, 1957

Mennonite Church Conference Ends

Churches, church schools and seminars were among the subjects discussed at the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, which held closing sessions Wednesday.

In all, proceedings lasted the best part of a week. Committee meetings began the previous Friday. On Sunday, worship services in Yarrow, Clearbrook and Vancouver were attended by more than 5000 members of the large branch of the Mennonite faith.

Officials declared that of the total Mennonite Brotherhood of about 500,000, some 300,000 live in North and South America. Of these some 120,000 have their homes in five Canadian provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The 60 local congregations in the USA and 79 in Canada were represented by 527 delegates.

On the agenda were worship, devotional services and reports and deliberation of the work of the following boards and committees: Reference and Council, Constitution Committee, Board of Trustees, Foreign and Home Missions, Publication, Education, General Welfare and Public Relations, Youth Work and Sunday Schools.

It was stated that the Foreign Missions program of the Mennonite Brethren conference has an annual budges of about $500,000 and church membership in foreign fields now numbers about 29,000 in India, Africa, Japan, Colombia, Paraguay and Mexico.

WIDESPREAD WORK

Much effort and money, it was added, are being spent to develop a sound Christian education program, to publish books and periodicals and to maintain an aggressive foreign mission policy. Relief work in war torn countries and welfare work were receiving constant attention, delegates reported. In addition, homes for the aged, for invalids and mental defectives are being built and supported.

Stated a spokesman: "New ways of life and trends away from agriculture into trades and industries; have made the old practice of outward separation from the world practically impossible". The goal of the church is now to train its youth in the faith of their fathers and equip them by means of religious and secular education and through publications to withstand the evil in and around them.

The Yarrow conference was one of the largest of its kind in the history of the twenty-nine-year-old-community.

LARGE SCALE CATERING

A total of 8,650 meals were served. They comprised early breakfasts, dinners and suppers, all of which were served in the basement of the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church.

The catering proved a gigantic undertaking. At Monday's dinner, 1500 people are estimated to have consumed 200 gallons of soup, 800 pounds of meat and 300 pies.

Some 1450 people were seated at the Tuesday dinner when 800 pounds of roast, 500 pounds of potatoes and 124 pounds of steamed fruits were eaten.




Yarrow News From The Chilliwack Progress For 1957
Yarrow Sports Stars: Biographies

Featuring Ernie Ratzlaff

Ernie Ratzlaff

Ernie Ratzlaff is one athlete who doesn't agree with people who state that the big man has all the advantage in sports. Standing just 5'7", Ernie excels in baseball, basketball and soccer. At 145 pounds, he may not have a terribly muscular looking figure, yet he possesses a tremendous amount of natural ability.

The youngest in a family with four sisters and three brothers, our subject came into the game 18 years ago in the little town of Dunrea, Manitoba. The Ratzlaffs moved to the Fraser Valley in 1940 and settled in Yarrow.

Having grown up in the raspberry capital, his mother has backing when she says he's quite a picker. Ernie prefers picking up "hot grounders" at shortstop.

In his four years of baseball with the Yarrow junior team, three times they have won the district championship, and as "Baby Ern says, "thus year will be the fourth."

Last season he was awarded a trophy for outstanding efforts with Ed Froese's junior champions, aptly filling the shortstop slot and just as efficiently handling relief duties on the mound.

SISTERS TOO

Two of his sisters were prominent sports figures at CHS from which both graduated. Tina was a basketball star and Lydia just as recently as two years ago figured in Chilliwack High's winning track and field efforts at UBC. Pete "Six", Ern's older brother is the "Satchel Paige" of local junior baseball. He has also been with the Yarrow club since it's formation.

In his junior matric year at Chilliwack high this year, Ernie figured prominently in the Frontiersmen's picking up seventh spot in the BC tourney. As the team captain of Ed Crosetti's crew, he gave the team added confidence and points as well whenever he was on the floor.

Ernie also played soccer for the Blue and Gold in the inter-school league. Speaking of soccer that is also one activity Ernie has been playing for a number of years. Playing left wing and scoring lots of goals is what he enjoys most in respect to this sport. He has a natural knack of dribbling around defensemen and hooking the ball into center. He rarely misses and opportunity to score.

His first soccer was played in the Saturday morning juvenile league in which he spent four goal-happy seasons with the Yarrow club. He now handles the juvenile soccer activities at Yarrow, as well as playing with the Sardis team in the intermediate league.

PING-PONG SPECIALIST

Give "Baby Ern" a little time at any new sport that requires a special skill and he could handle it without too much difficulty. He plays a good game of ping-pong, last year winning the inter-house singles at CHS. Numerous other sports activities captivate his interest. Some might not be classed as sports, but Ernie Ratzlaff always looks at things from the sporting angle.

Next year it will be senior-matric at CHS and future after that hasn't been seriously decided on by Ern. Of one thing we can be certain, though. As long as Ern can manoeuvre, and fake with hands and feet and doesn't exhaust his supply of natural ability to develop skills easily, he'll always have something to do with sports. - E.J.H.


Featuring Jack Derksen

Jack Derksen

An individual filled with ideas and solutions for any problem is the sports star for this week. Jack Derksen is a sport in the true sense of the word. The big boy stands 5'10" and looks every bit an athlete.

Jack is an easy-to-get-along-with character, who, when he sets his mind on doing something will, go ahead and do it. He will, however, harp at the slightest mistake-but only if it's made by himself.

When this boy sets his mind to tackling the oncoming ball carrier or out-jumping the opposing center on a basketball court, he'll put forth every bit of physical energy and mental concentration towards fulfilling his intentions.

SOCCER FAN

Jack has always kept in close contact with sports. He began playing soccer with Yarrow of the juvenile league and played with that team three years. Although not active on any school teams after that, Jack had always played soccer in inter-house competition.

The sport at which he has probably spent most of his time is baseball. Jack has been one of the mainstays on the Yarrow Ocean Spray team ever since its formation four years ago. Each of these years the Sprays won the league pennant and in three of these four, they took the post season pennant as well.

The bespectacled blockbuster handles himself nicely around second base and last year finished the season with a respectable 342 batting average. Jack bats second in the Spray line-up, is the big morale booster on the club.

He admits the Sprays have not been doing anything spectacular this season, but he says: "You can't lose the nucleus of your club-the best catcher in the league, the two "winningest" pitchers in the league and a good-hitting fielder without feeling it."

Jackie was born August 26, 1939 in Chilliwack and has lived in Yarrow all of his 17 school-filled years. He graduated from Chilliwack Senior High this June on the university program. Not only is he an athlete, but he is also an all-round student. He was fully recommended and this would indicate he had lots of grey matter. He represented one-quarter of the Four Notes quartet at CHS and was vice-president of the male choir as well.

Jack has played quite a bit of basketball. He played for the DHS juniors in grade 10 when they won the Fraser Valley championship and he travelled with the team to UBC where they were beaten out in the B.C. final by Magee High school. He has played house basketball for the past two years with House One. When this boy goes up for a layout, he really lays it up. He gets his size 11 running shoes up about four feet off the floor and this is one of the reasons that he is a star in track and field as well.

In grade 10 he travelled to UBC and placed fourth in the junior high jump with a jump of 5'3". CHS incidentally came home with the valley title that year. Last season he injured his ankle while playing basketball and therefore was inactive in track and field.

This year the jumping Jack came back to win the house senior high jump event at CHS with a jump of 5'3" and went on to UBC and the Fraser Valley meet where he places second with his 5'6" effort.

Jack's 160 pounds of stamina and determination give him the ability to tackle almost any sport he sets his mind to. He enjoys Canadian football and anyone who knows him realizes also that he would have no trouble breaking into a team with some coaching and practice at the game. This sporting interest has developed since the formation of the B.C. Lions in Vancouver, a team which he greatly supports.

Jack has a younger brother Ed, who is only 14, yet every bit as tall as Jack -and there aren't any indications of the "pushing up" process stopping either. Ed is also quite active in sports at Yarrow junior high and has been official scorekeeper with the Sprays ball club ever since their formation.

Two younger sisters, Carolynne and Susan make up the remainder of the Derksen family, who are prominent citizens of Yarrow. Of Jack, his mother jokingly says: "He'll probably stay in school as long as he can, just so he can keep away from work as long as possible. Next year it will be grade 13 and after that UBC.

WANTS TO SKI

Other sports in which our subject has taken an active interest include volleyball and badminton. This well-tanned, easy-going sport is a real outdoorsman. He loves hunting and fishing and also enjoys swimming. "I hope I learn to ski this winter," determined looking Jack says.

He has done some skiing, he relates and on each occasion the trips down the slopes at Mt. Baker proved very interesting. "The average was about two spills each trip down," he grins.

A real Dodger fan, Jake hopes to see the World Series some day. His other dreams for the future include a possible tour of Europe. He has been to Mexico twice. Our star of the week can currently be found either freezing raspberries at Cascade Foods in Yarrow, rodding his Dad's '56 red and white Buick, loafing at second base with the Yarrow Ocean Sprays, or just sleeping. Oh yes ... this athlete also plays chess.




The Chilliwack Progress - May 28, 1958

Brunk Revival Team Arrived Monday

Start Campaign

Brunk Revival Campaign The Brunk Revival team arrived on Monday and will erect their large tent on Thursday and Friday.

In the morning they cleared the customs with four semi-trailer trucks and two house trailers. They arrived on the site later that day. The trucks carrying the tent, lighting and sound equipment, chairs and all necessary facilities for the campaign travelled fourteen days from Virginia to B.C.

Rev. Brunk found the 10-acre site very favourable. During the week approaches were built and after the tent is erected, parking areas will be marked off. Personnel will be in charge every night to direct traffic. Shavings will also be placed inside the tent to act as a floor.

The ground will have all the facilities prescribed by local health authorities. Fire protection is also planned.

Thursday and Friday will be busy days. The huge tent has been stored over winter and has to be unpacked, checked and possible repairs made. Chairs also have to be cleaned. Each of the nine participating churches are sending five men each day to help with the work which will be completed by Saturday night.

Sunday night will be the first meeting and large attendance is anticipated. The tent seats 3,000 persons. The flaps can be raised and more people accommodated outside. Those wishing to attend should travel Trans-Canada highway west for five miles and turn south at the corner of Sumas Prairie and the highway and continue for two miles. Arrows will point the way.

The Chilliwack Progress - June 4, 1958

Rev. Brunk Draws Huge Crowd

Revival Campaign

Brunk Revival Campaign Bring your Bible and a friend and leave your wallet at home" appears to have caught on as Rev. George Brunk, Newport News, Virginia opened his three week revival campaign here Sunday.

Rev. Brunk and his party moved onto their ten acre site near Yarrow last week and on Sunday close to 3,000 persons crowded into his giant tent. Rev. Brunk spoke with confidence as he told the gathering of the thief on the cross. He said that he believed the thief to be the greatest believer in the New Testament and went on to prove same.

The big, good-looking Reverend who has been conducting Evangelistic meetings for the past ten years urged the congregation to read and study the Bible while he conducted his sermon entirely in English.

The success of Rev. Brunk's campaign might in some measure be due to the fact that there are seldom offerings. There was no offering Sunday night. He urges his congregation not to give unless they can do so with confidence and there is absolutely no pressure applied in an attempt to obtain funds from the crowd. There is no intermission for offerings although anyone wishing to donate has the opportunity.

All finances of the campaign are handled by local committee and the total amounts of offerings are made public. In fact, one of the features of the campaign is that there is very little mention of money. The campaign is set up as a non-profit organization and there is no way anyone can profit financially.

Rev. Brunk has five children. The oldest, Gerald is the song director and is expected to join his father within a few days. He is presently writing exams where he is studying in the Eastern Mennonite Church, Virginia.

Rev. Brunk said that he thought the Fraser Valley was one of the most beautiful places he had ever visited and that the spirit here was wonderful. Following his stay here he will move to Abbotsford and then on to Vancouver.

Most of Reverend Brunk's campaigns are conducted in auditoriums from coast to coast. For these campaigns he usually flies his own aircraft. He has a private pilot's license. Flying, he says is his recreation.

Rev. Brunk opens his evening with congregational singing and choral singing. There are a few numbers sung without the aid of any instrument. Then along with special music, the invocation is held followed by a question and answer period. For anyone who wishes to ask questions, there is a question box placed in a convenient location and he will answer them in public. The sermon follows the question period.

For those who want to make a decision for Christ there is a section directly behind the van inside the tent where they may have a certain amount of privacy while others may prefer to go into the prayer room.

There is no public display of healing as Rev. Brunk believes in the supernatural power of God to give physical restoration.

When questioned on what he thought of the large campaign going on in the United States where other Evangelists have been asked to report on the effect of some obscene literature. Rev. Brunk said there was plenty of good literature for Christians to read and that he thought Christians ought to be best informed without reading literature of a poor nature.

Rev. Brunk graduated from William and Mary College in Virginia and took his Theological degree in a Presbyterian Seminary. He later taught in Eastern Mennonite College in Virginia. The local campaign is being jointly sponsored by the nine churches of the Mennonite faith.

Descriptions of similar meetings in Yarrow are found on this website under Yarrow Churches, Mennonite Brethren, Evangelistic Campaigns.

Bender, Harold S. and Sam Steiner. "Brunk Brothers Revival Campaign." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2009. Web. 03 February 2011. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B78720.html.

 

—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday, October 1, 1958     —   —   —

Monday Morning Fire Damages Yarrow IGA

Fire of unknown origin roared through the Yarrow IGA early Monday morning causing considerable damage while firemen from Yarrow and the Municipality fought the stubborn blaze.

The fire was spotted by A. R. Ewert, 995 Central Road, owner of the store shortly after 1:15 a.m. To save time Mr. Ewert ran down to the fire hall where he turned in the alarm.

Within minutes the volunteer fire department was on the scene but found it difficult to cope with the blaze.

The blaze appeared to have broken out in the rear of the store. Mr. Ewert reported checking

the store at 10 p.m. Sunday evening and at the time found everything to be OK.

Jim Brown, Yarrow fire chief, said it was the biggest fire they have had since he came to the department 11 years ago.

Three quarters of an hour after the Yarrow department arrived on the scene they called the municipal fire department who remained on the scene until the blaze had been brought under control.

Mr. Ewert told The Progress Monday morning that the loss was only partially covered by insurance.




—   —   —     Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday, December 31, 1958     —   —   —

COMMUNITY PORTRAIT - JACOB DERKSEN

Jake Derksen
Businessman, Jacob Derksen who has successfully operated a small fruit farm for the past 10 years is well known in Yarrow where he has lived since 1935.

In order for small fruit farming to be profitable, our portrait says it must be carried out on a large scale. The 24 acres of raspberries on the Derksen farm produced 90 tons of berries last season with 100 pickers employed at the season's peak.

"The big factor in production of small fruit farming is labor," says Mr. Derksen. One of the biggest steps taken in recent years to reduce this cost on the Derksen farm has been the introduction of chemicals to control weeds. The Derksen farm was among the first in the area (1953) to experiment with spraying raspberries for weed control.

Mr. Derksen said "A year like 1958 is real hard for a small fruit farmer but he cannot take a year by itself. His operation must always be classified as a long-term business - just like any other business."

When asked what he believes was the major difficulty in the industry today, Mr. Derksen stated that the spread between the price to the producer and the retail price which the consumer pays is too great.

"If this spread was not so big, consumers would buy more and producers' return would be more" he added. Mr. Derksen sees a brighter future for the industry, however. He believes the continuing influx of immigrants to this country will help create a larger domestic market.

This week's portrait is also optimistic about the immediate future. He believes that last season's drought and resultant light production should create a greater demand for berries next season.

Because strawberry harvesting comes somewhat earlier in the season than the raspberry harvest the Derksen farm is putting some of its acreage into strawberries to ease the accommodation of pickers.

The area in which Mr. Derksen has grown raspberries for the past 10 years is well known to him. He came to this valley as a young man in 1930 and "fell in love with it after one good look!"

The Derksens name travelling as their hobby, they have been through most of the US States and Mexico, "but it's still best to get back home."

He admits there is only one place prettier than the Fraser Valley. It's the small secluded Irropoto Valley about 300 miles north west of Mexico City. He does not recall the exact name of the valley but it was here that a group of Mennonites first settled when they came to this country from Russia. His wife, the former Susie Giesbrecht, was among them. According to Mrs. Derksen the group of immigrant families bought a large ranch in the valley and divided it up among them. Recently when the Derksens visited the district they found a well which Mrs. Derksen's family had used they lived in Mexico. The old well sidings were still intact and the well is still being used today. There are no longer any Mennonites living the area.

Mr. Derksen was born in southwest Russia in 1911. He attended public school there and came to this country with his sister and parents.

Mr. Derksen lived in Manitoba with his family on the farm for four years before coming to this province where he met his wife. They were married in 1938.

A truck was one of the assets Mr. Derksen acquired when he moved to Yarrow and in short time he found himself in the lumber business. For twelve years he operated Vedder Lumber Yards in Yarrow. He sold the business in 1948 to Murray Lumber Yards.

Jake Derksen Mr. Derksen has always been an ardent supporter of sports in the community. He sponsored one of the first softball teams ever formed in the community and was the first president of the more recently formed baseball club in Yarrow. The club was known as the Yarrow Tigers at that time. About the softball team, Mr. Derksen recalls "I think it was one of the best teams Yarrow ever had."

Mr. Derksen takes a keen interest in politics. He is a member of the Chilliwack Conservative Association and is one of the few long-time Conservatives in Yarrow.

The week's portrait has also been a member of the Chilliwack Ratepayers Association for the past 10 years.

Of the four children in the family Mr. Derksen says "We are trying to give them the best education possible." Jack, 19 is a second year Arts student at the University of British Columbia. He is a graduate of CHS. Ed, 17 is in the eleventh grade at Chilliwack Senior High.

The two girls, Caroline, who is 14 and Susan who is eight, both attend Yarrow Elementary Junior High. They are in grades nine and three respectively.

Mr. Derksen believes strongly in Canadianism, "We are certainly happy to be able to call this Canada, this Fraser Valley our home" he concludes.




Yarrow's Famous Baseball Team
Yarrow Ocean Sprays

The ball diamond at the back of the Yarrow Elementary and Junior High School provided a convenient home field for Yarrow's Ocean Spray baseball club. Centrally located in Northeast Yarrow, the school grounds provided parking on the school's driveway for spectators. Game time would find the area around the school filed with cars and trucks. The field was maintained in first-class condition by the Froese family, Eddy, Mary, and Harold. At this time, the Chilliwack School Board allowed such multipurpose use of its facilities. The Junior High School's softball teams also made use of this diamond during games with other schools.

Yarrow School Baseball Diamond
Batting Practice before the Game
Photograph Courtesy of Mary Froese

Starting as a Junior baseball team in the early 1950's, Yarrow's Ocean Spray baseball club team rose through the ranks to play in the Senior Baseball League by 1959 against such teams as the Chilliwack Monarchs, and teams from around the Fraser Valley. The sponsorship of Ocean Spray (Cascade Foods Ltd.), particularly the support of its owner Marcus L. Urann, an American lawyer and entrepreneur from Boston, Massachusetts, and the dedication of coach Len Froese and manager/coach Eddy Froese facilitated the success of the club.

Ocean Spray Team, 1955 - At the Ocean Spray Plant, Eckert Road
Yarrow Ocean Sprays
Jack Derksen, Bob Epp, Ed Barkowski, Barney Thiessen, Dave Giesbrecht, Henry "Tiny" Harder, Vic Kornelson, Elmer Klassen, Jake Wiebe
Ernie Harder, Waldo Neufeld, Ernie Ratzlaff, Len Froese, Ed Froese, Art Funk, Rudy Riemer
Ed Derksen, Harold "Cactus" Froese
Photograph Courtesy of Mary Froese

Yarrow Ocean Spray Club Crest
Crest Courtesy of Mary Froese

On his annual visit to the Yarrow processing plant in July, 1956, Mr. Urann hosted the league-leading Junior Ocean Sprays baseball team to a banquet in Chilliwack's Hotel Empress. In his notes of November 16, 2005, Eddy Froese recalls Marcus Urann's visit to their house on Wilson Road in 1956. Marcus was so impressed by his team's performance, he asked Mary Froese to call his friend Casey Stengel of the New York Yankees to ask Casey to attend the banquet and speak to the team members. Stengel said he was sorry he couldn't make it, but he would call Cedric Tallis, General Manger of the Vancouver Mounties baseball team, and ask him to speak in his place.

Consequently on Sunday July 15, 1956, Marcus Urann, a former captain of the University of Harvard football team, and Vancouver Mounties General Manager Cederic Tallis, a former professional baseball player, met at the banquet and gave inspirational speeches to the 15 juniors of the Yarrow baseball team.

The Empress Hotel event was reported by Gary Zivot of The Chilliwack Progress in his "The Knothole" column of Wednesday July 18, 1956.

"Never Win Dishonorably"

The determination to live up to the best of oneself ... morally ... is one of the main teachings of baseball and any other worthwhile sport," said Mr. Urann.

"It isn't a matter of just winning and losing—it's better to lose honorably than it is to win dishonorably, because the way you play ball may affect you in years to come."

Yarrow Ocean Sprays are one group of boys who at all times are conscious of the very things Mr. Urann said. They're a bunch who—thanks to co-coaches Ed and Len Froese—have learned to play ball for the sake of playing.

Ced Tallis' pointers were more in the line of pro ball than anything else—but the boys knew what is good for the pros is good for them, and they absorbed every word.

After ability to play the game, the first quality a club looks for in a professional player is good personal habits. He must dress cleanly and always set an example—both on and off the field.

"Don't Ever Look 'Bush'"

"What would it look like," he said, "if our boys went around in sloppy old T-shirts and a pair of jeans? People would say that those Vancouver Mounties are sure a bunch of bushers—and that's the type of publicity no club can afford ... whether it's pro or amateur."

"If you look like a ball player, you'll probably feel like one and may even be one."

In his lifetime, Tallis has never seen an area take so quickly to ball as B.C. did, and in his opinion, the final answer for the Vancouver Mounties is to have the franchise locally owned.

"The one thing that we are disappointed in," he said, "is that no Canadians have been able to make the team. But that day is coming when there will be Canadians on the Mounties roster."

Evidently these inspirational speeches took their intended effect, as the Yarrow Ocean Sprays were the Chilliwack District Champions in 1956.

Yarrow Ocean Spray Club Crest
Crest Courtesy of Mary Froese

The members of the extended family of Henry and Katharina Ratzlaff were active participants in both the Ocean Sprays baseball club and the Ocean Spray (Cascade Foods Ltd.) processing plant. The following family portrait was taken at the Empress Hotel banquet with Mr. Marcus Urann.

Extended family of Henry and Katharina Ratzlaff
Portrait Courtesy of Mary Froese

The Ocean Spray baseball club was able to retain its players over the years as the team members grew older because a number of them secured work at the Ocean Spray processing plant. The plant diversified from its summer berry processing. Yarrow residents were employed during the winter to package berries and vegetables frozen in bulk during the summer, and to can a variety of Hi-C fruit drinks.

Ocean Spray Team, 1957
Yarrow Ocean Sprays
Photograph Courtesy of Mary Froese

Yarrow Ocean Sprays
Newspaper Clipping Courtesy of Mary Froese

—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress, Wed., July 15, 1959     —   —   —

Yarrow Ocean Sprays Eddy Froese
Bill Gilchrist, Ernie Ratzlaff, Don Smith, Barney Thiessen
Ci Coleman, Pete Ratzlaff
Coach Eddy Froese
Yarrow Ocean Sprays

Thrilling Game — Sprays Down Monarchs Again

It was proably the best baseball game at the park this season — but it didn't do the Chilliwack Monarchs any good. They were edged 10-9 by Yarrow Ocean Sprays.

The loss was Monarch's second in three days to the Sprays.

The Chilliwack club fought back froma 7-0 deficit to push the game into a ninth inning thriller.

Barney Thiessen finally broke the tie in the bottom of the ninth when he laced a two-out single down the left field line, scoring the winning run from third.

A pair of fourbaggers were blasted out of the park, in Thursday's hit and run baseball action.

Sprays' Don Smith smashed one about 300 feet over the left field wall in the second with Phil Ratzlaff aboard.

Wayne Matheson hoisted one over the right field wall in the sixth scoring Bud Goodey ahead of him.

It appeared the Yarrow club would run away with the match after Ernie Ratzlaff's triple sparked them to four runs in the first inning,

and Smith's homer made it six by the end of the second.

Sprays added the seventh run in the third when Ernie Harder scored following a single and two fielders' choice plays.

Herman Britz' Monarchs came to life in the seventh with three runs; then added three in each of the following two innings to tie it up at 9 - 9.

Norm Fatterly, who went the distance on the hill for the losers, made a fine showing at the plate where he went four for five. Fetterly lead off the seventh with a single, Ron Columbus was safe on a fielders' choice and Neil "Pop" Price crossed up the shallow outfield with a triple to deep rightcenter.

Fetterly also figured in Monarchs three eight inning runs, driving in one and later scoring.

Line Score
Monarchs ... 000 003 330    9  11 8
Yarrow   .....  421 000 201   10  8 8

Monarchs — Norm Fetterly and Wayne Metheson.
Yarrow — Pete Ratzlaff, Ernie Ratzlaff (7), Ci Coleman (8), and Bill Gilchrist.



Ci Coleman and Bill Gilchrist Pete 'Six' Ratzlaff
Ci Coleman and Bill Gilchrist Pete "Six" Ratzlaff


—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday, August 10, 1959     —   —   —

Smith's One-Hitters Sparks Spray Win

Monarchs Lose 4-1
Don Smith pitched a one-hitter for Yarrow Ocean Sprays as the Froese-coached crew rambled to a 4-1 triumph over the Monarchs.

One hit off Smith was a single by Bugs Usher in the first—the inning Monarchs picked up their sole run. Dave Britz scored after a walk, a single and an infield error.

Jack East pitched his first game of the season for the Monarchs and it appeared the righthander had at least a tie ballgame—until the final frame.

Tied 1 - 1
Sprays tied it up in the fourth at 1-1 when Smith walked, Gilchrist's hit advanced him to second and the Yarrow pitcher came home on Ernie Harder's single to left-center.

A single by Barney Thiessen Sprays' big centerfielder, brought home the winning and insurance markers for Yarrow in the top of the sixth. Thiessen laced a single to center, scoring Harder and Wiebe.

After Thiessen had moved to second on the

outfielder's error in fielding the ball, Denny Richardson brought Yarrow's total to four by chasing Thiessen home on a lined single.

Smith's First
The victory for Smith was his first of the season. The versatile righthander has caught, played infield and outfield for Yarrow. Last night was his first starting assignment on the mound.

Smith struck out eight Monarchs with his fastball. He has worked in relief on other occasions this season.

Tuesday night's senior baseball action will see Monarchs hosting Agassiz at the park. Sunday afternoon League leading Mission and runner-up Agassiz will clash at Agassiz.

Line Score:
Yarrow   .....  000 103   4-7-3
Monarchs ... 100 009   1-1-4

Yarrow — Don Smith and Bill Gilchrist.
Monarchs — Jack East and Bugs Usher, Joe Drdul (5).



Ocean Spray Team, 1959 Coached by Ed Froese.
Yarrow Ocean Sprays
Back Row left to right: Bill Gilchrist, Jake Wiebe, Don Smith, Dennis Klaassen, Barney Thiessen, Jack Derksen, Dennis Richardson
Front Row: Ed Froese, Wayne Wilkie, Ci Coleman, Pete Ratzlaff, Ernie Harder, Ernie Ratzlaff, Harold Froese
Photograph Courtesy of Ernie Harder



—   —   —     Chilliwack Progress, June 30 1961 - edited     —   —   —

Idaho Crash Kills Three Yarrow Men

The entire Yarrow community was stunned June 29, 1961 by the death of three well-known men from that area.

Dead are Rev. Peter P. Neufeld, 49; Herbert Peter Martens, 47; and Walter Sawatsky who is believed to be in his late 20’s. All were members of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Yarrow.

They died following a two-vehicle collision six miles north of Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, USA. They were on their way to a four-day church conference in Coaldale, Alberta.

Both Mr. Neufeldt and Mr. Martens were killed instantly when their car skidded on wet pavement. The car ripped out a group of mail boxes along the side of the road and then smashed head-on into an on-coming bus. Several hours after the accident, Mr. Sawatsky died in hospital after doctors fought to save his life.

Mr. Neufeldt was pastor of the MB Church in Yarrow. Mr. Sawatsky, a missionary, returned from work in the Congo in the summer of 1960. Mr. Martens is an owner of Martens’ Motors on Yarrow Central road.

The car in which the men were travelling was reported to be totally demolished. Damage to the bus involved in the accident is estimated to be $10,000. It was believed that several persons on the bus were also injured.

4,000 Attend Yarrow Funeral as the Area Mourns Triple Fatality – July 4, 1961 – The Progress edited

Close to 4000 people attended the massed funeral service on Sunday July 2, 1961 for Rev. Peter P. Neufeldt, Rev. Walter P. Sawatsky and Herbert Peter Martens who died as the result of a car accident at Bonner’s Ferry Idaho. In lieu of flowers, donations were made for more than 140 Gideon Memorial Bibles. These will be placed by the society in memory of the three well well-know and long-time residents of Yarrow. Only close relatives followed the funeral cortege to the Yarrow cemetery where the interment took place.

Officiating ministers at the combined service in the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church were: Rev. Aron Rempel, Yarrow; Rev. A.H. Wheeler, Abbotsford; Rev. J.T. McNair, Chilliwack; Rev. P.R. Toews, Vancouver; Rev. D. Neuman and missionary H. Brooks who served with Mr. Sawatsky in the Congo. Mr. Sawatsky was ordained as a minister a week prior to his death.

Mr. Peter P. Neufeldt (GAMEO Biogrpahy )was born August 1, 1911 at Rosenwald, Barnaul, Asiatic Russia to Peter Jacob & Sarah (Wedel) Neufeldt. He immigrated to Canada in 1926 and came to Yarrow with his parents in 1929. He was married to Helena Enns on October 16, 1932 in Yarrow B.C. He was ordained to the ministry in June 1953 at the Yarrow MB Church and has been the lead pastor of the MB Church for a year and one-half. He passed away June 29, 1961. He is survived by, his wife Helen, Central Road, Yarrow; and four children: Irma Sawatsky, Elfrieda (Abe) Konrad, Harvey in Ontario; and Jerry at home; four grandchildren; two brothers: Jacob and Henry Neufeldt and his father Peter Neufeldt.

Pallbearers were Nick Boschman, J.A. Martens, Aron Martens, J. Reimer, Peter Neufeldt and Rudy Boschman.

Herbert Peter Martens (GAMEO Biography born December 11, 1913 in Ufa Colony, Russia to Petrus & Aanetha (Dyck) Martens. The Martens family immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec on A ugust 8, 1926. The Martens family came to Yarrow about the same time as the Neufeldt family in 1929. He married Frieda Martens on October 12, 1929 in Yarrow. He had lived in Yarrow for 32 years. He was the proprietor of Martens Motors, Yarrow. He passed away June 29, 1961. He is survived by his wife Frieda, 1013 Eckert Road, Yarrow; and two children Peggy and Allen; his father Petrus Martens, Yarrow; A brother Jacob Martens, Yarrow; sister: Mrs. Corny Langeman, Vancouver; three half-sisters: Mrs. Ernie Neuman, Mrs. Art Bourne; Mrs. Bill Cornies; two half-brothers: Walter and John Martens, Vancouver.

Pallbearers were Walter Martens, John Martens, Ernie Neuman, Corny Langeman, David Martens and William Martens.

Yarrow MB Church members stated that Mr. Martens was a very hard worker in the Church and that he spent a lot of time with the West Coast Children’s Missions.

Walter Sawatsky (GAMEO Biography) born December 26, 1930 in Mullingar, Saskatchewan to Peter J. & Maria (Harder) Sawatsky. He came to Yarrow at an early age and had lived here for most of his life. He attended Yarrow Elementary School and Chilliwack High School. He married Irma Neufeldt on August 22, 1948 at the Yarrow MB Church. In addition to the education he received in the Chilliwack district, he attended Prairie Bible Institute in Saskatchewan; teacher’s training at UBC; Tabor College in Hillsborough, Kansas and the MB Seminary in Fresno, California in 1959-60.

Walter & Irma and their children were just back from the Belgian Congo, where they spent the last three years as instructors in missionary schools. He was only ordained in the Yarrow MB Church a week before his death. He was to leave in the next week for Brazil to work in the Mission Field there. Walter Sawatsky passed away June 29, 1961 and is survived by his wife Irma and two sons: Terrance and Edwin at home; his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Sawatsky,: two brothers: Roland and Victor; four sisters: Leona (Ervin) Janzen; Agnes (Dave) Loewen; Elsie (Bert) Krause; and Rita Sawatsky.

Pallbearers were Ervin Janzen, Bert Krause, Dave Loewen, Roland Sawatsky, Vic Neufeldt and Jake Enns.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

A funeral for all three men was held July 2, 1961 in the Mennonite Brethren church in Yarrow, BC. Five ministers assisted in the service. Aron Rempel delivered the message in German and Henry Brucks, a missionary from the Congo delivered the message in English. Pastor W.T. McNair of the Alliance Tabernacle in Chilliwack, Rev. Abe Wieler of the West Coast Children’s Mission and Dave Neumann also assisted in the service.

Garden Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Burial followed in the Yarrow cemetery.



—   —   —     Chilliwack Progress, January 3, 1962     —   —   —

Community Portrait - Reverend Henry Brucks

Rev Henry Brucks
After spending about ten years as a missionary in the steaming heat of the Congo, Rev. Henry Brucks made one main intention when he returned to Yarrow in November, 1960. That purpose was to further his religious studies.

But within a few short months, his destiny took a totally unexpected turn.

A tragic highway acciden in Idaho claimed the lives of three of Yarrow's most widely respected citizens. Among them was the minister of Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church, Rev. Peter P. Neufeldt.

Bereft of their pastor, the congregation approached Rev. Mr. Brucks to take his place.

Mr. Brucks accepted - and this accomplished the far-reaching charge of leading the largest Mennonite Brethren congregation in British Columbia. Instead of teaching simple Gospel truths to natives in Africa. "I don't know whether it was harder on me at first, or the congregation," he smiled.

Like many Mennonites, Mr. Brucks was born in Russia, though in the northern part of the country rather than the community in the Ukraine which the Mennonites had established in the Tsarist day.

His birthday was in 1918, the crucial year in the world's history when the Bolshevik revolution took place in Russia. Mr. Brucks was one of a family of 9 children. His father was a teacher. As the years progressed, religious persecution became more intense until, when Mr. Brucks was seven, the whole family emigrated to Southern Alberta.

That step meant freedom, but also the end of his father's career as a teacher. Confronted with language problems, he took up agriculture.

Mr. Bruck's father died in 1953, but his mother Aganetha is still living and resides in Clearbrook Although Mr. Brucks spent several years working in Yarrow as a laborer, most of his education was obtained in other provinces. He atttended public school in Alberta, high school in Manitoba, Bible school in Alberta and finally, his college training in the Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Arnauld, Manitoba.

He met his wife, Elsie at Bible college - she was a nurse and they were married in 1948, shortly after he graduated and was ordained. Both of them had decided on missionary work, and they spent slightly more than half a year in preparatory training at Tabor College, Kansas. In 1949 they left for Africa but the had further training to undergo before finally arriving there.

It was a requirement of the Belgium government that missionaries should take a course in Belgium before travelling to the Congo. Mr. Brucks consequently, took the course, which included study of the French language. It was in 1950 that the couple left for the Congo ... only now there were three of them - their first child, Florence was born in Brussels that year. All their other children, Naomi, Paul and Joanne, were born in the Congo.

The Bruck's station was at Kikwit, about 450 air miles south of Leopoldville. Mr. Brucks was on the administrative staff of the Mennonite Brethren Mission. Their territory - 350 miles long and 150 miles wide - was served by 60 missionaries, some of whom lived in outlying stations. The mission included two hospitals and schools for some 5000 children.

Mr. Brucks said that Africa was "tremendously receptive" to the Gospel message ... even though the adoption of Christianity meant a transformation in his life far greater than in the western world. The native who became a Christian, he pointed out, was cut off from the rest of his tribe, on whom he depended for every necessity of life. His only alternative was to move away and live near the mission.

Mr. Brucks countered the view that the Congo's troubles stemmed from the fact that the Belgian government had not sufficiently prepared the native people for independence.

"I have been in French Equatorial Africa, Angola, British territories - countries where white people have been much longer. Belgium has certainly accomplished more than these other colonial powers." He said. Mr. Brucks felt that the Congo's troubles arose because there was a very strong communistic influence and the natives had been incited.

"Had the Congolese had an opportunity to vote in a secret way, I feel they would have voted Belgium back in," he declared. "Unfortunately, there was no such thing as a secret vote."

In the volence and unrest which accompanied independence, Mr. Brucks felt obliged to move his wife and family away. As they were leaving, they were ordered out of their vehicle by Congolese soldiers. The car was examined thoroughly and Mr. Brucks was searched at bayonet point. They were allowed to proceed.

The mode of the Africans had undergone a frightening change.

"People who had once been decent to us, threw sticks and stones and shot at us," said Mr. Brucks.

Along with other refugeess, the Brucks made their way to Loanda in Angola, where overcrowded reception centers had been set up. His family was flown home, but for a while Mr. Brucks stayed on. He later returned to Leopoldvilled and was asked by the Mission board to see if he could make contact with the mission field.

He and another man flew back to Kikwit, but it was a vastly changed community. U.N. soldiers were in occupation. The people were confused - confused because although they had won their independence,the were not living in the lap of luxury, as they had supposed.

"The African had claimed everything," said Mr. Brucks. "The African slept in the white man's bed, ate his food, drove his car. But they hadn't realized that the end would come to this. new-found luxury. Now the majority of the stores were completely empty and shut down. The country was on the verge of bankruptcy. Missionaries are still in the Congo ... vastly fewer than before, but they are there."

"And perhaps all this has helped," said Mr. Brucks. "Certainly they are now willing to receive missionaries back."

He predicted that the missionary work would now develop on a new line - secular work of civilization, such as schools and hospitals, would be the responsibility of the Congolese government. The missions would carry on the work they were set up to do - preach the Gospel.

Despite all the adversities which he and his family have suffered, Mr. Brucks retains a warm spot in his heart for Africa.

At the moment, the education and upbringing of his children are his foremost concern. "But," he declared, "if the door opens up again, I would like to go back ..." --J.G.D.




—   —   —     Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday January 23, 1963     —   —   —

Community Portrait - Mrs. J.G. Derksen

The Pioneer Days ... 35 Years Ago

When most district residents think of pioneer days, they think of days before the turn of the century. But to the residents of Yarrow, 10 miles or so from the city, their pioneer days began just 35 years ago in 1928.

Mrs. Jacob Derksen, an ardent Red Cross and church worker and a pioneer of Yarrow, recalled the difficulties her father, Peter Giesbrecht, faced when he helped build the first three houses there.

Jim Wilson, former lumber man in Chilliwack, travelled to help the new Mennonites with their problems. He gave them credit, advised her father on the design of his home and the lumber etc. was sent out by the old BCE Railway and picked up by horse and cart.

There were no schools. In time they did have classes to grade 8. Without school bus transportation to city schools and the parents "not school minded", the students stopped then to go to work... all except Susie Giesbrecht Derksen and her friends Elvira Klassen and Sarah Martens.

"We wanted some more education," said Mrs. Derksen, "so we moved to Chilliwack to work and attend senior high school. We graduated but it was really heartbreaking. We were teased about our long hair and our clothes but we were very poor when we arrived in Canada."

The Mennonites had been driven out of Russia as a result of the Bolshevik revolution. Mr. & Mrs. Giesbrecht took their 10 children to Mexico in 1924 and to California in 1926. After a year in Nelson, B.C., they moved in 1928 to the newly subdivided district at Yarrow.

Mrs. Derksen's desire for further education was given an extra push when in late 1931 the late Mrs. C.A. Barber presented her with a history of Canada on behalf of Piper Richardson VC Chapter, IODE. Mrs. Derksen won the award for a story on our flag.

Because their own church was being demolished to make way for a new edifice, Susie Giesbrecht and Jacob G. Derksen were married in Carman United Church, Sardis by Rev. Abram Nachtigal. On June 19 they will celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

They now have four children. Jack is now married to Jenny Froese and teaches senior high school in Prince George.

Ed is a third year business administration student at University of Oregon and Caroline is attending a college in Fresno, California. Susan is a student at Yarrow Elementary Junior High.

They have acquired another member of the family in Laszlo Kocsis, a well-known local soccer player. He fled Hungary during the revolution and now lives with the Derksens on their well-kept berry farm. He wants to attend vocational school in Vancouver to learn to be an auto mechanic. Promised enrolment in September and then January, he is hoping to have his application accepted soon.


Mrs. Derksen will never forget her own feelings of being "different from everyone else" when she was an immigrant to a new country. She feels that if a helping hand is extended more readily we will have a happy new citizen. Over the years Mr. & Mrs. Derksen have sponsored four families who wanted to come to live in Canada.

The Derksens are members of Mennonite Brethren Church. Mrs. Derksen is a member of one of the 13 sewing groups who sew for the Mennonite Relief and Immigration Committee. The Western Canada headquarters are located on Eckert Road, Yarrow.

These women also provide entertainment for residents in a home for the mentally ill. The home was a former old people's home in their district and was taken over by the government as a branch of Essondale.

Mrs. Derksen and the sewing groups work for the Sunshine Drive School for retarded children and assist with cutting material at the Red Cross work rooms in Chilliwack. Although the women spend just one day a month in the workrooms, they spend many hours in their homes completing articles, sewn and knitted for the Red Cross.

Mrs. Derksen has been the Red Cross representative to Yarrow and campaign manager for six years. She is still a member of Yarrow PTA but has had to drop her work with Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary for her Red Cross endeavours.

Busy as Mrs. Susie Derksen is, she keeps immaculate her lovely new split-level home at 4328 South Wilson Road. She had fears for her safety in November when a little hop-skip-and-jump-stream bordering their property overflowed its banks to form a river more than 250 feet wide.

She was relieved to see the water receded before she left with her husband and Susan for one of their many trips to California. The Derksens entered the small fruit growing business as a hobby. This has grown to such proportions they now have two large farms, one for the raspberries, one for the strawberries. Mr. Derksen combines the berry business with becoming district manager for the Community Unit Fund.

From an immigrant to a prosperous member of the district in just 35 years, Mrs. Jacob G. Derksen will never forget those bewildering early days. And in remembering, she will continue to work for the welfare of the newcomer and be a gracious hostess to anyone who enters her home. F.P.

Susie with visiting children 2002 Susie at home in 2007


—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress March 27, 1963     —   —   —

Early Yarrow Pioneer Struck By Car, Dies

PETER P. GIESBRECHT

A pioneer of the Yarrow district, Peter P. Giesbrecht died Sunday as the result of an accident.

Six grandsons will be pallbearers Saturday at 2 p.m., when Rev. Henry Brucks will conduct the service in Mennonite Brethren Church, Yarrow. Interment will be in Yarrow cemetery.

Mr. Giesbrecht was born in the Ukraine on July 22, 1883.

He came to B.C. 36 years ago and retired from farming in 1953. He lived at 42012 Central Road, Yarrow.

He was predeceased by his wife. He is survived by four sons, Peter, David, Cornelius' and John, all of Yarrow; six daughters: Mrs. Henry (Margaret) Derksen and Mrs. Jacob G. (Susie) Derksen, Yarrow; Mrs. Jake Dahl, Arnold, B.C.; Mrs. Abe Friesen, Aldergrove, B.C.; Mrs. John (Gertrude) Abrahams, Prince George, and Mrs. Peter Isaak, Oliver; 49 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Garden Chapel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements

A Remembrance of Peter P. Giesbrecht
by Edwin Lenzmann

I remember Mr. Giesbrecht as a friendly senior with a zest for life. When it came to the language transition in Yarrow, he was ahead of his time. I remember how he sat in Valley Meat Market, daily it appeared, reading the Vancouver Sun. On one occasion he told my dad that he was trying to learn, and use in conversation a new English word every day. Abe Neufeld (one of the Bible School teachers in the early '50's) told me a few years ago that at one annual meeting, when he was in charge of the Yarrow youth work, he was asked whether the work was being done in the German language. Being put on the spot, he believes that God gave him this quick reply: "Im Prinzip sind wir Deutsch, aber in der Praxis macht es sich nicht immer so aus." [In principle we operate in German, but in practice it doesn't always work out that way. ] — a subtle way of saying 'no'. Later Mr. Giesbrecht commended him for conducting the youth work in English.




The Chilliwack Progress - July 8, 1964

Two Brigades Battle Flames At Feed Mill

Funks Feed Mill Fire

In a fierce blaze which cast a glow into the night sky and could be seen as far away as Abbotsford, the 20-year-old Funks Ltd. Feed mill at Yarrow burned to the ground Saturday.

Four fire trucks and some 35 men from Yarrow and Chilliwack No. 1 Fire Halls were called to fight the towering flames. For a considerable time they had to work almost directly beneath two sets of live 60,000 volt B.C. Hydro power lines.

Municipal fire chief Bob Butchart said he was worried for the safety of his men. There was a danger the lines would crack with the intense heat or that the slowly burning poles might topple. "Our men's lives were in danger," he told a reporter.

Shortly before the arrival of a B.C. Hydro crew, a wooden crossbar supporting the top insulator did, in fact, tilt over so that the topmost wire shorted against a lower one. There was a vivid blue flash and a gasp of concern from the throngs of spectators.

The Funk Feed Mill is a alongside the B.C. Electric tracks near the foot of Majuba Hill. The Hydro crew cut off electricity on another line running to the back of the building.

Later, power supply was switched off for a short time in Vancouver so that the hot smoldering power poles could be hosed down in safety.

A minor casualty in the fire-fighting efforts was Chief Butchart himself. With his arms fully loaded, he fell over a hose line. He landed on his face, lacerating his forehead. Later he obtained treatment at Chilliwack General Hospital after which he was released.

Mr. Butchart estimated the siren sounded in Yarrow around 11:30 pm. The brigade there called for added help and the Chilliwack municipal siren sounded approximately 11:45 pm. The crew from Chilliwack stayed at the scene until around 3 a.m. but had not finished at the hall with hoses and equipment until 4 a.m. Yarrow firemen were at the blaze until later than 6 a.m.

Yesterday the rubble was still smoldering.

Cause of the fire is not yet known. It is reported to have started in a two storey building next to the feed mill owned by a Yarrow fuel firm. By permission, this building was being used by Funk's to store between two and three tons of dry hay. The flames leapt the eight foot gap between this building and the feed mill.

Destroyed in the mill fire were bulk grains, including barley, wheat and corn, feed concentrates, flour and such equipment as grinders and mixers.

A spokesman for the firm told The Progress that plans for rebuilding has not been made yet. No financial estimate has so far been assessed "but it runs into tens of thousands of dollars." The fire resulted in temporary layoff of three employees.




—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress August 18, 1965     —   —   —

'Quit Township' Call at Yarrow

The board of Yarrow Waterworks District, unofficial "council" of the area, is spearheading a move to have Yarrow quit Chilliwhack municipality and set up as a village.

In a resolution unanimously passed by the board Monday night, township council was severely criticized for its "lack of service" to the Yarrow area. The board plans to take immediate action to see what can be done about incorporation as a village. Board chairman John Martens told The Progress that the next step will probably be to call a public meeting of Yarrow residents.

"We don't expect any difficulty in getting their wholehearted support," he said.

The Yarrow resolution reads as follows: "We go on record in showing our great disappointment in the neglect shown by the municipal council in our problems such as ditches, streets, sidewalks, curbing, gutters, white lines, policing, etc., and that we take immediate steps to study incorporation as a village municipality."

Martens, a one-time member of municipal council, said that for years Yarrow Waterworks District have discussed programs with the council, listing needed improvements.

"We have received some support," he declared, "but lately things have been going from bad to worse."

He criticized the absence of sidewalk maintenance, and said that weeds were growing unchecked.

Mr. Martens said he did not wish to compare Yarrow's plight with other parts of the area. But, he insisted, "we are neglected as a community". Could Yarrow be induced to change its mind about incorporating as a village?

Municipal council, he indicated, would have to show it meant business by actions and not by words.

The Yarrow Waterworks board consists of Mr. Martens (chairman), William Schellenberg, C. H. Penner, Abram Unrau, Henry Ratzlaff and J. J. Wittenberg as secretary.

 

—   —   —     The Chilliwack Progress August 25, 1965     —   —   —

Township 'Should Help' Yarrow Break Away

If the Yarrow Water Board wants to break away from the township and set up a village, township council should "offer them every assistance," Councillor Harold Clarke declared in a pull-no-punches statement Monday night.

"We would be well rid of them," he added.

Councillor Clarke was commenting on the water board's unanimous decision, reported in last week's Progress, to take immediate steps to investigate prospects of village status. Dissatisfaction of the township's services to Yarrow was cited as the reason for the proposed break-away.

Councillor Clarke argued that the township has done a considerable amount of work for Yarrow.

"I can't understand what they are complaining about," he said. "In the last three or four years, we have worked on every ditch down there. We have renewed a bridge or two, and we have made permanent jobs of them. We have tiled a large part of their ditches. I think every last road there is paved."

"True, their sidewalk is no great shakes, but they are the ones that built it and paid for it."

Councillor John Spencer said that every member of council tries to look after, Yarrow, since the area does not have its own representative on council.

Councillor John Kirkness suggested that the Yarrow water board, in its criticisms of township services, was acting in the hope that a "squeaky wheel gets the most grease."

   

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