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is a tribute my mentor friend and brother in Christ, of whom I still have fond
memories. We went through the hard years togather here in Belize . I will write
down the memories the way I told them at the C.K. Friesen family gathering at
Whitemouth Manitoba Canada many years ago. Only Ben Jr. and his wife were there
from the B.L.Friesen family. As a friend and relative of
the family who also are more then relatives but personal friends. In
appreciation. I am passing this on to your children and grand children.
relationship with uncle Ben was very unusual. At one time he was going to be my
father in-law as I was dating his daughter Margret with the intention of
marrying her. But then she drowned in the river four days after the arrival of
the first Mennonites in Belize. I arrived the next day, so I shared the grief
with them. We became very close many are the talks I have had with him and aunt
day maybe a month after the accident aunt Helen handed me a letter they had
received from their niece and sister in-law Mary Reimer the widowed wife of her
brother Aron who had died of a lightning bolt in Mexico in 1955, I was very
touched by Mary’s sympathy and understanding for the grieving family, this
letter helped me make a big decision to write and propose to Mary. Through
special circumstances I was led by the lord that she was now to be my future
wife. Later I remembered the look on who was now to become my aunt and sister
in-law because Mary’s mother and Bernhard had the same mother. I asked aunt Helen
did you think of what you were doing when you gave me that letter to read? She
gave one of her special impish smiles and said yes. This gave me great
encouragement to have them think me worthy to take such a wonderful person as
Mary as my wife and be the father to her 4 children.
is how Uncle became my father, uncle, brother in-law, neighbor and mentor and
close friend. Bernhard was men in a hurry, as long as I know him he was always
the first to do something.
they moved to Mexico in 1948 they were the first arrive with John R Friesens
together at the hacienda of Cartuchera on the newly bought land of Los Jaguayes.
I asked uncle John, who was leading who arrived first? He said Ben of course! he
was always first. They were the first to build a house on their own land and
move into it, even B.B.Duecks who were also in a hurry were not ahead of them.
He was the first start a store so people had a place where to buy the
necessities of life, I believe he also had share in the first fuel business with
J.R.Friesens together. People deposited money in the store as advance payment
for goods. This was used as operating mony for the store, Uncle Ben told me the
reason they survived was their policy always to pay these depositors on demand.
The clerks in the store had orders to pay up even if that meant there wold be no
money to buy supplies the next week. He stressed how important it was to
maintain a good line of credit and never break faith.
they were the first to arrive the first to build a house the first to have a
shop. The first to buy a small dual wheel truck the first to buy a diesel farm
tractor a WD30 International or McCormick. Sad to say also the first to lose a
brother in-law from a lightning bolt in the field operating a tractor in 1951
and than another brother in-law in 1955.
Written by Menno Loewen