Henry Endler, 97, of Shelby, Mont., passed away on May 12, 2021, after a sudden illness, with his family by his side. A viewing will be held Wednesday, May 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Asper Funeral Home in Shelby. Services will be held on Thursday, May 27 at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Shelby, 751 Marias Ave., a reception will follow the service.
Funeral services will be Thursday, May 27, at 10am at First Baptist Church in Shelby.
Henry was born on Sept. 25, 1923, in the Village of Rudni-Fasowsky, Russia, to William and Alvina (Klaprat) Endler. In 1927, Henry, his younger brother Julius, and his parents immigrated to Canada. His mother’s brother Julius Klaprat sponsored them into the Whitemouth, Manitoba area to become farmers. It was during the move from Russia, Henry got his second birthday. To save money and avoid getting a separate visa for Henry, his parents pushed his birthday back to Nov. 21, thus making the legal birthday he had for the rest of his life. He loved telling people about his two birthdays and would always joke with them if you missed my first birthday, you can get my second.
Henry worked with his father and other family members in the bush, cutting trees down for lumber to sell. Many stories were told about the bush, how the team of horses were used to bring in supplies, and, about the bog. The bog was bottomless muck that had to be frozen so the team of horses pulling the wood sleigh carrying supplies along with the tractor to run the sawmill could get across to camp.
In his younger years, Henry was an avid squirrel hunter using a rifle with .22 short ammunition. He would grin as he told the story of the time he surprised a young buck, took a shot with a .22 short that met its mark. The shot knocked the young buck out, allowing Henry time to get to the deer before it attempted to get back up. The fight in the stunned deer versus one determined hunter created a battle. The conclusion of the story, yes, the deer was finally harvested and food was brought home to feed the family.
He also used to tell of the times he would play “cat and mouse” with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Henry managed to best the police . . . always managing to get away and never got caught. The police would often catch up with him later though and discuss what engine was under the hood of his car. Henry lived his entire life never receiving a speeding ticket, he was a very responsible driver, and still had a current and valid driver’s license.
Attending the country school in the Whitemouth area, Dad told the story about the teacher putting him in the corner one day for something he had done wrong, and when she turned around to go sit at her desk, he figured he could go back to his desk. Dad sat in the corner several times that day. Henry completed the fourth grade then stayed home to work the farm with his family.
Henry proudly served in the Canadian Army joining on Feb. 15, 1943 and received an Honorable Discharge on June 8, 1946. It was during that time he started smoking cigarettes. His reason for starting? If you smoked you got a break which kept you off kitchen duty, dishes and peeling potatoes.
Henry met Evelyn Friesen and fell in love. Several times he asked Evelyn to marry him, she always said no because he smoked. Determined to not lose the woman he fell in love with, Henry quit smoking, she then said yes, and they were married Oct. 19, 1952. A marriage built on the foundation of God, it never failed and stood strong throughout their 68 years together.
Henry and Evelyn lived in Whitemouth for a while after they got married, then moved to Winnipeg. Henry worked with neon lighting at an electrical company, while Evelyn started her career in the sewing factory. In 1961, Henry and Evelyn were blessed with a daughter, Barbara Lynne. In 1963, the neon company Henry worked for was bought out by a Chicago company, starting another chapter in their lives. With a move to Omaha, Neb., another adventure started at the Canadian border. While doing the paperwork to move to the United States, Henry was informed he was a “man with no country.” Through more paperwork with the United States government, he was finally allowed to become a U.S. resident on Evelyn’s Canadian passport.
In Omaha, Henry started work at Prairie Lane Elementary School in the Omaha School District #14. Over the years, he watched the little children grow up, watched the school grow, always taking pride in his work and work ethics. In 1965, daughter Denise Maren was born. She was little enough to fit in a larger shoe box.
With his limited education, Henry took night classes to receive a boilers license, and in March 1972 he was awarded his certificate. He continued his education to keep the boilers license current throughout his career as head custodian.
In 1973, wanting to be closer to family, Henry and Evelyn moved to Shelby. He started work at Shelby High School as head custodian. The change saw many new faces and people to meet, along with adjusting to the different climate. Not one to be idle, Henry always had little projects in the works. He helped others mow lawns and fix things. He was also well known for his knife and scissor sharpening abilities.
In April 1979, Henry and Evelyn picked up a second job cleaning the Marias River Electric offices, a job they did with pride for 33 years until June 2012.
In 1990, Henry started working on a farm during harvest, running combine, grain truck, or whatever needed done. You can take the boy off the farm, but you will never take the farm out of the boy. He was looking forward to this year’s harvest, being able to supervise the process. His last harvest was 2020, completing 30 years on the farm.
In 1993, Henry and Evelyn became official citizens of the United States. Finally, he was a man with a country.
During Henry’s lifetime, he always believed in going places, seeing the country, being able to visit and explore. As a family, they traveled all over the United States and Canada. In their later years, they ventured to Europe, seeing Germany, Italy, and England. They enjoyed several cruises as well, visiting the Caribbean and the Alaskan coast.
In 2018, the family went to Salt Lake City to watch Robbyn, Barbara’s daughter, graduate and receive her high school diploma. The last trip taken was in September of 2019 when Henry, along with Evelyn, Barbara and Denise went to Canada for a memorable visit with family.
Fond memories are recalled about “Sammy” the little Studebaker pickup, the only vehicle that would make it up the hill to get home in Omaha. Henry also owned a 1959 VW Beetle, a 1967 VW Karmann Ghia, along with restoring a 1972 Ghia.
Henry leaves behind a legacy. A couple of the most interesting accomplishments include capturing a skunk without getting sprayed, roping a young badger, and trapping one lofty gopher that tried to take up residence in the Marias River Electric offices.
Always willing to try something new, in 2010 at the young age of 87, Dad bought a Honda Goldwing motorcycle trike to take his beautiful bride of 58 years for a ride, as well as ride with Barbara and Jerry on their Harleys. He had the wind in his face doing something he truly enjoyed doing, and we rode with dad and mom smiling the entire way!
He was a man of very few words, but when he spoke, you always paid attention because it was usually spot on. He was a “jack of all trades and master of none.” When Dad built something, it was solid. He reused, recycled, made do, it worked and lasted forever, and don’t try to figure out how it was fixed, it was Dad’s hand. His girls never had to worry, Dad could fix anything.
Henry always had a smile, an upbeat attitude, he never complained, always kept moving ahead. A true Christian man, he loved the Lord and did his best to live his life the way God would want him to.
He always had his cold water close, enjoyed his small whiskey and honey every night, and on occasion even a cold beer. He loved a pan full of fried onions and could eat sauerkraut and sausage every night. He would always be involved, giving a hand or helping out, and always said you have to keep doing things, don’t stop. He had projects planned and they will be completed in his honor.
Henry is survived by his wife Evelyn of 68 years; daughter Barbara (Jerry) Stratman of Shelby, granddaughter Robbyn (Colton Wilde) of Salt Lake City, Utah; daughter Denise (Dr. Todd M., Lt. Col., USAF Retired) Dugo of Wetumpka, Ala., granddog Hudson; brother Harvey (Doreen) Endler of Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada; sisters, Elsie Loeb of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ruth Kula and Edith Bachman of Beausejour; sister-in-law Helen Endler of Beausejour; many nieces and nephews; along with many close friends and extended family.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers baby Endler, Walter and Julius; sister Mary Fiebelkorn; brothers-in-law Richard Loeb, Joe Kula, Ervin Bachman, Ed Fiebelkorn; and nephews Randy Loeb and Brian Kula.
Dad is missed. He left a hole in each of our lives, but we know he would want us to move forward. We will see him again in heaven, where we know he is making a home for us all. He touched so many people, each and every one of us in a way we will never forget. We love you dad.
Condolences may be left on Henry’s memorial page at www.asperfh.com or personal emails may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Whitemouth Municipal Museum, Redeemer Lutheran Cemetery both in Whitemouth, Manitoba, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
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