Steven Derek Thiessen, aged 41, of Winnipeg, passed away with family at his side on Jan. 19, 2019, after a nine-month battle with bladder cancer. Steve is survived by his loving wife Fiona and their four children—Nadia (13), Ezra (11), Simon (9) and Ember (4). Steve is also survived by his parents Harold and Laura Thiessen, and brothers Chuck (Laura) and Kenton (Kira); his father-in-law Ron Plett; and siblings in law Danny, Ivan (Sherry), Janice Barrate (Lance).
Steve was born in Arborg, Man., on Feb. 26, 1977, but grew up on a family farm near Bowsman, Man. Steve loved farm life and also worked with his father as a carpenter. In summers he volunteered as a counsellor at Steeprock Bay Bible Camp and loved having fun with the campers who attended from northern Manitoba. At one point, Steve served with MDS in Puerto Rico.
After high school, Steve attended SBC for two years before studying International Development at the University of Winnipeg. Steve paid for his studies by planting trees in northern Ontario and, over six summers, planted nearly half a million saplings. While at university Steve moved into Winnipeg’s West End as part of an intentional community of friends interested in serving that neighbourhood.
During this time he met Fiona, whom he married on March 23, 2002. Steve and Fiona enjoyed a wonderful, loving marriage, and Fiona loved Steve’s dry sense of humour. Steve pursued a teaching degree after they were married and, since 2006, worked as a junior high math and science teacher.
Steve and Fiona became caretakers in a church run rooming house in the West End and ministered to the community with New Life Ministries, for whom Steve worked on a construction crew renovating derelict houses. They purchased one of these renovated homes, and then a second a short distance away, and together grew their roots deep into the community right up until Steve’s death.
The teachings of Jesus guided Steve for both the mundane decisions of each day and his all-encompassing life path choices. Even during his painful struggle with cancer, Steve was not bitter but exuded serenity, and made sure to communicate to those around him that, “God is good.” Steve and Fiona and their children lived out their faith in the Many Rooms Church Community in the West End together with a supportive, like-minded community of fellow sojourners. Steve’s faith was defined by social justice; he invited into his life people of many backgrounds and economic status and had a very soft heart for those struggling in life.
Steve loved his family dearly. Steve was a dedicated father, and perhaps his greatest work was his children. Steve loved to play in the water, read stories, have nerf and laser fights, and invented his infamous candy salad for them. The demands of packing six people for camping excursions were taken in stride by Steve. Steve loved Nadia, Ezra, Simon and Ember dearly and daily connected with each one in meaningful ways.