(May 13, 1946- July 28, 2016)
This is a copy of the eulogy given following the Funeral Mass for Walter on August 4, 2016, written by Marjorie Bieber, read by Herman Bieber.
Dad led a happy childhood, and one that was typical of children growing up in the country at the time. He played hockey or shinny on cleared-off ponds in winter, and ball in the summer. He took his early schooling in one-room country schools Spring Hill and Southgate, and went there with horse, and buggy or cutter. He was very attached to the animals around the farm, and like his Dad, was particularly fond of horses. As a young child he had an adventurous spirit and sometimes took off on his own. On one occasion, his Uncle Charlie found him wandering down a road, on his way to see someone.
At a very young age, Dad had a clear view of what he wanted to do with his life and set the course that it would take. Liking the rural way of life so well, he always said that he wanted to farm. And, he wanted to have a large family. His sister Marjorie recalls him telling her when he was still in school that he thought that “large families are kind of nice.”
After graduating from Wolseley High School in 1964, he began to farm with his father Herman and his brother John. They engaged in mixed-farming, with both John and Dad developing an extensive knowledge of crop-growing practices and the purebred Hereford industry.
When Dad met my mother Kathy in the early 1970’s, he knew that this was the person whom he wanted to marry. What may well have clinched this, however, was the fact that, after meeting Mom’s family, he told his Mother that they were “a really nice family.” They were married on February 5th, 1972 in Wolseley, and established their home south of Wolseley, located on the original Bieber homestead. In the years following, they had five children: Margaret, Ann, Herman, Walter, and Jane. After my brother Walter and I graduated from high school, he continued farming with us.
Dad was a man of high moral principles, with a very loving, caring nature. This was evident in how he conducted himself as a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend.
He truly excelled as a father, always leading by example.
He believed strongly in responsibility, commitment, hard work and always showing up for the task at hand. When we were going to school, if the roads were blocked from a snow storm, he insisted on taking us in to Wolseley with a tractor. Why, we wondered, was it necessary to make such a huge effort to get us to school? Only more recently has the answer begun to dawn, and this training has served us well in our present situations.
To further emphasize the importance he attached to us applying ourselves to our studies, he served on the Wolseley School Board for nine years. In this way, he got more closely involved in our schooling, and found it a learning experience as well. One that, for the most part, he enjoyed.
Dad also believed in honesty and integrity in his business dealings, and aimed to instill these values in his children. When he was selling purebred Hereford cattle, he was truthful about what he was selling, and stood by his product.
Dad believed, too, in including everyone in community. He was kind and caring to all, regardless of their circumstances in society, and he wanted his children to do and be the same. He encouraged us to participate in sports, particularly team sports, so that we would learn team skills, how to contribute, cooperate, and work and play with others. And he attended our games as often as he could to indicate his support.
As a grandfather, he was continuing this approach. He was extremely proud, to date, of the accomplishments of his grandchildren and supported them in their endeavours. Maggie Beth‘s and Danny’s artistic achievements; Aiva’s keen interest in cattle and 4-H activities; Mya’s love of dance and music; Raya’s athletic abilities. He was looking forward to seeing what talents and interests Dominik, Noah, and Konnor would exhibit.
He was very appreciative of the guidance his daughters-in-law Danika and Christina, and his son-in-law Ryan have been making in the development of his grandchildren’s education and talents.
As a son, Dad was devoted to both his mother and father, and Grandma lived with us for five years after she could no longer be on her own. In doing this, we learned the importance of devotion to family.
As a person, Dad had a wide range of interests. In his youth he played hockey, and he always followed sports. He enjoyed music. He also followed local, national and world events with a keen, analytical mind and a wonderful sense of humor.
In a sense, each of us can be viewed as a pilgrim engaged on a journey in life. On that journey, each of us encounters challenges, difficulties, and times when we must make difficult choices. Dad endeavoured to meet the obligations and challenges of his life with integrity and love. For this, he most certainly deserves the love and respect of his family and friends.