Cornelius “Neil” Sawatzky, CMA

1945 – 2008 

Sawatzky.jpgOn Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at Boundary Trails Health Centre, Neil Sawatzky of Winkler formerly of Schanzenfeld, MB aged 62 years went to his eternal rest in heaven. 

Neil was born on May 18, 1945 in Altona, MB the youngest of 13 children.  At age 3, his family moved to Paraguay.  He had many fond memories of his childhood in Paraguay.  The family returned to Manitoba when Neil was 10.  He excelled in math and spelling throughout his school years which would serve him well in his future career.  He completed high school through distance education.  Neil graduated as a Registered Industrial Accountant in 1975 (recognized now as Certified Management Account) and established his own business in Winkler in 1977.  Carol worked with him as his secretary/bookkeeper in all his years of practice. 

Neil married Carol Cotton in September 8, 1973 and lived in Selkirk until 1975 before moving to the Winkler area.  They were blessed with 3 children, Jennifer, Jeffrey and Jonathan.  Sadly, Jeffrey passed away at the age of 8 months.  In his writings, Neil said this brought him closer to God and was determined to raise his children in a Godly way. 

As a child, Neil had rheumatic fever which damaged his heart, resulting in heart surgery at the age of 21.  He was fairly healthy for many years and enjoyed raising his family. He spent time with them working on the yard as well as playing football, baseball, fishing and camping.  On September 18, 1989, Neil suffered a cardiac arrest on the golf course.  A week later, he had heart surgery once again.  Following this, he had 2 more cardiac arrests and was sent to London, ON for a pacemaker. 

In January 1990, Neil’s heart enlarged to the point of needing a heart transplant.  On March 4, 1990 (almost 18 years ago) God performed a miracle and Neil received a heart transplant.  Neil and Carol stayed in London, ON for 6 months waiting to receive the transplant and through the recovery process.  During this time, Jake and Eleanor Wall became guardians to Jennifer (15) and Jonathan (11) who remained in Winkler.  This formed a very close and special bond between the Sawatzky and Wall families.  The heart transplant gave Neil many extra years to watch his children grow, graduate from University (Jennifer a nurse and Jonathan a Certified Management Accountant), to get married and see his grandsons. 

Neil enjoyed trying to fish, golfing and many other sports and especially watching the Montreal Canadiens and the Edmonton Eskimoes.  He loved traveling with Carol and through their marriage they traveled coast to coast.  He was baptized upon confession of his faith on May 25, 1969 at the age of 24.  Neil’s faith was important to him.  After Jeffrey’s death, he strived to show his kids the importance of having a relationship with Jesus Christ, modeling to them daily devotions and prayer time.  Family devotions were a must as well as attending church and Sunday school on a weekly basis.  He was filled with pride when both of his children accepted Christ and were baptized.  Neil spent many years helping with Christian Service Brigade and being involved with Christian Business Ministries and the Gideons.  During recent years, he was a member, then Chairman of the Missions committee and a member of the Church Council at Bethel Bergthaler Mennonite Church.  He had a keen interest in the well-being of the missionaries supported by the church.  He was a member of the Finance committee at the time of his passing. 

In the last year and a half, Neil health had failed to the point of needing kidney dialysis.  He did not complain, but remained conscientious of diet and all of his medications.  He knew that these things was giving him an extra lease on life to spend with his family and friends. 

In early November of 2007, Neil was diagnosed with liver cancer.  Once again, Neil was willing to do whatever possible to fight the cancer.  This involved a surgery in mid- December.  He encountered numerous complications from this but was able to spend Christmas day at home with his family.  Neil’s strong will was evident to all.  His journey on earth is complete but we are reassured knowing he is in heaven without any medical issues.  He fought the good fight and finished the race all the while keeping his faith. 

He leaves to mourn his passing his beloved wife, Carol (nee Cotton) of Winkler; 1 daughter, Jennifer and Cory Warms (Mark, Eric) of Winkler; 1 son, Jonathan and Janelle (Ty) of Winnipeg; 4 sisters and 5 brothers. 

He was predeceased by his son, Jeffrey (1977); his parents and 2 brothers. 

Funeral service was held on Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm at Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church.  Interment followed at Winkler Cemetery. 

If friends so desire, donations may be made in Neil memory to either the Gideon Memorial Bible Plan Box 778 Winkler, MB R6W 4A8 or Christian Business Ministry 226 Beaver Creek Rd. Suite 208 Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P4. 

Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler in care of arrangements.

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