On Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at the age of 70, David (Dave) Derksen, of Stephenfield, MB was called home to be with the Lord.
He is remembered by his loving wife Nita, his four children: Darrell (Sherri) Derksen, Brian (Danielle) Derksen, Corinne Derksen, Angela (Justin) Klassen and his eight grandchildren: Jeff, Chad, Russell, Shane, Maddison, Hailey, Jace and Nevaeh. Dave was predeceased by his parents, John and Helena (nee Dyck) Derksen, stepmom, Helen Bergen (nee Paetkau) and his brother, John Derksen.
Dad was born on July 9th, 1953 in Miami, MB to his parents John and Helena Derksen. As a child he attended school in Roseisle and then in Miami until grade 8. It was then, that he decided to rather work on his parent’s farm, choring pigs and cows for them. Around the age of 16 he convinced his dad to buy a square baler, with a plan to bale flax straw. Later on, Dad got a construction job in Winnipeg with Abe Friesen building houses. Abe would pick him up for work since he didn’t own a car at this time. Dad eventually rented a piece of farmland, seeded it with oats, hired someone to combine it and piled it in the yard, as he didn’t have a bin to store them. He sold those oats and used the money to buy his first car - a green dodge dart. Before turning 20, in 1973, he began trucking for Kleysen Transport, hauling sugar beets and logs. Soon afterwards, he bought two pieces of land known as the Dundas and Stephenfield farms, which were the start of his grain farming career. In the spring of 1975 at the age of 22, he was baptized in the Stephenfield Sommerfeld Church. That fall on September 14, Dad married our mom, Nita Unger. Shortly after, he got a new job hauling cattle and pigs for Dave Epp. With that income, he bought a super 90 Massey Ferguson tractor to further his farming. Dad seeded his first fields with that tractor together with a small pony express drill and hired out the combining, while both dad and mom baled flax straw. In the spring of 1979, Dad welcomed his first child, Darrell. That year was full of firsts, which included building a heated workshop, buying a 3-ton flat bed truck, and a bale wagon. Five years following in 1984, his second child, Brian was born. His third child, Corinne was born in 1991 and 18 months later in 1993, his fourth child, Angela, was born. Through hard work and determination, the farmyard experienced many changes and expansions over the years following. In 1997, he and mom built a new house and moved in during the summer of 1998. Throughout his farming career, Dad had a special place for animals. Whether it was pigs, cows, horses, cats, or dogs, dad loved having them around, doing chores or just watching them be. Since his stroke in 2018, tending to his cows was something that Dad still thoroughly enjoyed, and this also kept him going.
Dad was many things to many people. He was a husband to our mom, a father to us kids, a grandfather to his grandchildren, a Sunday School teacher and a friend to many near and far. Some things that Dad taught us were to have good work ethic and to never give up. This was evident when he used to say there was no such thing as ‘can’t’. If he set his mind to something, he was determined to see it through. Dad’s farm was a large passion for him. This passion started when he was young and continued throughout his life. Whether it was his land or his cattle, he preferred to be close to home and didn’t feel the need to travel far. Dad was an inventor at heart. He enjoyed the challenge of making gadgets to make a task easier to complete. This included many things, from making a pipe apple picker to welding a homemade front-end loader. Dad enjoyed a variety of things. He loved a good family baseball game, fishing even when there wasn’t much catching, evening wiener roasts and playing a game of pool. Dad also enjoyed watching the Dukes of Hazzard with his grandkids, playing crokinole and card games, driving to look at his crops and watching his cows eat. Dad’s favourite beach was what he called his plastic beach (aka having a bath in the jacuzzi). He also loved being goofy. Whether it was making funny faces at his grandkids, or wearing gift bags on his head, he enjoyed getting a reaction. Dad had some wild adventures over the years. These included being chased up the mix mill by an angry boar, directing a bison stampede through the yard, dodging an ostrich on the way to church, and creating his own version of a rodeo in his cow pen. There was never a shortage of exciting things going on at the farm. Dad had the gift of falling asleep. He could fall asleep anywhere, almost anytime, in almost any position. It could be across two chairs, at the kitchen table with his head kinked over, during a concert, while visiting, or on the floor in a sunny spot. For him, snacking while driving would often be necessary to stay awake.
One of Dad’s main characteristics was that he had a heart for other people. Whether it was inviting a truck driver in for lunch, talking to the person behind him in line, visiting people in the hospital or penitentiary, or talking to strangers on the phone; no matter who they were, he made an effort to get to know them and share his faith with them. And last, but most importantly, Dad’s faith was held very close to him. He would spend many hours reading the Bible, listening to Christian speakers, and sharing the gospel with all those around him. Dad recognized his own need of salvation. He relied on God to give him the strength he needed to overcome any challenges. He knew that one day his faith would become sight and he would meet Jesus, face to face. Dad will be remembered and missed by many. We draw strength and comfort in knowing that Dad is where he has always longed to be, in the presence of his Lord and Saviour.