Heritage Highlights: Arnie Neufeld - a man to be remembered

This plaque honouring Arnie Neufeld hangs in the Faith & History section of the Winkler Heritage Museum.

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By Dora Hildebrand – Arnie Neufeld (June 16, 1944 – May 28, 2012) was born in Winkler to George W. and Justina Neufeld who farmed north of Horndean throughout most of Arnie’s childhood and youth. These years were fondly remembered and crucially important for fostering many of Arnie’s guiding passions which included the prairie landscape, service to the local community and involvement in the church. Arnie’s deepest desire was to work on behalf of the gospel of Christ Jesus. He did so in a variety of professional settings: as a school teacher, as an Instructor of historical theology, as a school teacher, as the owner of a Christian bookstore, and as a pastor to congregations in Alberta, Ontario and Winkler.
Arnie married Trudi (nee Klassen) on June 21, 1969 and they had three children; sons Matthew and Michael, daughter Christine and grandchildren Liam and Bronte.
Arnie, with the help of Bruce Wiebe, started the Stones & Stories project where they took photos of tombstones in the Winkler cemeteries and matched them up with pictures of the deceased and their obituaries. This information was put into alphabetically arranged binders and can be viewed in the Museum and Archives. In May of 2012, Neufeld and Wiebe were recognized by the Association of Manitoba Archives their efforts on this project and won the 2012 Manitoba Day Award. “It is so important that we do the work now to preserve those life stories while we still have access to these materials” said Arnie.
Arnie Neufeld passed away as a result of complications from a chronic heart condition in May of 2012. Heritage Society chair Jerry Hildebrand at the time said, “With the recent passing of Arnie Neufeld, our organization has lost an important and vital volunteer.
Arnie was the vice-chair of the Heritage Society as well as the chair of the Museum committee. Arnie was instrumental in Winkler finally getting a museum. He worked tirelessly until we were able to open in the Southland Mall last summer, and then continued to volunteer there and find sponsors until his health no longer allowed him to do so. We are missing his gentle ability to push us to do things we didn’t think we could do.”
We, at the Winkler Heritage Society heartily agree with the family when they remarked about their husband/father, “a humble, quiet, gentle and gracious man, Arnie was a model of thoroughness, faithfulness and loving kindness.
His was a beautiful soul that blessed many lives. We will never forget him”..

Heritage Highlights, supplied by the Winkler Heritage Society, introduces readers to the people, places and things that still impact us today. The Winkler Heritage Museum is located in the Southland Mall and is open Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 am – 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday evenings. The Archives located in the Winkler Centennial Library are open Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.. For appointments call archivist Ed Falk at 204-325-8929. The Stones and Stories binders are on display at both locations. Come for a visit! One way of showing support for the Winkler Heritage Society (Archives, Stones & Stories and Museum) is by becoming a member of the Society. Forms may be picked up at both the Archives and Museum.

The Winkler Heritage Society will host an open house and barbecue fundraiser on Saturday, June 8. The event takes place at the north end of the Southland Mall with the open house running from 10-4 and the barbecue from 11:30-1:30. Come out for a hotdog, chips and a drink for $5.

Arnie Neufeld with the 2012 Manitoba Day Award which Arnie and Bruce Wiebe won in May of 2012 for their Stones & Stories project, which collects and preserves the life stories of people buried in the Winkler Cemeteries.

 

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