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It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Werner Arden Block, 64 years of Jansen, SK, on Friday, December 7, 2018 at Lanigan Hospital surrounded by his family. Werner Arden Block was born to Elsie and William October 25, 1954 in LeRoy, SK. He was the baby brother to three older sisters. He was the first of the children to be born in Canada and to have a middle name. He attended Drake Elementary School, graduated from Lanigan High School in 1972 and drove his VW Beetle to Saskatoon. He studied Industrial Chemical Technology at Kelsey, where, aside from learning about electrical and chemical engineering, he became a star bowler and crokinole ace. He moved to Regina to work as a lab technologist in the Occupational Health & Safety department. He quit his good government job to take over the farm from his parents in 1977; and, in 1981, after trying to make a dollar farming, he married Kathryn Bella and, she too, quit her good government job to join Werner on the farm. Jennifer was born in 1984 and Sarah in 1985. He took welding and lathe courses and was a Saskatchewan Wheat Pool delegate from 1984 to 1991. In 1991, Kathryn died from breast cancer and Werner had a new mission: to raise two girls. He made cookies for events at school, sewed elastic on ballet slippers, and demonstrated how to braid with electrical wires at the vice in his shop. He remarried in 1994 to his biggest regret and divorced in 2001. With his resources depleted, he started working at Blair’s Fertilizer in the winters from 2005-2011. He often relayed tales about coffee time and the colourful characters, with even more colourful language, at Blair’s. In 2010, Werner was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He continued to farm but the landscape began to change as the BHP Billiton Potash Mine was developed and neighbours began to leave. To accommodate for the mine, the grid road north of the farm needed to be built up and the road crew set up at the end of the lane. In the fall of 2014, Werner was tapped to join the road crew and was able to run the excavator which had been on his bucket list. He was reported to be quick learner, and as he often did, created lasting friendships with the crew long after they’d left. Around the same time, he met Linda Schmidt at the bowling alley in Jansen, and they became special friends. Werner retired from farming after the 2015 crop year and rented his land after 38 years of farming. He spent the following summer preparing his equipment for auction while continuing cancer treatment. Unfortunately, in the spring of 2016 the prostate cancer metastasized to his bones. Though his prognosis wasn’t good, he always remained hopeful, and continued finding new hobbies. He explored new territory on his side-by-side and purchased a 1962 International 660 tractor and joined the tractor pull circuit in 2017 and 2018. He made it into the winner’s circle half of the time and delighted in having an audience. His health rapidly declined in his last weeks but he never lost his sense of humour. He passed away peacefully with his daughters at his side December 7, 2018. Werner was a self-described ‘fixer-kind-of-guy’ who in his last years kept a white beard for a ‘mountain-man’ look. He loved the farm and was particularly fond of his shop where he spent many hours fabricating. He built the things he couldn’t afford including a bandsaw, air compressor, press, and bin crane and kept his appliances running well past their life expectancy. His biggest project was building his house and he was a pioneer of the used-oil furnace for shop heat. He spent countless hours reading, gaining vast electrical and mechanical knowledge. He valued helping his neighbours and serving his community in various roles, most notably as a Credit Union Director. He loved high fidelity home audio and listening to music, especially the blues. He was a steward of the land and was vocal about his opposition to the BHP project. It was thought he might be on a BHP watch list, so, if he was, kindly remove him. He was quiet, but a bit of a rebel starting with drilling holes in the side of the barn as a boy, and saw anything ‘tamper-proof’ as a challenge. He was often called upon for advice and did his best to impart his ‘it never hurts to ask’ negotiation tactic to his daughters. Werner had faith in Jesus and after the Temple Baptist church closed he fellowshipped with the Zion Lutherans. He was easy to like, a true friend and had a special ability to engage in conversation. Werner was predeceased by his wife Kathryn Bella-Block and parents William and Elsie Block. Werner leaves to mourn his passing and celebrate his life: his daughters, Jennifer and Sarah; his special friend Linda Schmidt; sisters Gertrude Kellman, Agnes (Bill) Hamilton, and Ingrid (Ernie) Doerksen; nephews Randy (Betty) Muller, Curtis Nickason, Cory (Lorie) Nickason, and Tyson Willick; nieces Gaileen Muller and Jessica Willick; great and great-great nephews; parents-in-law Anita and George Bella; sister-in-law Elaine Bella (Cliff Willick) and brother-in-law David Bella; as well as numerous relatives and friends.
The Funeral Service for Werner was held on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Jansen, officiated by Pastor Glenn Shore. Interment took place in the Esk South Cemetery. Memorial Donations in Werner’s memory may be directed to the Esk South Cemetery or Prostate Cancer Society.
Esk South Cemetery
Prostate Cancer Canada
2 Lombard Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto ON M5C 1M1