Benno who passed away on September 29th, 2021 was born on June 27th, 1929 in Nelson B.C to Peter and Anna Friesen, the last of seven children. The family moved to Rosthern, SK, during the height of the depression, to find work and be with family. In 1939 the family packed up and headed to Langley B.C, where they purchased land and grew strawberries.
Benno loved learning but was forced to quit school in grade 9 to help support the family, which he did by working in sawmills. Just down the street, he met neighbour Marjorie Janzen, whom he fell head over heels in love with. Wanting to better himself, Benno completed high school at age 23. He and Marge married in 1952 and shortly thereafter headed to North Western University, in Chicago, where he graduated with a BA in History and English. During this time their daughter Cyndi was born. After graduating, the Friesens headed to Iowa where Benno took a position teaching in a Middle school. It was here, in Clinton, where their second and final child was born, Lynne.
After a few years word reached Benno and Marge that Trinity Western University, a new junior college in Langley B.C, was being formed. Benno joined the faculty, and in 1962 the family moved back to Langley, BC. He remained at Trinity until 1974 when he won the Federal Election becoming the Progressive Conservative Party’s Member of Parliament for the Surrey – White Rock district. During his tenure at Trinity, both he and Marge made many close, long-lasting friendships that stayed strong until his passing.
His years in Ottawa were rewarding to him – he loved serving his constituents through his duties as their representative, serving all Canadian citizens to the best of his abilities in all he did. Some of his notable local achievements are initiating the promenade along White Rock beach by using paving bricks from Expo 86, securing funds from the federal government, to save the pier and dredging the waters in Crescent Beach for boaters to access a marina.
In 1993 Benno opted for retirement over seeking re-election. He and Marge spent their time catching up with friends and family, in fellowship at St. Johns Anglican Vancouver Church, golfing, and simply being together. Their favourite pastime was spending time with their kids, grandkids and eventually great-grandkids.
Benno went to be with his Lord and Saviour on September 29th, 2021, re-joining his wife who had passed in 2019. He is survived by Cyndi (Bernie) Scholz and Lynne (Mark) Pettigrew. Grandchildren Corban, (Cammy) Aubrey (Spencer), Caroline and Davis Scholz and Andrew (Harveen) Hannah Griffith, Brittney (Tim) McAra as well as two great Children Norah and Charlie McAra and many nieces and nephews.
“…. Now is the time for grief, but I will see you again” John 16:22
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 on Monday October 18th at Peace Portal Alliance Church, 15128 27B Avenue in Surrey. Please note that due to Covid-19 there will be no post-service refreshments, and masks will be required at the service.
To view the service via live stream, please go to the following link:
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Benno Friesen Scholarship Fund for Political Science at Trinity Western University.
Dear Cyndi, Lynne and families - My wife Pat and I were so saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Benno. We came to know Benno and your Mom Marge when I was first elected to Parliament in 1978. We shared many happy occasions together, both here in BC and in Ottawa. Benno and Marge lived a life well spent, and Benno left many important gifts to this world as an educator, as a respected and principled politician, and as a devout Christian. But above all, Benno was your Dad and Grampa. He will be missed by many and loved by all who knew him. Farewell good friend! Tom and Pat Siddon
Benno was a man of passion - passionate about his faith in Christ, his love for his family, and the growth and success of Trinity Western University. Marg and Benno were in the forefront of the development of TWU. That leadership is helping to develop Canada's next leaders. Lydia and I sorrow Benno's passing but celebrate his life and the legacy of a life well lived.
Benno, you were a political mentor to many and a consummate encourager in the Christian faith. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.
We are so sorry to hear of “Uncle” Ben’s passing. He was a lovely, sincere, steadfast man who exhibited kindness, understanding, patience and faith throughout his life. He always had time for my sisters and I here in Ottawa. He even walked one of them down the aisle at her wedding and spoke on behalf of our family. My mother was blessed to work with him for most of his tenure as MP and she was welcomed many times in his home riding. He sent us the most heartfelt eulogy to be read upon her death and used to call me when writing became challenging. That is the kind of man he was; a faithful uncle to the end and we shall mourn his absence from this world, especially from his children and grandchildren with whom he shared a very close bond. We are thinking of you all Cyndi, Lynne and your families. Please know that your father had a big impact on our family as he did with many people in this world. You were indeed, blessed to have him and your mother as parents. Please accept our sincere condolences from the Wood girls and families.
My sincerest condolences to the family. Benno was a gentleman of character…the very kind of person that gives credit to the positions he held. He is missed.
My sincere sympathies to the Friesen family. Benno was both a humble, and a great man who lived out his faith every day. It was an honour to be associated with him during my days in Ottawa.
I join with my 3 sons, Tony, Stewart and Gordon in sending our sincerest condolences to the Friesen family. Although the Masi family was never on the same politic team with Benno we admired him tremendously. He was a true gentleman and a fine politician. May he rest in Peace.
Benno was a fine Member of Parliament and was always fun to chat with. He was popular with colleagues from all parties!
Benno and I did have two common mandates, 1984-88, 1988-93. We share the same floor at the confederation building, We did have a lot of friendly conversations. I thank him for improving my English and helping me to implement a better understanding of my country, towards the Pacific. I hope he will R.I.P. Gabriel Fontaine - PCP member 1984-93
Benno was one of a kind. His faith involved "steering by the bow". He had an instinct for knowing when a friend was troubled, and his remedy was offered with a minimum of fuss. I can still hear his hearty laugh. I treasure a book he and Marge wrote about their family and their travels. Now they are on the eternal voyage, together.
We will miss Benno. He was a great colleague in Parliament and a genuine nice person. RIP my friend.
Dear Friesen Family, I was very sorry to learn of Benno’s passing. He was a good man, and it was a real pleasure to have served with him in Parliament. Please accept my sincerest condolences. May he now RIP. Sergio Marchi
Very sorry about the passing of both of Friesens.
In parliament with Benno for many years. A very good friend.
Benno and I were colleagues in Ottawa from 1984 to 1993 as well as1979 to 1980, He was a great mentor and friend, he had a great sense of humor, He =was an excellent source for advice, We travelled together on Parliamentary Trips, Mary and I enjoyed being with Benno and Marg, He was a a great Christian and his faith influenced everything he did & a good Canadian.
Monsieur le Député Benno Friesen, était un bon Député. Un Monsieur que j’aimais bien, et d’une grande gentillesse. C’était toujours agréable de converser avec lui, et pour lequel je garde un très bon souvenir… Mes plus sincères condoléances à tous les membres de sa famille. L’Honorable Jean-Pierre Blackburn Ex-Ambassadeur du Canada auprès de l’UNESCO Mr. MP Benno Friesen was a good MP. A gentleman that I liked, and of great kindness. It was always nice to converse with him, and for which I have fond memories ... My deepest condolences to all of his family. The Honorable Jean-Pierre Blackburn Former Ambassador of Canada to UNESCO
I had the privilege of serving with Benno in the House of Commons from 1984 to 1993. He was a great role model.
Benno was a wonderful parliamentarian. When he decided not to seek re-election he was not done with politics. It was a pleasure to work with him in the rebuilding of the Progressive Conservative Party. He was a gentleman!
Yours was the first family we met in White Rock back on Stevens Street in 1973 & Lynne, our first baby sitter. Shed many a tear with your mom through my rough patches & she was always willing to listen & offer a prayer. Your dad was a giant of a man, a gentleman whom I dearly respected. Wanted to send my condolences to your families on the loss of your special , loving parents. God bless!❤Paula