Alfred S. Friesen, Hesston, passed away July 11, 2020, at his home surrounded by family members.
Al, the third child of Henry R. Friesen and Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schmidt, was born at home on Feb. 3, 1926, in Eminence Township, Finney County, east of Garden City. He was a survivor of the Dust Bowl days. He went to school at the country Harmony School for eight years and then the family moved to Meade and he attended two winters of Bible school at Meade Bible Academy. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord in 1938 and was baptized. He joined the EMB Church (now Countryside Bible Church) and was a faithful member.
Al began working for others at the age of 12 for 50 cents a day. In 1946, Al began his 70-year custom harvesting career. His last contribution was driving grain cart for the Meade harvest in the fall of 2016. At the U.S. Harvesters Convention in January 2017, he was inducted into the U.S. Harvesters’ Hall of Fame.
He married Hilda Agnes Kroeker on Sept. 5, 1950. After 33 rich and full years of marriage, Hilda succumbed to cancer on Sept. 15, 1983. They raised three children, Jeanne Kay, born Nov. 29, 1953, Lyle Keith, born Nov. 20, 1957 and Connie Jo, born Jan. 31, 1960. He added four more children when he married Mary Longenecker Fast on April 27, 1985, in Minnesota.
He was very active in the community and church until hearing loss prevented him from contributing in meetings. During his life, he served as trustee and deacon in his church, on the boards of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), Meade Bible Academy, Youth for Christ, Lone Tree Nursing Home, Great Plains Christian Radio, Farm Bureau, Farm and Home Administration (FHA), Federal Land Bank and Western Hog Association. For many years, he enjoyed singing with his brothers in the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus. In 2017, he turned the farm over to his son and grandsons and moved to Hesston.
“I want to give God all the glory for leading me all the way and may God lead you, too. Love you all.” (Submitted by Al, himself.)
Al was predeceased by his parents, Henry and Minnie; a sister, Ruth; brothers, Harry, Ben and Reuben; his first wife, Hilda; and a step-grandson, Joshua Bartel.
Survivors include his wife, Mary; children, Jeanne and Leon Toews, Lyle and Peggy (Wiens) Friesen and Connie and Mark Ensz; stepchildren Gerhard and Yvonne (Friesen) Fast, Lenita Fast, Twyla and Tim Bartel and Margaret and Weldon “Buck” Friesen; grandchildren, Tyson and Lisa Toews, Shannon and Ryan Potter, Carlin and Rebekah Toews, Tanya and Michael Davis, Brandon and Kasey Friesen, Jaden and Jen Friesen, Tinese and Josh Grisanti; Wendy and Brian Seemann, Taylor and Sarah Ensz, and Travis Ensz; step-grandchildren Aron and Annie Fast, Beth and John Barthelme, Matthew Bartel, Jonathan Bartel, Randy and Stacy Friesen, Ryan and Jenna Friesen, and Rebecca Friesen; great-grandchildren, Audrey, Hannah and Marcus Toews; Sydney, Zachary, and Whitney Potter; Ainsley Davis; Kylin, Kadon and Knox Friesen; Ayton and Brylee Friesen; Levi Grisanti; and Adeline Ensz; step-great-grandchildren, Tyler and Noah Fast, Danielle and Paul Barthelme; brother, Walter and Carol Friesen, sisters-in-law, Verda Friesen and Joyce Friesen, Hilda’s brothers, Elmer and Renetta Kroeker, George and Shirley Kroeker, and Harold and Jane Kroeker, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A gathering and visitation with the family will be from 1:30-4 p.m., Sunday July 19, at Petersen Funeral Home. A cremation service has been chosen and a memorial service and committal will be announced at a later date in Meade.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested for:
- Back to the Bible, P.O. Box 82808, Lincoln, Neb., 68501;
- Countryside Bible Church, 22012 22 Rd, Meade, Kan., 67864 or
- Garden Community Church, 116 N Main, Hesston, Kan., 67062.