Thursday April 17, 2014





A life spent giving

Family, friends gather to remember Henry Devries
Hugo Yuen

Friends and family members gathered around the piano to sing in memory of pastor Henry Devries on Saturday morning at the Calvary Community Church.

There are lingering questions about the death of Henry Devries, but no one who attended a celebration of the pastor's life Saturday had any doubts as to how he lived.

Devries, 59, will be remembered as a generous man who loved God, his family and helping others.

"Henry, we will miss you," Devries' sister, Pietie Boskers, told the several hundred people who gathered at the Calvary Community Church.

Many of those who attended, be they family, friends or members of Devries' Sahali Fellowship Church, asked how he died.

Rev. Ron Vanden Brink said this is not yet known.

"It's going to be some time before we get answers," he said.

What is known is Devries went to bed with a fever and chills last Saturday night. Whenever Devries got sick, it took quite a toll as he had his spleen removed following a car accident when he was a teenager, said Vanden Brink.

Devries had a service Sunday morning, so he got up and performed his duties - delivering what would be his final sermon. Then he went home to bed.

By 8:30 p.m. Sunday, his condition had weakened and he was taken to Royal Inland Hospital.

"For most of the day his immune system had been unable to fight an infection," said Vanden Brink. "By the time he arrived at hospital, his body had shut down."

Devries died Monday morning surrounded by his family.

Everyone who spoke touched on Devries' generosity and how his door was always open to those in need.

In his quest to help others, Devries hosted George Zondervan, who walked across Canada to raise money and awareness about world hunger.

And, in 2008, Devries joined 220 cyclists in a cross-continent bike ride to raise money for the impoverished.

Lonny Dainard said Devries is one of his mentors, and described him as "a man for us."

"He challenged us. He told us 'There is lots inside of you to give,' " said Dainard.

Before meeting Devries, Dainard thought he didn't have a lot to offer. Then Devries asked him to speak to his congregation at Sahali.

"Henry was really, really encouraging," said Dainard. "It was really exciting."

He said Devries preached sharing what you have, loving one another and always asking why.

Boskers shared a different side of Devries, one that didn't always like playing by the rules.

She told a story about how she and Devries once snuck out and took the family car to explore a nearby Doukhabor camp. Boskers said Devries made sure to fill up the car with gas so they didn't get caught.

"He was my best friend and I always looked up to him," said Boskers.

She and the rest of Devries's family then gathered at the front of the church to sing songs. Boskers said that's a favourite thing for the family to do when it gets together.


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