Friday, June 29, 2007

Funeral for Pte Joel Vincent Wiebe

WIEBE, Pte Joel Vincent On
Wednesday, June 20, 2007,
Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe died
in the service of his county, in
Afghanistan at the age of 22
years. Fondly remembered by
his loving spouse and soulmate
Anna Marie; father Joe (Nilda)
Wiebe and his mother Sherry
Clark; sisters:Michelle (Brandon),
Marcie, Amanda (Sean); brothers:
Ben and Lance as well as nieces:
Kali, Sydney, Dalyla and nephew Xander and grandparents.
Joel will also be greatly missed by his numerous other
relatives, friends and serving members of the Canadian
Forces. Joel will be buried with full Military Honours,
his Funeral Service on Saturday will be by invitation
only. In lieu of other tributes, donations may be made
to Edmonton Humane Society, 12251-67 Street,
Edmonton, AB T5B 1M8.
Serenity Funeral Service, 5311-91 Street,
450-0101. Condolences:
Your Community Owned Not For Profit Society.
June 30th, 2007

Sherry Clark, centre left, mother of Private Joel Wiebe, and Wiebe's
finacee Anna Thede, centre right, embrace as pallbearers
with 3 PPCLI prepare to drape a Canadian flag over Wiebe's
casket following a funeral at Trinity Lutheran Church in Edmonton yesterday.
Photo Credit: Tim Smith

It was a funeral, not a wedding. Pte. Joel Wiebe and Anna Thede

were supposed to get married on Feb. 18 next year at the

Trinity Lutheran Church, after the soldier's tour of duty in


Instead, Thede watched the fallen soldier's light oak coffin

as it came out of a hearse yesterday morning outside

the church on 81 Avenue and 100 Street.

Later, Sherry Clark, the soldier's mother, held Thede's

hand, as other family members stood beside them outside

the church and watched the ceremonial dressing of the

casket with a Canadian flag after the funeral.

Under the sunny blue sky and with a gentle wind blowing, Wiebe's beret, medals, white dress belt with bayonet and a wreath were ceremoniously placed on top of the coffin before burial.

"This is a small step in our grieving process. Family and friends gathered today to remember the wonderful man that Joel was, and the life he had," Wiebe's common-law wife said in a statement released by Edmonton Garrison.

"Though we are all very sad, we find strength in being together, and the many fond memories we have of Joel."

About 300 people, including 20 honour guards and about 200 regimental comrades from Wiebe's Edmonton 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, family members and friends packed the small church.

The funeral service was solemn, Thede's friend Heather Worden told Sun Media.

"Anna is doing very well," she added. Some church parishioners wanted to attend the service, but Wiebe's family asked that reporters and the public not attend the funeral and burial ceremonies.

Ten-year-old Elexis Ortlieb was at the funeral with her mom Ellen, who is Thede's friend.

"It was emotional," said the young girl, describing the service, adding she almost teared up.

"I felt a whole range of emotions. I felt sad and mad. But I'm just so happy that he's not suffering anymore. It's so nice to see that everyone has so much strength."

Thede sang with her friends a hymn called Blessed Be the Name, Ortlieb told Sun Media.

"Her voice resounded strong, she has a beautiful voice."

The dead soldier's mom appeared strong and steadfast in her euology, she said.

But what moved Ortlieb the most was Wiebe's favourite hymn, the classic Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.

"Throughout you can imagine the attitude of the young men as they went off to do their duties," she said.


The funeral service concluded with the Rainbow Song, chosen by Wiebe's sister Amanda, because on the morning the family heard of the soldier's death, "they saw a rainbow on the sky," Ortlieb said.

"The song says, everything is going to be OK."

Wiebe, who would have turned 23 last week, was buried at the Glenwood Memorial Gardens cemetery in Sherwood Park after a full military honour.

Edmonton's 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia will hold a military memorial service for the three dead soldiers at a later date in August.

1 comment:

Luc Klaps said...

I was sincerely touched by the photo and text placed on that remarkable gravestone at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery.

May God bless all those who sacrificed their lives for peace and freedom.

Luc Klaps, Belgium
Pictures on