Suntjens, Lawrence

Written by ECA Review

Lawrence FrontLawrence was born February 8, 1925, the fourth child of big Henry and Marie Suntjens. He grew up and took his schooling at West Wingham School, 20 miles south of Coronation.
Lawrence grew up fast. At an early age he had to work hard and was expected to do a man’s work. In his early teens he was driving his own team and often several hitches.  Early on he learned his love of horses. This love would continue throughout his life.  We can all remember at parades his prancing horse Cactus and his spirited black team, Gem and Jewel.
As a youth, Lawrence’s mother considered him a miracle baby. As an infant he survived polio but he quickly became a hale and hearty fellow. Through his life he endured several health set backs. Rheumatic fever during World War II, undulant fever in the mid 1950’s, and triple bypass heart operation when he was 55. No illness set Lawrence back for long.
At 18, Lawrence volunteered and did active service in the Canadian Army and assisted the Allies in the occupation of Europe until July of 1946.  Upon arriving back to Canada he settled in the Coronation area. He managed a brome cleaning plant in Coronation for many years and in the 1950s he purchased a farm five miles south of Coronation which would become home base.
His family was truly blended. He had an adopted son Brad from his first marriage and in 1960 he married Janet Comeau Foster. Together they raised her three daughters from a previous marriage and quickly added three more.  As you would expect it was a handful raising six daughters! Lawrence was a strong family man. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren and he assisted and encouraged them to do their best.
In 1972 Lawrence and Janet sold the bulk of their farmland, retained several sections of pasture and grassland and moved to town.  In 1980 the Suntjens family moved to Kelowna where they started an entrepreneurial partnership with Ken Anderson. Together they would design, build and operate the first waterslides in Canada. Lawrence and Janet returned to Coronation in 1982 where they continued farming and raising family.
In retirement Lawrence and Janet went twice to Europe and visited extended family in the Netherlands. They vacationed in Hawaii and travelled throughout western Canada with their show teams.
Lawrence will always be remembered for his joy of living. We’ll remember his handlebar mustache, his huge grin, his twinkling browed eyes and contagious laugh.
Into his 80’s Lawrence continued to be energetic and active. Only as he reached his mid 80s that age and failing health took their toll. Lawrence lived a full and active life. he died peacefully in his sleep on March 15, 2013 at the Coronation Hospital at 88 years of age. He lived the good life. Rest Well!
Lawrence is survived by spouse Janet; children Bradley (Bernice), Diana (Doug), Charlene,  Brenda (Mervin), Cindy, Holly (Todd) and Angie. Also by grandchildren Priscilla, Lyndon, Victor, Cory, Kary, Cody, Kay-Dee, Devonay, Mallory, Jeremy, Jordan, Jesse, Kayla, Dylan and Braydon as well as numerous great-grandchildren. His sister Mary (Elwood), sister-in-law Donna, numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. Lawrence was predeceased by his parents Henry Sr. and Marie, siblings Siebert, Effie, Francis and Hein and granddaughter Danece Theriault.
To commemorate Lawrence’s life a funeral service was held on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the Coronation Community Centre with Reverend Sue Hertell officiating. The eulogy was given by Cliff Suntjens.  Other tributes were by Ron Anderson and Kayla Suntjens. Mallory Schafer and Kay-Dee Theriault read a poem written by Danece Theriault. Soloist Dan Kinakin sang “Unsung Heroes”. A video tribute was played during the service. The cadets honoured Lawrence with a flag ceremony and “The Last Post” was played. Following the service, lunch was served and prepared by the Coronation Oil Wives. Memorial donations may be made to The Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation, 202-5913 50 Ave. Red Deer, AB, T4N 4C4. You may send your condolences by email to  Coronation Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements. 1-888-578-2928 “Knowledge, Experience And Professionalism With A Personal Touch”

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