My husband and our dear dad, Donovan Earl Toews, was born to Milton and Margaret (Penner) Toews on March 20, 1957 in Three Hills, Alberta. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in December of 2019, and faced each new challenge in the same way he had lived his life, with positivity and courage. He peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family, at his home near Del Norte, Colorado on January 4, 2021.
Dad spent his childhood in the Linden, Alberta area. At age 11, he moved with his family to the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. There he finished his schooling at Yarrow High School. He spoke often of his early years, telling us stories of driving rock truck, life on the farm, and engaging in daring escapades with his brother and cousins. The friends he made in Linden and Abbotsford back then have remained lifelong connections.
As a youth, Dad became a child of God and was baptized into the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Throughout his life, his relationship with the Lord and his love for God’s Church grew more and more meaningful. Dad was an active church member, and served in many ways with enthusiasm and insight. All through his life, Dad recognized his desperate need of God’s grace and mercy, sought it earnestly, and experienced it in a very real way.
On July 9th, 1978, he married Donna Boehs in Goltry, Oklahoma. They shared a strong and loving relationship for over forty-two years. Their first 22 years were spent on the prairies near Neilburg, Saskatchewan, where five children were born to them. In 1999, they moved as a family to Colorado, and made their home in the San Luis Valley, where we have lived for over 20 years.
Dad was innovative and loved his work. For most of his career, he was involved in industrial and development projects. Dad had a knack for seeing value in used industrial equipment, and loved the interactions with the people he dealt with. He loved progress, projects, making deals, and was enthused to hear about new ventures that people were pursuing. He was particularly enthusiastic about working with his children and being involved with their livelihoods. He was interested in any topic and learned something from each person he came in contact with.
Dad’s primary purpose in life was to connect. Above all, he wanted to make a positive difference. He will be remembered as someone who loved “connecting at a heart level”. He took special interest in everyone he met, and even during a busy day, often his conversations turned real and personal. He was an avid traveler, and made lasting connections with people from all walks of life. He had the grace to love and accept every person regardless of their station in life, and was always supportive of the disadvantaged. With the talents and material resources he was given, Dad considered himself very blessed and was abundantly generous.
He was a wonderful dad and gave us all the tools needed for life. His greatest thrill was his children and grandchildren and his relationship with each of them. Evening devotions were important to him and meaningful to us. Even a few days before his passing, Dad gathered us in the same familiar way and led in prayer. Fatherhood was a special topic to him, and he was keenly interested in any father/child relationship. He was a true dad, not only to his own family but to many others as well.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife Donna; his children, Andrew & Angela, Trevor & Teresa, LaTayne & Verlyn, Robert & Shayla and Carson & Camilla; sixteen precious grandchildren; his father-in-law Robert Boehs; his siblings, Randy & Darlene Toews, Geneva & Doug Boehs, Andre Kuepfer, Eileen & Wes Schmidt and Bernie & Angie Toews; Edith & Queensly Enike were also like daughters to him. There are nieces, nephews, extended family and a host of friends and people whose lives he touched.