Jean Diehl

Obituary of Jean Diehl

Jean Elizabeth (Phillips) Diehl passed away peacefully on the early morning of Thursday, June 13, 2024 at age 91 years. She was born near Ninette on March 20, 1933 and lived there with her family for the first 18 years of her life.  She is predeceased by her parents, Ivan and Edith (Hunt) Philips and her aunt Pearl Phillips, as well as siblings Gary Phillips, Bernice Roberts (Herb) and Neil Phillips (Lorna).  She lost her husband Wilfred Diehl in 1994 and her friend Duane Heidelbaugh in 2024.

Jean was the last one of her generation on either side of the family. She had an indomitable spirit and did some incredible things in her life. She left the small town of Ninette to travel alone to Winnipeg to attend Normal School (Teachers College).  She taught in rural one-room school houses with no power or running water, getting to school early to light the stove for heat.  She met her future husband, Wilfred Diehl at a dance in a neighboring town. They were married in 1955 in Ninette.  She gave birth to and raised 5 children. The first four summers of her marriage were spent in a 26 ft. travel trailer pulled across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where she took care of 3 little boys as well as cooking for Wilf's work crew.  She kept house for and fed a family of 7, and planted and harvested a very large garden in the middle years.  She lived in Cypress River, Boissevain and finally Souris where she stayed for 60 years.  She was one of the original Board Members to get Hillcrest Museum up and running back in 1967. She supported her daughters in Guiding and continued to be active for many years. She had many "Hats" in Guiding, including Area Camping Advisor.  She decorated the community center every year for IODE New Year's town parties. She had great ideas!   As Wilf traveled for work, she was the main chauffer for the family, taking 5 children to events, clubs, lessons and sports for many years.
When her youngest was in grade 6 and wanted to be a crossing guard, she advocated for her to become one - even though she took the bus. Jean had them put the bus kids as the guards during the noon hour. She worked in homecare in Souris for a number of years. She enjoyed travel with Wilf; they went many places from Newfoundland to Alaska, Yellowstone to the Black hills in their motorhome.  She took a few trips with her sister Bernice to England to do research in family history.  She traveled with her daughter Alyxandra to Australia.
She pursued her artistic side after she was past 60, creating many works of art and experimenting in several mediums, even when her sight started to fail.  She was active in the Souris Art Club until her passing. In her mid/late 80's, despite being legally blind, she wrote and published a book using her research from England and her incredible memory, and she was working on another book on wood fired stove cooking when she passed. 

About 11 years ago, she tracked down a boy she went on 1 date with when she was 18 in Ninette, and ended up in a 10+ year relationship with him, spending half the year down in North Dakota on his farm, driving the skid-loader, taking him lunches or other things he would need while out with the cattle or in the field. She told her children it was the happiest time of her life, so we are glad she had so much happiness to remember these past few months, while she was back in Souris after Duane Heidelbaugh passed in January.
She always had lots of love for and enjoyed visits from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She also had lots of nieces, nephews and cousins that she enjoyed visiting with.  Jean had many friends in Souris that helped and supported her and made her time in town memorable. We already miss being able to talk to her about any topic, and ask her questions and listen to her stories about family, friends, and relatives.
Our Mum was very much loved and will be missed very much. She is survived by her children Doug (Liz (div.)), grandchild Kevin (Amanda), great-grandchildren Katelyn and Lucas, grandchild Philip; Duane (Nancy), grandchildren Alyssa (Derek Ginnell), Erin (Tyler Robbins), great-grandchildren Carson and Holland, grandchild Hayden; Kerry (Mahes), grandchild Aria; Marlene; and Alyxandra (Evan Tait), grandchild Drake.  She also had many nieces and nephews and their descendants.

There will be a Reception and Service for Jean at the St. Paul’s United Church Hall, 47 Fifth Ave. W., Souris, MB on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 2:00 p.m.  The family is performing a private interment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Paul’s United Church Door Restoration Fund, Box 899 47, Fifth Ave, Souris, MB, R0K 2C0.


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Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Saturday, July 13, 2024
St. Paul's United Church Hall
47 Fifth Ave. W.
Souris, Manitoba, Canada
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