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MINI-SKETCHES OF FRED AND VIOLA PAHL



FRED

Born: September 13, 1921, in Bessarabia (part of Roumania). Came to Canada in 1927, and his parents farmed in the Hanna and Lavoy areas in Alberta. In 1937, the family relocated to Chilliwack, British Columbia. Eleven children were born to my parents; four died in infancy. Seven lived to adult-hood: three boys and four girls. My parents had a strong faith in the Lord, and our whole family attended Sunday School and church.
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VIOLA

Born: September 13, 1925, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (This isn't a typo error - Fred and I were born on the same date and month!) My mother relocated to British Columbia when I was three months old. Unfortunately, alcoholism by my mother and common-law spouse made for a lot of unhappiness in my childhood years. I was an only child and an avid book reader. Until I was age twelve, we lived in apartments in Vancouver's East End. I attended nine different schools because of the many moves my parents made.



Finances were limited in the Pahl household, and they were unable to afford to send me to boarding school for high-school education. So I quit school and went to work on a farm and then to logging camps. I studied hard to get a Steam Engineer's certification, and I commenced a new avenue of work as a steam engineer at a dry-cleaning plant. Due to a unique kidney structure (described in our biography GOLD IN LIFE'S HOURGLASS), I was exempted from military duty.
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I attended a commercial high school but left my studies part-way through Grade 11. My home situation meant that there wasn't always sufficient funds for clothing, etc. At age fifteen, I started work as a counter clerk at a dry-cleaning plant. At age seventeen, I passed government exams and was accepted as a stenographer at Naval Head-quarters, Jericho Beach. Following the war, I worked as a secretary to the Vice-President of a prominent Pulp and Paper company.




FAITH AND MARRIAGE


Did you notice the interesting item in the previous columns -
both of us worked at a dry-cleaning plant, and that is where we met.
I was seventeen and Fred was twenty-one.

When I was fourteen, a church group was canvassing the district for potential Sunday School scholars. My girlfriend and I responded to the invitation. What a joy and comfort it was to know God's forgiveness and peace in the midst of a home with turmoil. I accepted the Lord as my Saviour and my goal was to be a missionary. On the other hand, Fred was raised in a home where he learned about the Lord. However, when we met, he had not made a personal decision to accept the Lord. I witnessed to him, and finally he came to our youth group. Not too many months went by, and he, too, made a decision to follow the Lord. We did not become romantically interested in each other until I was age twenty, and he was twenty-four. We discovered we both had the same goals in life, so we married and after four months of wedded bliss, we enrolled at Prairie Bible College for Bible training. Following two years of schooling, we were accepted as candidates to go to China upon the completion of our studies.



A TRAGIC DETOUR


In 1948, many children and young adults were stricken with paralytic polio. In August of that year, Fred was working on a construction job in Three Hills to earn money for our third year of schooling. I was seven months pregnant and doing very well, UNTIL… illness struck; the ability to walk left me… and the diagnosis was POLIO! I also lost a measure of breathing ability, so I was placed in an iron lung for several weeks - a horrific experience. Our son was born in October, but because we didn't have a family in Edmonton, he was taken to Chilliwack to be cared for by a loving Aunt and Uncle. We didn't see him for over six months. I spent a total of nine months in the hospital. Although I had been told I would never walk, I managed to take a few steps with crutches just before I left the hospital. For mobility, I use wheelchair or crutches. As I age, however, I use a wheelchair more often.



YEARS OF MINISTRY


Obviously, we could not go to China as missionaries. Instead, Fred accepted a call to a North American Baptist church in Hilda, Alberta, and that is where I went upon discharge from the hospital. Subsequently, we served at Olds, Alberta; various churches in the Edmonton, Alberta, area; and Springside, Saskatchewan. During these years, Fred worked for his degree in Education. Because ministry wages were low, I also worked from time to time: Secretary to various health officials in the Provincial Government and in the correspondence department of the Premier of the Province of Alberta (Peter Lougheed). Fred also taught in the Edmonton school system for a number of years, alongside his ministry work.

In 1977, we relocated to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, where Fred built two houses with fantastic ocean/mountain views. Although he retired from full-time ministry work, there were many opportunities for interim pastoral work. He also worked for a year as principal at a Christian school.

In 1981, he was asked to be Chaplain at Evergreen Baptist Home in White Rock, BC. We rented a small suite in the complex and commuted on days off to our Nanaimo home. Our daughter Susan looked after the Nanaimo house. Fred resigned from the chaplaincy in 1985, and we stayed in Nanaimo until 1989. By then, our son and his family returned to Canada and purchased a home in Richmond, BC. We felt that it would be wise to also live on the mainland, so we bought a house, and later, a condo in White Rock. We do a lot of programming for senior groups, and I play my electric Hawaiian steel guitar with a small instrumental ensemble at the Evergreen Baptist Home. We have a magnificent south-west corner condo from which we see glorious sunsets at any time of the year. We enjoy a measure of good health in spite of physical challenges, and thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us in the past years and in the present.



SUNSET VIEW FROM OUR CONDO
IN WHITE ROCK, BC



FAMILY


SON - GERHART PAHL: We have a good chuckle when I say to him, "Gerhart, you are the only family member who stayed with me day and night when I was in the iron lung!" Well, in spite of my paralysis, he came into the world a strong, healthy baby. He acquired his degree in Science and went to Cameroon, Africa, to serve as a short-term missionary. Following his assignment there, he went on to Micronesia under the Liebenzell Mission. His first assignment was as a Youth Director at a youth center in Yap, Micronesia. From there, he went to Palau to teach at a boys' school. Here, he met Penny - a Marshallese lady, also a teacher - and in July 1975, they were married. Fred and I, as well as Susan, went to their wedding. After a time, Gerhart and Penny relocated to Hawaii. Here he obtained his Master's degree in Business Administration. In 1985, they came to Canada. Gerhart is in the financial world, first as a pension plan investment consultant and then as an investment manager. They have four sons: as at the end of 2005, Christopher was 28; Wesley is 27; Lionel is 25; Neil is 21. They live in Richmond, BC.

DAUGHTER - SUSAN: Susan is two years younger than Gerhart. We adopted her when she was three months old. She obtained her B.Ed degree in education and taught school. She then went out to Japan as a short-term missionary. Her main duty was to teach English as a Second Language, and that was the start of her talent in this area. Following four years in Japan, Susan returned to Canada for a short time and worked for Malaspina College in Nanaimo. The college had an exchange program of teachers with a language institute in China, so Susan went to China for nearly two years. Home again - but the wanderlust bug had bitten her - so she went off to Australia to teach in a University for eleven years. When her job came to a close there, Susan went to Thailand for four years. She has her Master's degree in Education. Now she has returned to Canada and is living with us in White Rock. Her care and concern for her "elderly" parents is appreciated so much. In White Rock, private tutoring jobs in ESL are plentiful. As well, the White Rock Baptist Church sponsors an ESL program, which Susan co-ordinates.

Detailed stories behind the brief sketches above are given in my book
GOLD IN LIFE'S HOURGLASS.

Feel free to take a peek at Gerhart's website - www.pahl.ca -
to see his family pictures.



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