ForeverMissed
Welcome to our memorial site for Walter Janzen. We have created this page to share our memories of Walter and in lieu of a formal Celebration of Life. Please feel free to leave a tribute at the bottom of the page and make sure to check out the "Life", "Gallery", & "Stories" tab. If you have a photo or video you would like to add as well, you may need to use the "stories" tab. We hope you enjoy this memorial of Walter and continue to visit it throughout the years to share thoughts or browse for your own desire. 

We plan to plant five trees through the services of "A Living Tribute" in a Vancouver park in representation of our family in Walter's name. We will be receiving the coordinates of these trees in due time where we can go visit them and remember Walter.

Background music include songs Linda and Walter would listen to often when they were young and other music that remind us of him. If the music is too distracting you can mute it at the top of the page. 

Obituary: 

Walter Frank Janzen: An engineer extraordinaire, handyman, athletic legend with a side of stubbornness. On Sunday July 5th, 2020, God reclaimed one of his brightest. Walter passed away peacefully with his family by his side at the age of 65. He faced his cancer battle with true grit. Walter was a loving husband to Linda and inspirational father to Matthew, Alexzandria, and Mikaela. Other family members include brothers Henry (Joan and niece Jennifer) and Peter (Jennifer and niece Katharina) and many other relatives. 
Walter was an exceptionally talented engineer. Solving problems was in his DNA. The harder the challenge the better. He obtained a B.A. Sc in engineering 1978 and later a M.A. Sc 1988 in Structural Engineering from UBC, where he left an impact by developing innovative programs to enhance the engineering design process.
Athletically, Walter excelled in track and field as a youth and had a lifelong passion for Volleyball. He was a part of the dynamic UBC men's volleyball team and helped them to a national title in 1976. He enjoyed life through extensive travel, woodworking, reading, sci-fi, and classical music. 
Walter had a strong work ethic and tremendous compassion for others. He would donate religiously to many organizations over the years. His deep spiritual connection with God allowed him to find peace and for that, we are forever grateful. We will miss him immensely. 
Rest in peace our dearest husband, father and friend. 
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Engineers Without Borders, Mennonite Central Committe, or Union Gospel Mission.
Posted by Frank Klassen on August 1, 2020
Dear Linda,

Even knowing of Walters situation and the dire situation he was in it came as a shock to hear of his passing. He was such a strong person. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to you and your family. Our prayers are with you as you move forward from here. May God bless.

Love

Barbara & Frank Klassen
Posted by Gary McKenzie on July 31, 2020
Walter and I would have both started Gladstone at about the same time. He in grade 8 and me in my first posting as a teacher. Walter was later in my Chemistry 11 and 12 classes. I was just learning my craft in those days and was inspired by students such as Walter who were talented, attentive, and patient in class. He inspired me to become a better teacher. I will always be grateful.

Gary McKenzie
Gladstone teacher
1967-2001
Posted by Sheryl Freeman on July 30, 2020
Dear Linda,
My thoughts have been with you throughout this struggle. Like so many of the posted tributes, I will long remember Walter's quiet determination in this battle. It does not surprise me that so many of us know so little about Walter's accomplishments. This is because when you are with Walter it is all about you - he asks how you are doing and he listens attentively. He is a superb host. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and in times to come,
Much love
Sheryl
Posted by Tony Costa on July 26, 2020
Once in high school I was poised to return a spike from Walter. He hit the ball so hard, it knocked me on my back side. A powerful sprinter and a really nice guy.

My condolences to Henry and Peter and to Walter's family may his Spirit always bring strength and peace.
Posted by Jeff Richards on July 24, 2020
Mikaela, Linda and family

In all the years Jacquelyn and Mikaela were volleyball team mates, Walter was the consummate 'volleyball dad' - always willing to explain the game to me, and to offer encouraging words and personal coaching to help Jacquelyn improve her game. She always appreciated that! We both did. He was a true gentleman.

He will be missed.

With condolences,

Jeff and Jacquelyn
Posted by Victoria Catto on July 24, 2020
Even though we were cousins I always thought of Walter as a brother as we were only 16months apart. As a child the highlight of my summer was always going to stay for a couple of weeks with Walter, his brothers and his mom. He was the same as a child as he was an adult very caring, compassionate, loved sports, always a little stubborn but we always had the best of times. Our favourite outing was to go to Little Mountain Park. These thoughts of our childhood keep flooding back into my mind and make me smile as they were happy times. The fight with this terrible disease showed the depth of his character, he was my hero.
From my family to Walter's family cherish all your great memories.
Love you All,
Vicky, Rick and Family
Posted by Paul Tomei on July 23, 2020
It was a pleasure to work with Walter and to get to know him. I first met Walter in 1990 while attending a day Seminar at UBC for Post Disaster Inspection of Buildings (Walter was the instructor). I learned a lot that day and the learning continued years later when I joined him at BPA. That is when I really got to know what a great structural engineer he was. 

Walter was a partner in the firm, demonstrated strong technical competency and was also a great mentor and teacher to our young engineers.  His years of experience showed and I was always amazed at his ability to conceive of sound structural solutions with almost no preparation. You could go to Walter with a complex undefined structural problem and he would have a detailed solution or White Paper prepared for you the very next day.

Walter was well know and respected within the structural engineering community and just today I was in a meeting where the project Architect mentioned him by name and thanked him for his contributions as the Engineer of Record for the new Corpus Christi Elementary School in Vancouver.

You can never replace a quality person, family man and engineer of Walter's caliber and he will be truly missed. I want to thank Walter and his family for all that he has done for both myself and our company.  He is an inspiration for all of us to follow. I'm sure that if it were possible, that Walter has already drafted up plans and submitted for permit application with building authority in Heaven to start his next project.

May you rest in peace and continue to help make the universe just a little bit better.

Respectfully,
Paul.
Posted by John Sherstobitoff on July 22, 2020
I am truly grateful for the long friendship I had with Walter as we journeyed through volleyball, engineering, and raising families. He truly was a great man, and it was a privilege and pleasure to have had him as a friend, a teammate, and an engineering colleague for over 40 years.

Walter and I first met at UBC Civil Engineering and graduated together in 1978. In addition to engineering we shared a love of volleyball and had many great times traveling and playing together, first at UBC then on Club and Masters teams. One of my favourite off-court memories is a celebration after Nationals that somehow involved a phone book. Who knew he was stronger than Superman! I’ll never forget his sheer joy and ear-to-ear grin while proving to us that he could tear a phone book in half! 

It was difficult to see such a wonderful guy have to face such difficult health challenges over the last few years. Not many people could maintain such a positive outlook with his diagnosis, but Walter did. Having known him for so long, this was not really a surprise. He demonstrated time and time again his can-do attitude, always meeting challenges with strength, courage, grace, resilience and perseverance. While he left us far too soon, he will remain an inspiration to all of us.

I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to see him one last time on July 1 along with several other UBC volleyball teammates. He was so full of energy sharing his athletic stories, yet so calm and at peace. 

I am really going to miss him. My heartfelt condolences to Linda, Matthew, Alex and Mikaela and the rest of his family.
Posted by Gina Green on July 22, 2020
Hi guys, we are all so sorry to hear about Walter! Such a hard time. We hope he is at peace now and you will soon smile about all your amazing memories. Thinking about you X0
the Greens
Posted by David Rollins on July 22, 2020
I first met Walter at Gladstone Secondary. Like Walter, I was also interested in science and mathematics and we shared many experiences in those classes. In particular, we were Chemistry 11 lab partners and we both survived Mr. Holt’s dreadful teaching of Geometry 10. My career path took me away from Vancouver so I didn’t to see him much but Tim kept him up to date. I admire his perseverance as he fought cancer in his later life. His positive outlook during adversity should be a model for all of us. David
Posted by Tim Loo on July 22, 2020
Walter and I go all the way back to Grade 1 and remained friends and colleagues throughout our lives. Walter lived two blocks from my house, and we attended McBride Elementary School. We were in the same class from Grade 1 to 7.  That’s me with Walter in the picture. In Grade 2 in Mrs. Hope’s class we were studying medieval history. Walter and I paired up for our project which was a medieval stock with holes for your head and hands. Walter and I spend many after school days building this stock. I remember every time I tried to cut or drill the wood for the stock, Walter wouldn’t let me touch it. He would redo my work and take over. We got an “A” for the project. That was just the start of our friendship and how we interacted over the 59 years I have known him. Of course, living in the same neighbourhood we went to the same high school at Gladstone. Walter of course was a jock but also one of the brains. All our classes were together and he excelled in Math and Sciences. Of course, I couldn’t touch him in P.E. as I was afraid he would knock me over. He was always the biggest and strongest kid in school. Walter was quite a fast runner and competed in the provincials. I think he came in 2nd in the province in the 100 m.  Twenty years later at a company picnic we had a challenge to see if I could beat him in the 100 m. Walter just edged me out but we came in far behind the 8 and 9 year olds. Walter and I both ended up at UBC in Civil Engineering, Walter being a year ahead of me. After university we again caught up as we both worked as Structural Engineers at Dominion Construction and then at Omicron. Walter and I have worked on many building projects together. As been the case throughout our lives, Walter would always redo my work and take over. What a team! Camping trips with Linda, Matthew, Mikaela and Alex and my family has been fun too. Guess who always built the fire.
Walter has had a great life. I’ll really miss him.
Posted by Rob Hill on July 22, 2020
Walter and I were teammates at UBC in the mid-80's. I was the youngest on the team; he was the oldest. Back then, I learned a lot from him about being a student athlete. Work hard, don't squander the opportunities that come your way (but have fun). Be patient - your time will come.

I ran into him January at the Team Canada Olympic qualifier. He proudly introduced me to his fine son, Matthew. We traded periodic emails after that. I always admired his strength of character which remained clear and present right to the end. Once again, I found myself learning important things about life from my old teammate. I'm fortunate to have known Walter.

My condolences to you, Linda, Matthew, Alexzandria and Mikaela.
Posted by Gordon Klassen on July 22, 2020
Spending time with Walter in consultants meetings, on site and at golf tournaments was always fun and even a joy! I loved his stories of his volleyball conquests. Walter was a creative engineer, but always designed with the boundaries, which was much appreciated. He will be greatly missed by myself and Robert Friesen, in our office at site lines.
Posted by Rene Rose on July 22, 2020
I am an old friend of Linda and Walter and my heart breaks for Linda, Matthew, Alex, Mikaela, all his family and friends. I will always remember Walter for his easy smile, endless energy and wonderful hugs.

I am proudly guilty to have played a key co-conspirator role in the match making of Linda and Walter at UBC back in 1980… Linda had “seen” Walter around the UBC gym playing volleyball and she thought he was pretty cool. She discovered he was going to be coaching the tryouts for a UBC Intramurals women’s Volleyball team, so Linda wanted to try out. She said she wouldn’t go to the tryouts alone, so she coerced me into going and participating with her. As a hopeless, non-volleyball player, I protested as It was abundantly clear I was a total misfit among the amazing caliber of women volleyball players in attendance, particularly Linda. Linda shone, captured Walters attention, and made the team! Walter was very kind when he cut me from the tryouts, albeit a little puzzled at what I was doing there in the first place. 

Walter was very shy and much to Linda’s chagrin he didn’t ask her out right after the tryouts. She was smitten. And Linda was determined, as only Linda can be, to get a date with this tall, handsome, quiet, wonderful Volleyball jock! So we created a dinner party event to be held at my apartment just so she could invite Walter. She asked him and he came! And so, the inspiring, wonderful Linda and Walter romance began and the rest is history.

They made a wonderful team. Their combined energy was second to none. They enjoyed so many incredible adventures together. I was always amazed at the places they traveled, the mountains they climbed, the trails they rode on their bikes, their abundant hikes, and how truly compatible they were. The stories they have to tell seem endless. And I know they were planning so many more. It is so unfair to have such an incredible life cut so short. 

Linda, I am here for you. You are an incredibly strong person, but I can’t imagine your sorrow. I know you will carry Walter with you forever in your heart, no matter where you go, what mountain you climb, or what adventure you’re on. He will always be remembered with a smile and with admiration. I only wish I had spent more time with both of you over the years, they just disappeared so fast! It makes me happy to know you have had 40 very full, busy, active, loving, chaotic, memorable years together and that you took good care of each other. You and Walter created 3 beautiful and talented children together and his love and wonderful attributes will live on within each of them. Walter was a rare gem and he will be missed. Sending you many hugs Your pal, Rene xoxo.
Posted by John Pao on July 21, 2020
I have worked with Walter for over 20 years.

Walter was an engineer’s engineer. He loved what he did, and solving engineering problems was in his DNA. He worked until the very end. Nothing stopped from doing what he loved. When he had he first cancer surgery, he came back to work immediately after so he wouldn’t let our clients and staff down.

The day after he had his tongue removed, he was texting the office to make sure that all his projects were looked after and RFI’s answered.

He couldn’t talk, but he came into the office anyway to solve design problems.

After he was told he couldn’t come to work, he was answering RFI’s and coaching the office on how to deal with issues while still taking full charge of his projects.

He was a deep thinker and addressed engineering problems like he did life, based on sound principles and high morels.

The structural engineering profession lost a true professional. There will never be another like Walter.

I didn’t hear from Walter for more than a week. Knowing Walter there must have been a reason why he wasn’t connected to the office. So, the news of his passing was not unexpected.

Walter, you had many admirers and all those who look up to your true professionalism and the way you live life. Everything you did was to the fullest, whether it’s structural engineering, raising your family, playing volleyball, traveling and cycling with Linda. I will miss the ability to come to you with a technical problem, then have you research all of the world’s available literature over night and come back to me with the best approach to the problem the next day. You are one of Vancouver‘s best!

Our condolences to Linda and their three outstanding children. We wish them all the best knowing that Walter is at peace now. I am sure that there are more buildings in heaven that Walter would like to design.

RIP Walter, you went out like you lived your life, never say never!
Posted by CAROL CLARK on July 19, 2020
We only met Walter and Linda once but we knew we liked them both very much! First impressions of Walter was that he was a very kind and caring Dad and a very gentle, man! I see echoes of him in Alex as we continue to welcome her into our Clarkclan here in Scotland! Definitely, taken from this world too soon! We send our love and care to all the Janzen family and extended families, but especially to Linda, who will find it hard going for some time but with the support of all around her, will learn to live a life without her soulmate. Love c x
Posted by Alex Janzen on July 18, 2020
Tribute from Keith Spurr:

"As the Father in Law to Walter it gives me great pride to read the many compliments written about Walter in the numerous cards of condolence received by the Janzen Family.

Having known Walter for over 40 years but living in Toronto and the Janzens in Vancouver gave me limited time to know Walter that well by only visiting Vancouver twice or more each year gave us little time together.

I am extremely proud of Walter's accomplishments as an expert engineer and his knowledge in the construction business.

In reading the condolence cards I have learned more about Walter's life than the time I have known him. I didn't know about his academic and team sport achievements. I am amazed at what a remarkable life he lived. That just shows how reserved and humble he was.

I am sure that his fatherly legacy will be carried on by his 3 children

In closing I am honoured that Walter asked me several years ago if he could call me "DAD" since his maternal Father left the home when Walter was a young boy."

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Frank Klassen on August 1, 2020
Dear Linda,

Even knowing of Walters situation and the dire situation he was in it came as a shock to hear of his passing. He was such a strong person. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to you and your family. Our prayers are with you as you move forward from here. May God bless.

Love

Barbara & Frank Klassen
Posted by Gary McKenzie on July 31, 2020
Walter and I would have both started Gladstone at about the same time. He in grade 8 and me in my first posting as a teacher. Walter was later in my Chemistry 11 and 12 classes. I was just learning my craft in those days and was inspired by students such as Walter who were talented, attentive, and patient in class. He inspired me to become a better teacher. I will always be grateful.

Gary McKenzie
Gladstone teacher
1967-2001
Posted by Sheryl Freeman on July 30, 2020
Dear Linda,
My thoughts have been with you throughout this struggle. Like so many of the posted tributes, I will long remember Walter's quiet determination in this battle. It does not surprise me that so many of us know so little about Walter's accomplishments. This is because when you are with Walter it is all about you - he asks how you are doing and he listens attentively. He is a superb host. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and in times to come,
Much love
Sheryl
his Life

Childhood

Walter Janzen was a loving husband, father and friend. Born in Vancouver, June 16 1955 to Russian immigrants Henry Janzen and Katharina Klassen. Brothers Henry and Peter followed two and six years later respectively. Walter's first language was German and was not introduced to English until kindergarten. While growing up, family and church were of prime importance. They spent many years with their extensive group of relatives. Walter's first job experience was picking rasberries at his Uncle Peter and Tante Marie's farm, and in his words, was harder than engineering.

Adolescence

Throughout his years, he breezed through elementary and high school. He was always proud of his accomplishments. Even when the teachers went on strike he took it upon himself to learn the curriculum independently. As he got older, he continued working at his uncle Ben's construction company, while his high school physics teacher inspired him to pursue a career in structural engineering. This is also when his volleyball career ignited. Along with volleyball, he was one of the top runners in BC, and played recreational badminton.

Young Adult

Walter got accepted to UBC in Structual Engineering. He was an extremely focused and committed student at UBC. His days were filled with his academics and playing volleyball for the UBC Men's Varsity Volleyball Team. He lived and breathed school, work and volleyball. 
Recent stories
Shared by John Goossen on July 30, 2020
Walter and I were born a month apart and grew up in the same church but not quite in the same neighbourhood so we didn’t go to school together. Our parents were both post WWII immigrants from Eastern Europe and our Moms were good friends. As families when we were younger we would visit periodically for the classic Sunday afternoon Faspa, and as a combined group of at least 6 boys would get into the usual shenanigans. Later Walter and I attended youth group and hung out at other times as well. Joan and I remember the fun and dancing at Walter and Linda’s wedding, and also the early family times as their children and ours attended Sunday School. After a while Walter and Linda moved to the other side of the water and we didn’t connect as much. But there is something about growing up with a similar background and having an early history with someone, that provides a connection that just seems to continue on as normal whenever you do meet. My two strongest impressions of Walter remain - that he was honest to the nth degree and that he was straightforward and said what he thought. A verse that always reminds of Walter is where Jesus says of Nathanael – ‘there is a man with no guile in him’. Joan and I wish all the best to Linda and the family as they continue on and cherish Walter’s memory and all he meant to them.
Shared by Ming To on July 24, 2020
I had the good fortune of being a first-hand witness of Walter's excellent work ethic, many years ago.
Upon hearing that he showed such dignity and grace in his personal battle against cancer, I have become convinced that if humanity can share in his spirit and work ethic, we can find cures and more effective and humane methods of treating cancer, much sooner. 
We will miss Walter. We should however remember that he helped show all of us the way forward, by example. 

My condolences to his family. 

Tribute from Matthew

Shared by Matthew Janzen on July 20, 2020

My dad was, and is, a significant part of my life. I was lucky to have him as a teacher and role model growing up. I will forever treasure our time playing volleyball and working on building projects together. He always had my back and was everlastingly supportive. In the end his greatest worry was leaving us behind. Following is a letter I wrote for him in his final days. I feel comfort in him knowing my words before he passed, as much went unsaid in our relationship.

Dad,

I wanted to write something down to try and organize the thoughts in my head.  First off, I want you to know I do not think just anyone could handle the last couple years the way you have. You have carried on with positivity and strength despite the challenges you have faced. In reference to the book you gave me I believe this to be a strong demonstration on top of countless others to live as an example to others. You apologize for leaving, but you should take comfort in knowing you have prepared us by your example. Provided memories that prevent you from truly leaving. You are a great dad to me and my sisters. You cannot stop being that. the only thing you are leaving is legacy. 

I hope you find this reassuring for your thoughts. I feel you know it already. For myself I find it alleviating writing it down.

Love Matthew      


I know a part of my dad lives on in myself and can only hope to live up to the great example he set for me.