Frank Wiebe Sawatzky: The Visionary Behind FWS

February 5, 2024

  At FWS, we owe our legacy to one extraordinary individual: Frank Wiebe Sawatzky. Frank’s story begins in a close-knit […]

Frank (left) and his wife (right) posing in front of the Pietenpol Air Camper, CF-ASP. Photo credits: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
Frank (left) and his wife (right) posing in front of the Pietenpol Air Camper, CF-ASP. Photo credits: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

 

At FWS, we owe our legacy to one extraordinary individual: Frank Wiebe Sawatzky. Frank’s story begins in a close-knit family of eleven, born to Agatha Wiebe and Franz “Frank” Sawatzky. Their roots can be traced back to South Russia, where his grandparents embarked on a new life in 1875, settling on a farm in the Rural Municipality of Hanover.  

 

A Humble Beginning 

 

Frank’s journey into the world of construction was far from conventional. His early endeavours included working as a trapper and contributing to harvest teams. He honed his carpentry skills while working alongside his father during this time. These skills would later lead him to become a general building contractor, laying the foundation for his entrepreneurial journey. 

 

The Birth Of A Legacy 

 

In the wake of the devastating flood of 1950, Frank played a pivotal role in the recovery efforts by working with the Flood Board. His determination and expertise culminated in establishing FW Sawatzky Ltd. in 1953. This modest beginning would evolve into what is now known as FWS, a company we proudly represent today. In 1960, Frank retired from the company, but his vision continues to guide us today. 

 

Taking to the Skies 

 

Frank’s passion extended beyond the business world. In a daring venture between 1931 and 1932, he and his acquaintances built a Pietenpol aircraft using a rebuilt Ford Model A engine. On May 2, 1932, pilot Frank Brown took flight in this remarkable creation. Frank’s love for aviation led him to become Steinbach’s first licensed pilot in 1933. 

 

A Life Well-Lived 

 

In 1932, Frank married Anne Friesen, and they had three daughters and a son. Frank remained deeply rooted in his faith, being an active member of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church in Steinbach and co-founding the Christian Fellowship Chapel in Winnipeg. 

 

Even in retirement, Frank continued to express his creativity and craftsmanship by crafting hand-made furniture and clocks, leaving cherished pieces for friends and family to enjoy. 

 

On May 17, 1999, Frank Wiebe Sawatzky left this world, leaving behind a legacy that thrives through FWS. He rests in peace at the Steinbach Memorial Cemetery, forever remembered for his pioneering spirit, unwavering dedication and adventurous heart. 

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