In Memory of

Eldon

Duane

Thiessen

Obituary for Eldon Duane Thiessen

Eldon Duane Thiessen was born to Dave and Margaret Thiessen on Feb 1st 1934, in Garden City Kansas. Margaret married Dave after his first wife Mary, who was Margaret’s sister, had died leaving two small children to be cared for. Two years later the family moved to Dallas, Oregon, where their last son Bob was born.
After Eldon graduated from Salem Academy Christian High School, he served in the Coast Guard for 2 years on the Vessel Storis which had its home port in Juno, Alaska. The Storis traveled through the Aleutians and all the way to Point Barrow. Because Eldon could type 60 words a minute, he was able to spend many of his watches in the ship’s office typing for the captain instead of being out in the cold. He was also the captain’s “talker”, which entailed relaying the captain’s orders to the rest of the ship. His job assignment always amazed his children as office skills were not his forte by the time they came along. He did develop the skill of letter writing when he undertook an intense year of writing back and forth to a young lady in Dallas, named Wanda Martens. (Apparently during that year, both Eldon and Wanda used up their lifetime quota of letter writing, as other family members can count on one hand the number of letters either of them wrote since that time.) They were married on July 20th, 1956 and had 3 children, Phil, Patti and Traci.
Eldon was self-employed as an auto mechanic at Dallas Automotive Service. He worked very hard getting the business established. His kids remember that he would come home for dinner, play with them, read them a Bible story and then return to work after they went to bed. He had many loyal customers because not only was he a great mechanic but he was scrupulously honest. He often witnessed to his customers and gave them his favorite tract.
Eldon was a MacGyver.
• He built his own jet boat, powered by the engine from his 1955 Chevrolet and a water jet unit that he built himself.
• He turned the rainiest camping trip into fun by building a “tarp city” under the trees to keep us dry.
• He built the best swings by using a precariously perched ladder in the bucket of a front-end loader to put the ropes high up into the trees so that the arc of the swing was REALLY long.
• His tree fort was a masterpiece, complete with a porch and a trapdoor in the floor that someone always had to sleep on or he would sneak up and scare the whole slumber party.

Eldon was happiest when he could bring happiness to others because he had a servant’s heart.

• He had a knack for quickly making friends.
• He really loved to water ski, but most of his time on the water was spent pulling other people, or teaching them to ski.
• When his grandkids were small and lived far away, he made quick friends when they came to visit by putting M&Ms in his shirt pocket so that they WANTED to be in his arms and quickly became comfortable there.
• He used his mechanic’s skills to help stranded motorists, usually managing to ask them if they knew the Lord or could he share a tract with them.
• He spent countless hours maintaining the furnace at the Dallas Mennonite Brethren Church and the Dallas Rest home. He served on the Dallas Rest Home Board for over 20 years. He also was the go-to guy to work on projects to fix what was broken and build what needed building. The Dallas Rest Home eventually became the Dallas Retirement Village.
After Eldon retired, Eldon and Wanda traveled and served the Lord with several Christian ministries including Wycliffe Bible Translators both in Dallas, TX and in Orlando, FL, and Haggai Institute in Hawaii. Both Eldon and Wanda worked hands-on in these ministries as well as enjoying beautiful scenery and great fellowship with believers from all around the world in the process. The family said with great sarcasm that Eldon and Wanda were “suffering for the Lord”
Eldon and Wanda were lifelong friends with Pete and Janis Wiebe. They worked with youth groups together, went on vacations together, and helped each other with building projects. When Pete died in 2016 and Wanda died in 2017 Eldon and Janis decided to finish this race together and were married in 2018. Eldon and Janis were a great comfort and encouragement to each other and the Thiessen family loved Janis immediately.
Eldon passed into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on January 25, 2024, just 1 week shy of his 90th birthday. Eldon is survived by his wife Janis Wiebe Thiessen, his children Phillip Thiessen, Patti Trent, Steve Trent (his son-in-law who he claimed as his own) and Traci Thiessen, 5 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Eldon lived a life of hope and joy and loved to share the reason for his hope. If he could speak to you now, he would urge you to get to know Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.