Fonds PP - Isaac I. Friesen fonds

Glen Friesen and Dennis Bueckert Mother Friesen and Elsie Mothers Friesen and Funk and Family Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Funk Isaac I. and Elsie Friesen Isaac Friesen Elsie Friesen Elsie Friesen Lorne, Elaine, and Dennis Bueckert and Glen Friesen Glen Friesen and Lorne Bueckert at the Beach Lynnette and Dorothy Schroeder Roland, Annie and Blaine Funk The Funk Family At Jack Friesen's At Jack Friesen's
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Isaac I. Friesen fonds


  • 189-?, 1918-1995 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7.03 m of textual records
292 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Isaac Irwin (I.I.) Friesen (1900-1974) was born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan to Isaac P. and Katherine Friesen. He completed his early education at Rosthern Public School and the German English Academy. In 1917, he was baptized at Rosthern Mennonite Church by David Toews and also attended the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, California, where Dr. R. A. Torry was a strong influence on his life and faith.

Isaac I. Friesen and his father Isaac P. Friesen were both elected as lay ministers at the Eigenheim Mennonite Church in Saskatchewan in 1919. Isaac I. served as a minister in the Rosenorter Church for 17 years. He attended the Saskatchewan Provincial Normal School, graduating in 1921, following which he taught at the Scarpe Public School near Rosthern. He continued his education, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1927 and a Master of Education in 1934, both from the University of Saskatchewan. He taught at the German English Academy, the Laird High School, Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon, and Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba.

I.I. Friesen married Elsie Funk (1909-1995), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Funk of Drake, Saskatchewan, in 1937. He worked as chaplain at the Salem Deaconness Hospital in Oregon from 1939-1942, where he also directed the hospital radio program. In 1943, Isaac was called to continue the ministry of Reverend Benjamin Ewert at Bethel Mission Church in Winnipeg. He was ordained as an elder of Bethel Mission Church in 1945, and served as minister from 1943-1951.

Isaac's post-secondary teaching career began at Mennonite Brethren Bible College in 1944. He participated in the formation of the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and joined the teaching faculty when it opened in 1947. He taught at CMBC for 21 years and served as president for eight years.

Both teaching and ministry led Isaac into conference work. He was a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCMC) Board of Education from 1947-1956, he served as vice-president of the GCMC Executive Committee from 1956-1962, he was a member and chairman of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) Board of Education, and he served on the GCMC Commission for the Study of Scripture between 1961-1962.

Isaac continued to study throughout his adult life. He attended Dallas Theological Seminary (1936-1937), Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1937-1938, 1943) where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity, and Winona Lake School of Theology, where he earned a Master of Theology in 1956. During his CMBC years, he attended summer school at New York Biblical Seminary, Garrett Biblical Seminary, Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Union Theological Seminary in New York, Concordia Seminary and Luther Seminary. He pursued post-graduate studies at United Seminaries Toronto (1959-1960), London Bible College (1963-1964), and the University of Basel (1968-1971), where he earned a Doctor of Theology degree.

Upon their return from Switzerland, Isaac taught at Canadian Bible College in Regina from 1972-1973. He spent only his last year of life in retirement before his death on July 23, 1974. He died of a heart attack while speaking at CMC sessions in Steinbach, Manitoba. His wife Elsie died on July 24, 1995 in Winnipeg.

Archival history

The majority of the textual records were in the archives by June 1981. The rest of the textual records and all the photographs were deposited by David Schroeder between 1994 and 2001. A few photos were donated in 2002 by Annie Funk.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of eleven series reflecting the life of a Mennonite minister, teacher and administrator who spent most of his life working with the church and its institutions and programs. The series are:
-1. Pastoral work, 1937-1975
-2. Mennonite conferences, 1939-1973
-3. CMBC, 1945-1972
-4. Teaching notes and student assignments, 1945-1973
-5. Schools attended and student work, 1930-1972
-6. Topical files, 1938-1974
-7. Personal files, 1918-1974
-8. Elsie's personal files, 1918-1995
-9. Bethel Mennonite Church (Winnipeg), 1939-1974
-10. Sermon collection, 1939-1974
-11. Photograph collection, 189-?, 1926-1975.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

An initial list on the content was created by Dennis Stoesz.

Conditions of access and use area

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Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Small percentage of German.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

series description with an inventory file list

Uploaded finding aid

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