Farming Rural 21

Frank Crew

January 24, 1942 ~ January 13, 2022 (age 79)


Francis (Frank) William Crew The family and friends of Frank Crew are saddened to announce his passing on January 13, 2022 at the Brandon Regional Health Centre at the age of 79 years. Frank was born in Birtle Hospital to Ken and Ella(Pittendreigh) Crew from the Wattsview District on January 24,1942. Frank had twin sisters, Doreen(John)Platt deceased and Georgeen(Lawrence)Smith of Neepawa born June 30, 1945. Frank was raised on the family farm west of Birtle in the Wattsveiw District. He attended school at Oxford for 1 year with the rest of his education received in Birtle. A 3 year Commercial course served Frank well as he started his farming career with his parents. They ran a successful cow/calf and grain operation until 1968 when they decided to strictly grain farm. As Frank’s grain farm grew it became Fassie Fern Farm. in 2001, 3 generations later the family celebrated 100 years as a Century Farm. At the end of his career 12 1/2 quarters were farmed by Frank. In the spring of 2000 Frank decided to retire from farming and rented out his land to his neighbours. Since then parcels of land have been sold or donated to Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. The home quarter now belongs to Wade and Kristan Osudar and their young family. Frank met Olive Perrault in 1992 and together they enjoyed farm life accomplishing many projects around the yard. Frank could often be seen either dropping Olive at work or picking her up after. Most times either the dog or cat would be accompanying him on his trip to town. In 1996 Frank and Olive Perrault moved a beautiful RTM onto the site of the original farmhouse which they shared until the passing of Olive in 2010. During that time they enjoyed a large yard with acres of grass to cut, numerous flower beds, many trees and an abundance of wildlife. In 2007 Frank and Olive received the Manitoba Good Roads Association Best Farm Home Grounds award. Every fall Frank would ensure he had a supply of grain for the deer and sunflowers of the birds for winter. Other furry friends included Frank’s pet racoons, many outside cats, Sparky and Snowball the house cats, and Amber, the little tea cup poodle. Frank was a well known conservationist and a protector of animals. In 2014 he donated 385 acres to Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation showing how great his love for nature was. Frank had a great love for the land and for farm life. He always kept up with the latest in technology whether it was to do with his farm machinery, his computer or his love for photography. The Case dealership invited him to attend one of their tractor manufacturing sites in Demoine Iowa. Of course he was very excited to attend. His knowledge of welding and working with steel was amazing. Frank built many steel structures for himself and others in the community. The bigger the challenge or project the more fun Frank had doing it. Frank never met with a challenge that he couldn’t solve or make it even better than the original plan had been. Wood turning was another accomplishment done to perfection as only Frank could do. He loved working in his modern wood shop and created many wonderful items. Frank was very dedicated to community affairs from a very early age. Birtle and area were very fortunate to have such an active participant for many years serving on many boards in executive positions. This included Twin Valley Coop (25yrs), Manitoba Pool Elevators (5yrs), Birtle Community Hall (25yrs), Birtle Donors Choice (10yrs), Birtle Legion (14 yrs), Birtle & District Lions (life time member), Wheat City Lions (7yrs), Lions Village & Corner (14 yrs and founding member), Pioneer Lodge (2yrs), Birtle Drop-In Centre (5yrs), Snake Creek Wildlife Association (20yrs). Other volunteer positions he held included planning Centennial celebrations in 1967, 1970, 1984, volunteering for Community Access Television, Birdtail Country Museum, Birtle Baptist Church, Birtle Agricultural Society, and the Birtle Fire Department. Many long time friends were made through these associations. Frank received the Melvin Jones Award through Lions Club International. This award is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism. In 2019 he was awarded the Premier’s Individual Volunteer Award for Manitoba in recognition of his voluntarism. These awards speak to the kind of man Frank was. His “Mr. Fix It” talents benefited many facilities and individuals over the years. Frank was a dedicated volunteer and a great asset to anything he was a part of. When Frank wasn’t busy volunteering or farming during the winter snowmobiling with friends was a great way to have fun. Later his sled was traded in for a quad which added to his summer enjoyment along the Birdtail Valley. Frank really enjoyed attending the Pasture Picking and Westman Music Jams when he lived in Birtle and Brandon. He often had a carload of friends along with him. Eating out together after the music jam topped off an already great day filled with many laughs and good friends. The hip roof barn on the family farm, although no longer used for cattle, was put to good use. The roof was lowered turning it into a storage shed as well as a gathering place for many community functions such as Lions and Legion barbecues and many family reunions and birthdays. Hospitality shown by Frank was second to none. In 2013 Frank met May Culbertson from Brandon. A great friendship was struck up between them as they explored life together between Birtle and Brandon. In 2014 Frank and May purchased a condo in Brandon overlooking the Assiniboine Valley. Frank loved the view looking west at cropland and south to the city lights. In the evenings the deer, partridges, and rabbits would come for a visit. It wasn’t very long before Frank became involved in Seniors for Seniors and Wheat City Lions. Frank was a familiar face at Seniors for Seniors participating in weekly get togethers which included voluntering, meals, evening entertainment and bus trips. May always said they would go out and Frank would know more people than she did having lived in Brandon for many years. In 2017 Frank became aware of a young boy who died in 1914 buried in Crandall cemetery in an unmarked grave. Frank soon took steps along with his cousins to purchase a marker for his Uncle Edward Pittendreigh who died at such an early age. Frank’s thoughtfulness, generosity and caring ways will always be remembered. He had a giant heart and was a very loyal friend. Frank put others needs ahead of his own. He was very patient with everyone he met. Frank was unassuming and very curious to learn new ways. Frank is survived by his partner May Culbertson and her children (Alana, Judy(Perry), Andy(Shannon) and their children; his sister Georgeen(Lawrence) Smith and his nephews and nieces Kyle(Sherry) Smith Shoal Lake, Mryna(Jamie) Denbow Neepawa, Roxanna(Tyler) Jacobson Minnedosa; great nephews and nieces Torrin, Lara, Callan, Adrianna, Cole; Olive’s children Peter(Norma), Andrew”Daydee”, Louise. Frank is also survived by many cousins and long time friends Donna, Rodney, Raymond, Dwight, Gay, Ron, Brenda. The family would like to thank Gene and Deb Pielechaty for your friendship, love and support to Frank over the years. We will miss him! Many thanks to all the care givers that have helped Frank through his struggle. Frank and family are very appreciative of the care and compassion shown. Donations in memory of Frank can be made at CancerCare Manitoba, Manitoba Lung Association, or the Birtle Lion’s Club.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday May 28, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. in Birtle.

To send flowers to Frank's family, please visit our floral store.



Birtle Cemetery
Birtle, MB R0M 0C0

Funeral Service at a later date


CancerCare Manitoba
1160-675 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg MB R3E 0V9
Tel: 1-204-787-4143

Manitoba Lung Association
301 - 1 Wesley Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3C 4C6

Birtle Lion's Club
P.O. Box 363, Birtle MB R0M 0C0

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