Howard J. Stensrud, C.M. – 1927 to 2013
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Howard Stensrud.
Howard was born and raised on a farm near his hometown of Meacham, Sk. in 1927. The family moved to Saskatoon in 1944 when Howie was a teenager, giving him the opportunity to complete his high school education at Bedford Road Collegiate. Howie was a gifted track and field, baseball and hockey player throughout his youth. He played ball with a local firemen team and took an interest in firefighting as a career. At the time, servicemen returning from active wartime duty were the top recruits for these positions, and Howie was too young for service in WWII.
As a result, he took a summer position with Miner’s Construction, planning to wait to be recruited to the Fire Department. The next year he was offered a position in the fire department and took the required physical. However, Mr. Miners, Howie’s boss, did not want to lose a valued employee and offered him a raise that Howie accepted. In 1977 Howie purchased the company. Howie loved his work and continued working at Miners for 63 years. He worked everyday until just before his passing at the age of 85. He was an inspiration, a great mentor, a trusted advisor and a good friend.
Howie dedicated his life to creating and improving community based services for the physically and intellectually challenged and in the process created, as a founding board member, Cosmopolitan Industries and Kinsmen Elmwood Residences. Howie was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994 for the creation of the Sheltered Workshop Model and his lifelong dedication to the disabled community. The services for the disabled in Saskatchewan are some of the best in the world and this achievement occurred in no small part due to the leadership of Howie and the special people he helped to inspire to join this worthy effort. Howie counted among his heroes the men and women who joined him in the journey to improve the lives of those less fortunate. He helped many good people become even better people. His vision helped to define a kinder community and we will miss his guidance and determination. Howie was honoured to receive the Queen’s Diamond and Gold Metals, Saskatchewan Centennial Metal, Cornerstone of the Community and B’nai Brith awards.