Music 32

Howard/Wesley Chen

June 2, 1941 ~ November 18, 2019 (age 78)

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Howard/Wesley Chen was born in Tai-Chung Taiwan on June 2, 1941. He passed away peacefully on the afternoon of November 18, 2019. He leaves behind to mourn, his wife of 49 years, Anna Chen. As well as his children, Merrick (wife Stephanie and granddaughter Addisyn), Daphne, Clarissa (grandkids Gage and Sharla) and Justin. He was predeceased by his father in 1988 and mother in 2000 and his oldest brother in 2013.

Howard Chen was the youngest of three kids, he grew up on a farm in the middle of Taiwan. Like most families, even here in Canada, they did not have much money. As a young child he enjoyed playing outside.

Howard’s love for music started at the young age of 16. The story goes, at Christmas time, Howard and his friend were walking by a church and saw the church decorated in Christmas lights. In Taiwan, Christmas is not as big as it is here in Canada. Seeing this, Howard was very interested in what was going on. After seeing this, Howard started going to the church regularly. While in church, they noticed Howard had a talent for music and had him play the piano more and more regularly at services.

After attending school, Howard decided to go to Bible school in Taiwan. While in Bible school, he did some practical experience at a church. While at the church, an elderly man noticed Howard had an interest in studying abroad. Realizing none of his kids would further their education, this elderly man decided to help Howard make his dream a reality.

Given this unbelievable opportunity, Howard then started applying to schools in North America. He was turned down by many schools, but one decided to take a chance on him. A school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, MBBC,  so started Howard’s  journey to a new country.

In January of 1966, he decided to move to Canada, only having $25 in his pocket. His first food in the new county was a hotdog. Like every new citizen to Canada, he had to learn the language. Howard learned English while watching the classic tv show, “The Munsters”.

In August, 1966, he moved to Winnipeg to attend MBBC. One day in December, 1969, he met his soon to be wife Anna Hiebert. On October 10, 1970, Howard and Anne got married.

In August of 1972,  they moved to Portage La Prairie,  where Howard started teaching. As well in August, August 17 to be exact, their oldest of four children was born, Merrick. Then Daphne on December 8, 1973, 

Clarissa on January 4, 1977,  and finally Justin on April 26, 1981.

While teaching and raising four kids, he managed to obtain his PhD in music in 1982. At this time, Howard served on city council in Portage La Prairie from 1980 to 1989. If he was not busy enough, he started the senior citizens choir in the community.

For a span of 6 years, starting in the summer of 1982, he was able to see a bit of the world by teaching in different countries for a few weeks.

In August of 1993, they moved up to The Pas, where Howard and Anne still reside. Upon moving to The Pas, he started teaching at Joe A. Ross School, Opaskwayak Cree Nation. While teaching music at the school, he organized and started the band program.

In August, 2005, he had his first of two strokes. The second came on December,  of 2005. Taking the rest of the year off from teaching, he made the decision to officially retire from the public school system.

Over the last number of years, even though he stopped teaching in the public school system, he continued to teach music privately. He had continued to teach until he had passed away. Over the years, the number of students became less and less. As well as teaching, he enjoyed fishing. Even though his health was starting to decline, when he was in the community, he was recognized by many people. Former students, colleagues and friends.

No matter how old he was, Howard had a thirst for knowledge, as an example he learnt how to sign later in life.

Hearing some of the memories, it is an honour to call him our Dad. We didn’t realize how many people’s lives he touched and the effect he had on each of them.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Howard/Wesley Chen, please visit our floral store.


November 22, 2019

7:00 PM
Church of the Messiah
165 Riverside
Opaskwayak, MB R0B 2J0

Funeral Service
November 23, 2019

1:00 PM
Alliance Church


The Pas Health Complex Foundation Inc., Memorial Fund
Box 541, The Pas MB R9A 1K6

OCN Hamper Drive
Box 10880, Opaskwayak MB R0B 2J0

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