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After pastoring three Christian Reformed churches in the 1970s and ’80s, Tony Schweitzer ministered for 22 years at Hope Centre Ministries in Winnipeg, Man. Upon hearing of his death, the Centre posted these words on Facebook: “Tony extended a welcome to everyone he encountered with warmth and compassion. His passion for the inclusion of people with disabilities left an indelible mark on our community. Whether it was his hearty laugh, his genuine love for people, his skillful guitar playing, his enthusiastic bell directing, or his reliable van driving—Tony's presence was a source of joy and inspiration. But above all, he modelled the teachings of Jesus with unwavering faith.” Tony, 81, died unexpectedly in his sleep Feb. 25.

Born in the Netherlands, Tony immigrated with his family in 1951 to Edmonton, Alta. A graduate of Calvin College (now University) and Seminary, Tony was ordained in 1970, then pastored First Christian Reformed Church in Brandon, Man.; Duncan (B.C.) CRC; and Cornerstone CRC in Chilliwack, B.C. From 1986 to 2008, he served as home missionary (with CRC Home Missions, now part of Resonate Global Mission) at Hope Centre Ministries in Winnipeg.

From childhood through adulthood Tony was creative and athletically active. He renovated every house in which he and his wife lived, while also working on his dream of building a wooden sailboat using old church pews. He stayed fit by running, cycling, skiing, and hiking in the mountains.

After retirement in 2008, the Schweitzers continued to live in Winnipeg where Tony served several times as an interim pastor. At age 65, he cycled from Seattle to New York with the Sea to Sea Bicycle Tour that endeavors to break the cycle of poverty through education, awareness, and fundraising. He and his wife, Clara, also enjoyed other travels.

Tony is survived by Clara, four children and their spouses, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

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