The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2024 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.

Bryn Gordon Thiessen
1960 – 2024

Bryn Gordon Thiessen was born in 1960 to Clancy and Elsie of Rocky Mountain House, Alta. Two sisters, Gay and Cindy, preceded Bryn into the life of the Thiessen family ... but his older sisters struggled to contain their new little brother. Help arrived in the eventual addition of two more sisters into the mix: Bonita and Cori. Four girls to one Bryn, nearly balanced the equation; this forthright foursome of sisters worked hard to help buffer and shape him towards almost becoming a normal member of society.

Most of Bryn’s growing up years and adulthood centred around Sundre, Alta. High school held little interest for Bryn – except for the competition which won him “Mr. Legs” in 1975 … or perhaps the chance he was afforded to wear a Dale Evans dress on “Backwards Day” (the same dress he happily continued to wear to school for many days afterwards). Bryn stayed in high school only as long as he had to, departing when he could. His education then began in earnest – it was flavoured with gleanings and learnings from horses, cattle, dogs, auctions, wildies, rodeo clowning, music and the curious nature of mankind.

Drawing on a keen observation of God’s ways, creation, and the human condition, Bryn began to craft and share his ponderings through the surging popularity of Cowboy Poetry. His previous years of 4-H public speaking competitions served to help him hone unique communication qualities. He (mostly) made his points clearly and concisely. “Eight minutes,” he’d say. “If you can’t say what needs to be said in eight minutes, you shouldn’t be saying it.”

Bryn’s Creator also knit him together with a generous measure of insight and wit. These always found their way into his poetry and preaching. Bryn became a favourite at the Cowboy Poetry Gatherings and soon received invitations to participate across Canada and also deep into the U.S.

Then, there came Bonny. She has captured Bryn’s heart. Married close to 30 years, together they have nurtured, to adulthood, three kids who were also entwined in Bryn’s heart: Casey, Orin and Lane. Of late, Bonny and Bryn have been investing into grand-parenting their growing fleet of the next generation.

Even as Bryn’s failing physical health has brought greater and greater mobility challenges, still “Pops” would get down on the floor to play for hours with grandkids – or ride the roller coasters with them at Calaway Park – or tackle waterslides at a pool. Not only did Bryn play a big part in the shaping of this family to what they are today, they clearly shaped him. In fact, the entire outfit ... parents, siblings, bride, kids, grandkids, in-laws … stand together as a big part of the supportive force behind the wide and far-reaching swath that Bryn has made upon this earth.

He has served his Lord, as: family man, poet, author, preacher, pastor, teacher, columnist, speaker, rancher, horse-trainer, philosopher, travelling parson, challenged mechanic, creative fencer … and loyal friend. Bryn will be missed.

With his passing, Jan. 16, to be with his Lord and Saviour, there is a big hole here in the unfolding tapestry of Western Canada. His absence is felt by anyone who has ever chanced to know or encounter this individual (if you met him once you would find that you would have a “Bryn story”). He was one who remembered people and uplifted people. He was one who never quit a task … who thrived on adventure ... whose spirit is too big to fit any sort of category. He was one who dwelt upon this earth to simply give himself away .. .and who perhaps can only be explained in one way: Bryn is … well … “Bryn.”

There will be a memorial service on Jan. 27 at the Hillock Arena. This is located 2.5 miles west of the Bergen Church to RR 61, and then half a mile south to the second driveway on the west side (watch for signs). We look forward to seeing you all and there’s lots of room for everyone. The service will also be livestreamed; look for the link details later this week on cowboytrailchurch.com, bergenchurch.ca, or cowboycountrymagazine.com.