The Reston Recorder chose Brian and Sharon Zarn as August’s Senior Spotlight, as they are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
Brian was born July 9, 1947 to parents Elmer and Olga Zarn of Ewart, MB.
He was the youngest of their three sons. His older brother Ken resides in Brandon with his wife Helen. Donald passed away in 2005. When Brian was 5-years-old, his father passed away suddenly. He and his mother remained on the farm until Brian was 12-years-old and then moved to Reston. His older brothers took over the farming duties. A few years later his mother married Geordie Andrews.
Sharon was born March 24, 1946 to parents Cyril and Emma Hopkins of Pipestone, MB. Her only sibling Donna Cook resides in Pipestone.
Brian was employed with Francis Giles doing carpenter work and Sharon was teaching grade 1 at Reston School, after having graduated from Brandon University with her teaching certificate, when they began dating. They were married July 5, 1969 in Pipestone United Church. Their first home was on the William Sutcliffe farm southwest of Reston until 1972 when Brian, with family help, built their home 4 miles south of Pipestone on 83 Highway. They resided there and raised their 2 children. This past April they moved to Hometown Villas in Reston.
Their daughter Hollee married Ed Perreault and they have 2 children. Hollee is a teacher in the Brandon School Division. Ed is employed at Koch Fertilizer Canada Brandon. Their son Brady attends University of Manitoba and is enrolled in the Engineering Department. Breanne attends Vincent Massey High School and will be in Grade 11 this year.
Their son Kelly and family live in Forrest, MB. Kelly is employed at Koch Fertilizer Canada Brandon. His wife Ashley is employed at Rana Respiratory Care Group. Sons Kale and Hunter attend Forrest Elementary School in grades 3 and 1.
After working for Francis Giles Brian was self-employed doing carpenter work and cattle farming. In 1973 he began working at Stewart Lumber Melita. Then he was co-owner of Stewart’s Lumber Reston retiring after 26 years in 2007.
Sharon taught Grade 1 at Reston Elementary School for 9 years retiring to raise their family. She continued doing term positions and substituting until Brian told her “Remember the old ladies you had as substitutes, well that’s what you are now!” She also did the bookkeeping for Stewart’s Lumber.
They both quickly say they missed their co-workers and the people upon retiring. Many lifelong friendships continue to this day. Sharon is all smiles these days when she meets a former student that greets her with “You were my grade 1 teacher, Miss Hopkins”! Often Brian’s meeting up with people leads to a conversation about the windows, doors etc they bought at Stewart’s Lumber.
Brian and Sharon have been active volunteers for all their married life. Brian coached Kelly’s hockey and ball teams. He was often found playing music and announcing when Hollee was in Reston Figure Skating Club.
In earlier years, he was president, then treasurer of Pipestone Fun Days and a 4- H leader. He has served on the Reston and Area Foundation, RES Committee, United Church Search Committee and Property and Finance Board. At this time Brian is chairperson Pipestone Drop In, board member of Reston/Pipestone United Church Ministry and Personnel Committee, trustee of Pipestone United Church, member of Pipestone Cemetery committee and a contact person for burials, board member of the Age Friendly Committee. He is one of the drivers for RM of Pipestone Handivan and a driver for Wheels of Hope (Cancer Care). He volunteers often for maintenance duties at Pipestone Hall, Pipestone Drop In and Pipestone United Church. He has volunteered with his skid steer at various playground installations.
Sharon was active in the many organizations her children were involved in - 4 H leader, figure skating clubs in Pipestone and Reston, Pipestone Sunday School Superintendent, Vacation Bible School convenor. At present she is Chair of Pipestone Guild and Pipestone Fall Supper Committee, and member of Seniors Helping Hands Board.
They both feel giving back to your community is the most rewarding work one can do. In so many ways it becomes your social life and many friendships are made. The motto “many hands make light work” is so true when it comes to volunteering and being part of the community. As they age, they hope to have many more opportunities to be of service to others.
Travelling has never been important to them. They are much more interested in enjoying their family‘s sporting, and school functions. In summer they enjoy short camping trips. Brian enjoys gardening. He grew gladioli flowers on the farm, some years planting over 200 bulbs. The shelterbelt trees at their farm were tended with loving care since they were planted in 1972.
Brian and Sharon feel life has been good to them. They don’t know anything they would have changed except things they had no control over.
Brian and Sharon say: “Life has taught us to live one day at a time. Tomorrow is promised to no one”.
On July 6 of this year they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends at Pipestone Hall. In closing they say: “We are blessed”!