Help children grieve for their grandfather by finding teddy bears

Kelly and Dennis Schwab, with their grandchildren Jayde, Taya and Grayce Nickel. Submitted photo:

The passing of a much loved father and grandfather, Dennis Schwab, has left a family in Barriere not only grieving his loss, but remembering him with much love and positivity by connecting with their community in a uniquely loving and generous way.

“My dad passed in April 2018 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer,” Jen Schwab Nickle told the Star/Journal, “His greatest passion after restoring old cars, was his family. He loved being a Papa, and his loss has been profound for all our children. In honour of his passing, and in helping my kids process that loss, my step mom made a bunch of little teddy bears. My kids will be ‘hiding’ 20 of them around the Barriere community this weekend for people to find and take home.”

Nickel says her step mother Kelly is a seamstress, and hand making these teddy bears for the kids was a tangible way that she could help support the children on their ‘grief journey’.

“She and the girls decided that Papa would love to know he had brought joy to other kids, and it is a way to honour his memory as we recognize he’s been gone a whole year,” said Nickel. “He was an amazing man.”

The family is inviting area residents to keep their eyes open this weekend for one of these special bears that will be hidden within the community. They would especially appreciate seeing a photo of the finder with their special bear.

“If people find them I’d love to get photos of them with their bears,” said Nickel, “This feels like a really fun way to remember the good times. It’s been a hard year.”

The Star/Journal invites anyone who finds a bear to snap that special photo and post it in the comments of this story on the Barriere Star Journal Facebook site, or email to: news@star/ and we will make sure they are passed along to the Nickel family.


Jen Schwab Nickle reports that all of the 20 ‘Papa’ bears have been “found”, and each one of the bears is now bringing love and positivity to their new family.

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