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Mennonite Brethren HeraldVolume 46, No. 03March 2007
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Deaths

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Deaths

Jannie (Jenny) Adriana Pieternella Onnink

Jannie (Jenny) Adriana Pieternella Onnink

Jenny Onnink died peacefully at home Dec. 21. She was born Sept. 2, 1920 in the Netherlands. Jenny was a loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt. She is mourned by Henk, her husband of 51 years; daughters Arina and Janneke; granddaughter Gabrielle; brothers and sisters-in-law. The celebration of life service was Dec. 30 at Ross Road Community Church, Abbotsford.

Herman Klassen

Herman Klassen

Herman Klassen died Jan. 6. He was born Mar. 17, 1920 in Gnadenheim, Siberia to Herman and Helena Klassen. The challenges of war, revolution, and illness encouraged the family to seek a way out of Siberia. After selling everything they had, they arrived in Canada in 1927 and settled on a farm in Clair, Sask. At 12, Herman quit school to help support the family after his father lost both legs in a train accident. At 14, Herman made his peace with God and trusted Christ as Saviour. He was baptized and attended a small Baptist fellowship in Quill Lake, Sask. In 1942, Herman’s family moved to Aldergrove, B.C. where they, along with other pioneer families, became members of East Aldergrove MB Church (now Ross Road Community Church). Herman married Helen Neufeld Nov. 18, 1945. They raised 6 children in the Mt. Lehman area, where a humble dairy operation provided for their material needs. Even after Helen’s death in Jan. 2000, Herman managed to remain living in the country for the rest of his life. His faith always remained intact.

Sylvester Dirks

Sylvester Dirks

Sylvester Dirks died Jan. 7. He was born in 1916 to Jacob B. and Susanna Dirks in Waldheim, Sask. At 13, he had a life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ, was baptized, and joined Salem Church. While attending Bethany Bible Institute, he fell in love with Matilda Epp and married her in 1941. They moved to B.C. and taught at Yarrow Bible School. Feeling the call to missionary service, Sylvester and Matilda enrolled in a linguistics course at Briercrest Bible Institute. In 1944, they went to Peru and were among the original core of Wycliffe workers in that country. With colleague Will Kindberg, Sylvester translated the New Testament into the Ashaninca language. In 1967, the family moved back to North America, where Sylvester served as pastor in several churches, including Dalmeny (Sask.) MB Church, Friedenstal Church (Lehigh, Kan.), and Nutana MB Church (Saskatoon). He then served 2 years in Cali, Colombia, returned to minister in Brooks, Alta., and retired in 1984 to Abbotsford, B.C. In retirement, Sylvester served with Kingdom Ventures, Partnership Evangelism, and Logos Ministries. After Matty’s death in 1997, Sylvester fell in love with and married Nelly Klassen. Predeceased by Nelly in 2002; Matilda; 1 infant daughter; 1 son; he is mourned by 2 sons; 5 daughters; 20 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 2 brothers; 2 sisters. The memorial service was Jan. 11 at Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C.

David Henry Falk

David Henry Falk

David Henry Falk died Jan. 1. He was born Oct. 2, 1917 in the southern region of Siberia, just days before the Bolshevik coup. Nine years later his family immigrated to Manitoba, where they lived until 1934. In Alexander, Man., David accepted Christ as the constant for the rest of his life. In the midst of the Depression, the family moved to Abbotsford, B.C. David was baptized in 1936 and joined South Abbotsford MB Church. In 1939, he went to Hepburn (Sask.) Bible School, where he met Helen Lepp, whom David called “the best girl God made for me.” They were married Oct. 11, 1940 and promptly moved back to Abbotsford. The highlights of David’s life were marriage, children, church membership, and singing in choirs, quartets, and octets. David is mourned by Helen; children Allen, Betty, Jerry, and David Jr.; 9 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren. The memorial service was Jan. 5 at Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford.

John Albert Rempel

John Albert Rempel

John Albert Rempel died Dec. 26 after a short battle with cancer. He was born Oct. 15, 1932 in Winkler, Man. to John and Anna Rempel. He accepted the Lord as his Saviour July 6, 1945 at a Bill Hoover Crusade, was baptized, and joined Winkler MB Church. The family moved to Minto, Man., where he joined Boissevain MB Church. John married Rosa Janzen Apr. 17, 1955. They farmed in Minto for 40 years. After retirement, John enjoyed helping on the neighbour’s farm and restoring tractors. He served on the Boissevain Hospital board, and was a member of the Wildlife Federation, Minto Co-op board, and Minto Drop-in Centre committee. John enjoyed hunting, fishing, quartet singing, western gospel music, working with the Boys’ Brigade program, and serving as a deacon in the church. John dearly loved his family and missed them, since most of them lived a distance away. Predeceased by 1 infant grandson; 1 brother-in-law; he is mourned by Rosa; daughters Yvonne (Ken) Giesbrecht, Arlene (Dick) Siemens, and Nancy (Gord) Braun; son Steve (Connie); 11 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; 1 brother; 2 sisters. The funeral was Dec. 30 at Boissevain MB Church.

Peter Plett

Peter Plett

Peter Plett died unexpectedly Dec. 5. He was born Jan. 18, 1919 in Rudnerweide, Ukraine to Peter and Helena Plett. The family immigrated to Canada Oct. 1925, settling in Hochfeld, Man. and later in Morden, Man. The Wilhelm Rempel family took them in, starting a friendship that has continued for 4 generations. Peter accepted the Lord as Saviour Jan. 1942, was baptized, and joined North End MB Church, Winnipeg. On Nov. 11, 1942, he married Sue Penner, moving to B.C. to do his conscientious objector service on a farm. In 1944, they moved back to Winnipeg. Peter had several different jobs, including the last one as product analyst at E.H. Price, where he worked for 20 years. In retirement, Peter enjoyed travelling, playing golf, and doing handyman jobs at home and for his children, including woodworking projects. Whatever Peter did, it was done well. He is mourned by Sue; son Carl; daughters Kathy and Ronalee (Jim) Janzen; 3 grandchildren; 2 sisters; 1 sister-in-law. The memorial service was Dec. 8 at Elmwood MB Church, Winnipeg.

Laura Schroeder

Laura Schroeder

Laura Schroeder died Jan. 2. She was born Apr. 15, 1920 in Main Centre, Sask. to Jacob and Lydia Wiebe. They were a loving, happy, musical, and hard-working family. Laura developed her gift of singing by crooning duets with her sister Martha or singing around the piano with her family in the evenings. She married Henry Schroeder July 16, 1942. They farmed until 1975, when they moved to Herbert, Sask. Laura enjoyed farm life; gardening, milking cows, and helping Henry where needed. She also loved people and was a wonderful hostess. After retirement, Laura worked at a local nursing home for almost 10 years. Her faith wasn’t something she talked about, but lived. Galatians 5:22–23 is underlined in her Bible. Predeceased by Henry; 2 brothers; 2 sisters; she is mourned by her children Doreen and Gerry (Norene); 3 grandchildren; 2 sisters; 1 brother. The memorial service was Jan. 10 at Herbert MB Church.

Jacob Wiens Kroeker

Jacob Wiens Kroeker

Jacob Wiens Kroeker died peacefully Jan. 12. He was born Dec. 9, 1922 in Spat, Crimea to Jacob and Anna Wiens. His father died of typhoid fever when Jake was 5 months. Following the remarriage of his mother to Peter Kroeker, the family immigrated to Canada, settling on a farm in Elm Creek, Man. At 16, Jacob gave his life to the Lord. Throughout life, he demonstrated deep appreciation for Scripture and a passionate love for its author. In 1947, Jacob married Kay Esau. Jake’s relationship with God led him into various forms of public church ministry. He was pastor of Elm Creek MB Church for 9 years, and he and Kay spent time working in the northern communities of Leaf Rapids and Snow Lake and at Simonhouse Bible Camp. Jake also served on various MB conference boards. He is remembered for his quiet wisdom and gentle kindness. He is mourned by his wife of 59 years, Kay; sons Edwin (Flo), Richard (Arna), Vern (Marguerite), Garth (Donna), and Glen (Heather); 14 grandchildren. The funeral was Jan. 16 at Elm Creek MB Church.

Elizabeth (Elsie) Klassen

Elizabeth (Elsie) Klassen

Elizabeth (Elsie) Klassen (nee Falk) died suddenly Dec. 26 with her husband at her side. She was born Nov. 8, 1919 and spent most of her childhood in the Altona, Man. area.  Elsie was active throughout life. She loved to cook and garden, and was a determined person. She farmed with her husband near Manitou, Man. for 61 years. Elsie had a strong faith in God, and church was important to her. She was involved in Manitou MB as a Sunday school teacher, deaconess, and friend. She also enjoyed the church family she found later in life at Winkler MB Church. Elsie had a sharp memory and family was very important to her. Predeceased by 4 brothers; 6 sisters; and followed in death by her husband George 6 days later; she is mourned by daughters Lynda and Elvira (Howard); sons Albert (Norma), George (Eileen), and Edwin (Shelley); 12 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; 3 sisters. The funeral was Dec. 29 at North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg.

Gerhard (George) Klassen

Gerhard (George) Klassen

Gerhard (George) Klassen died suddenly Jan. 1. He was born Nov. 18, 1915 in Podgornaya, Russia and immigrated to Canada in 1924. He spent most of his days in the Manitou, Man. area. George was active throughout life. Together with his wife Elsie, George farmed in the Manitou area for 61 years. He had a strong faith in God and was involved in the MB church as a deacon, Bible study leader, choir member, and friend.  He was a voice of reason in practical and financial matters. He was also committed to his community, Mennonite Central Committee, and people in need. He volunteered for the Red Cross and was coordinator of the Canadian Bible Society until retirement. His last three years were spent in Winkler, Man., where he was involved in local activities. Both George and Elsie retained their cognitive abilities, sense of humour, and enjoyment of people. George had a strong commitment to his wife. Their desire was to die together and they were blessed with the fruition of this request. Predeceased by Elsie 6 days earlier; 2 sisters; 3 brothers; he is mourned by sons Albert (Norma), George (Eileen), and Edwin (Shelley); daughters Lynda and Elvira (Howard); 12 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; 2 brothers. The funeral was Jan. 6 at North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg.

Wilma Martens

Wilma Martens

Wilma (nee Engel) died Jan. 12 at age 93. She was born May 31, 1913. Wilma married Otto Martens Apr. 9, 1944. In 1945, they bought a farm. They lived there until 1980 when they relocated to Herbert, Sask. In fall 2003, they moved into Heritage Manor. Wilma spent time at the Manor and then at the nursing home before she died. Predeceased by Otto; daughter Marnie Unger; 2 brothers; 1 sister; she is mourned by her son Brian (Sharon); son-in-law Harry Unger; 6 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 1 brother. The funeral was Jan. 18 at Parkside Memorial Funeral Chapel, Herbert, Sask.

Nina Willms

Nina Willms died Nov. 6. She was born Oct. 1, 1913 in Olchonatka, South Russia to George and Anna Rempel. The family immigrated to Canada in 1925. At 13, Nina became household manager for her father and brothers after her mother died. She worked as a domestic until her marriage to Henry Redekop in Main Centre, Sask. in 1936. When Henry died in 1962, Nina moved from the farm and became a dressmaker in Vancouver. She married John Neufeld in 1971; he died in 1973. Her marriage to George Willms in 1975 entailed a move to Brandon, Man. After George died in 1991, Nina relocated to Edmonton, Alta to be close to her family. She was actively involved in a number of MB churches and participated in MCC relief work. Nina used the changes and adversity in her life to develop adaptability and resilience. She is remembered for her faith, indomitable spirit, love of family and friends, creativity, baking, and sense of humour. Predeceased by 3 husbands; 3 siblings; 1 grandson; 3 stepsons; 1 step-grandchild; she is mourned by daughters Joyce (Henry) Klassen and Fran (Bob) Loewen; 5 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 1 brother. The memorial service was Nov. 18 at Lendrum MB Church, Edmonton.

Elizabeth Balzer

Elizabeth Balzer

Elizabeth Balzer died at home Dec. 25 after a long struggle with cancer. She was born May 21, 1923 in Neuhalbstadt, Russia. Turbulent, violent times marked her youth and early adulthood. She became a Christian in 1943. She married David Reimer, had a child, and became a widow in the period of 14 months. The flight from Ukraine during WWII took her to Holland, where she met David Balzer. They travelled to Paraguay, where they were married and Elizabeth was baptized. After 8 years, they joined Elizabeth’s brother in Vancouver. Elizabeth’s daily life revolved around family, church, and food. Sometimes all three would come together as she supervised the family in catering church weddings. David and Elizabeth served as deacons in most of the churches they attended, including 43rd Ave. MB and Fraserview in Vancouver, Yarrow (B.C.) MB, and Bakerview MB and Clearbrook MB in Abbotsford. Throughout the years, Elizabeth worked at a variety of jobs, many involving food. Her last was with MCC Supportive Care Services. Elizabeth leaves a legacy of service, love, and advice. She is mourned by David; children Louise Reimer, Connie (Walter) Rempel, Jake (Mary), David (Cheryl), Kathy (Greg) Hisdal, and Gerry (Connie); 20 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; 1 brother. The memorial service was Dec. 29 at Clearbrook MB Church.

Henry John Funk

Henry John Funk

Henry John Funk died Jan. 20. He was born May 29, 1924 in Memrik, Ukraine. His family was one of the last to escape the communist regime, immigrating via Germany to Canada in 1929, and settling in Yarrow, B.C. in 1933. At 15, Henry started work in the family feed mill. During the course of his working life he was involved in the operation of the feed business, as well as Funk’s Supermarket in Yarrow and Clearbrook. Henry married Hildegarde Kaethler in 1948. He had a zest for fastball, earning the name “The Amazing Funk.” Henry also enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, travelling the world with Hildegarde, and serving others. He took special delight in the pursuits and achievements of his grandchildren. His faith in Jesus was a constant in his life and sustained him until the end. Predeceased by 1 brother; he is mourned by Hildegarde; children Alfred (Devra), Evelyn Morin (Larry), and Ronald (Corrine); grandchildren; siblings. The memorial service was Jan. 25 at Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C.

John (Hans) Gortzen

John (Hans) Gortzen

John (Hans) Gortzen died Jan. 26. He was born Mar. 19, 1926 in Alexanderpol, Ukraine to Peter and Justina Gortzen. In July 1931, the family immigrated to Brazil. John spent his youth in Curitiba and was baptized on confession of his faith Dec. 7, 1947. He married Anna Penner Feb. 12, 1949. They lived in Bagé, Curitiba, and São Paolo, where John worked at several different jobs including wheat farming, dairy farming, and house parenting at the Mennonite Girls Home. In 1978, with their children and grandchildren already living in Vancouver, John and Anna followed them to Canada, where they learned a new language and adapted to new food and weather. After John’s retirement in 1990, they moved to Abbotsford, B.C., where John became a volunteer at the MCC Thrift Store. He enjoyed serving people and was a church usher from the age of 23. John and Anna readily opened their home to visitors. Predeceased by 1 sister, he is mourned by Anna; children Kathie (Ernesto) Berg and Wally (Waltrude); 5 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; 1 sister; 1 brother; his step-mother. The funeral was Feb. 2 at King Road MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C.

Mary Banman

Mary Banman

Mary Banman died Dec. 29 with family by her side. She was born Dec. 13, 1916 to Bernard and Elizabeth Wiebe near Plum Coulee, Man. She accepted Christ as Saviour in spring 1937. On Oct. 10, 1937 she married George Banman. They farmed near Plum Coulee until 1970. Following this, they moved to Plum Coulee and, in 1993, moved to Winkler, Man. Mary suffered a stroke in 2004. She is mourned by George; children Mary Anne (Harvey) Unrau and Rodney (Viola); 5 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; 1 brother. The funeral was Jan. 2 at Winkler (Man.) MB Church.

Kay Rempel

Kay Rempel

Kay Rempel died Jan. 25. She was born Dec. 25, 1918 to Johan and Katrina Derksen in Stavropohl, Ukraine. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1925, settling first in Saskatchewan and later moving to Yarrow, B.C. Kay accepted the Lord as Saviour in her teens and was baptized, joining Yarrow MB Church. Shortly afterwards she moved to Vancouver to work as a domestic. In July 1943, Kay married Waldo Rempel. Fraserview MB Church was their centre of activity for many years. In 1974, they moved to Richmond, B.C., where Waldo continued his home construction business. After Waldo’s death in 1996, Kay moved to Surrey, B.C., where she became an active member of the White Rock Baptist Church community. Kay enjoyed travelling, carpet bowling, singing, and weekly lunches with friends. Predeceased by Waldo; 1 sister; 2 brothers; she is mourned by children Carolyn (Ed) Jantzen, Loraine (Peter) Krahn, and Garry (Dianne); 7 grandchildren; 4 great-grandsons; 2 sisters; 3 brothers. The memorial service was Jan. 31 at White Rock (B.C.) Baptist Church.

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