After a courageous battle with cancer, Henry Nick Epp of Portage la Prairie, Man., went to his eternal home with Jesus on Nov. 15, 2016. He was born on Aug. 23, 1936, in the Portage hospital to Henry and Helen Epp, the fifth of six children.
He grew up on the mixed family farm, nine miles south of Newton in the Wingham area, with his four older sisters and one younger brother. There was a sign at the end of the driveway that said “Honey fo
r Sale,” which prompted teasing from his classmates asking, “Which honey is for sale?”
After graduating from high school, Henry attended Winkler Bible School for a year. This led to an opportunity to work with MCC’s summer relief program at the Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage. After his summer of volunteer service, the MDC asked him to stay on and he took Psychiatric Nurse’s training, graduating in 1959. After 35 years of service, he retired in 1991.
Henry met the love of his life, Catherine Thiessen, while working at the MDC. They were married on Oct. 8, 1960, and enjoyed 56 years together. Their two daughters, Denise and Sharon, eventually brought in two sons-in-law and then six grandchildren.
Family was very important to Henry. He loved spending time with each member—family holidays, trips to the zoo, hiking, motor home camping, and visiting the Klassen farm were favourite ways of doing so.
Henry grew up and was baptized in the Newton Mennonite Brethren Church. After marriage, Henry and Cathy attended Westview MB Church. Since 1979 they were active in the Portage Evangelical Church.
Retirement brought a renewed commitment to Henry’s walk with God. He spent much time in daily prayer and Bible reading, and loved talking to people about Jesus.
Henry will be remembered for his teasing, generosity, determination, and exemplary work ethic. Sideline jobs included farm labour, a school bus route, carpet laying, and volunteering at the Portage MCC Thrift Shop.
Interests included snowmobiling, five-mile walks, garden and yard work, table games, and coffee with his retired friends. His lawn was the best in town—cut twice a week in different directions.
In September 2014, Henry was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and given three months to live. We are grateful for the two-year extension of his life, and for the wonderful care received during his last months of life. He often said he wasn’t afraid to die and wanted to go to his heavenly home.
Henry was predeceased by his parents, Henry and Helen Epp; his sister and brother-in-law, Anne and Fred Friesen; his brother-in-law Art Klassen; and his grandson Andrew Klassen.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife Cathy, children and grandchildren, Denise (Nika) Klassen with (Maggie Kent-Klassen), Jon (Lynette), and Neil; Sharon (Les) Kroeker with Scott (Brittany), Jessica (Jamie) Fox, and Kenton. Also cherishing his memory are his sisters, Rita Klassen, Helen Friesen, and Mitzie (Ernest) Quapp; his brother Abe (Sally) Epp; and his extended family.
– His Family