Walter George Kruse

1945-2017

Walter-Kruse
Walter Kruse

Walter George Kruse was born on Jan. 1, 1945, in Teulon, Man., to George and Helen (nee Dyck) Kruse. At home in Inwood they spoke German—until he started school in 1950, running at recess from the post-war playground bullies who did not appreciate his German ancestry. His mother’s Russian Mennonite faith did not encourage him to fight back.

In 1956 the family moved to Brandon to operate a restaurant for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and in 1960 was transferred to Moose Jaw, Sask. Walter and his younger brother Alfred rode the trains selling drinks and sandwiches. That fall he returned to Brandon for high school. Alfred urged him to attend a Crusade where he heard the good news about Jesus Christ and believed it.

In 1964 Walter dropped out of his mechanics course for several months of solo bicycle backpack travels across Europe, visiting his father’s family. The next year he attended Steinbach Bible Institute to make up for his high school deficiencies, and met EMCers for the first time.

In the fall of 1966 he was in Teachers College in Brandon when he met nursing student Anne Martens at a birthday party. He was baptized by the Kola EMC and they were married on Aug. 12, 1967. Children born to this union were David, Krista , Erika, Rolf, and Paul.

While working and being a husband and father, he continued to study at Brandon University, graduating in 1978. He did not use his education to belittle those who had less, but to enlarge their view of the world. He taught school in The Pas, Churchill, Kola, Virden, and Paraguay (Tres Palmas/Lucero, and Loma Plata) where he made friends and many memories for his students.

Walter also worked with his hands, helping his in-laws in agriculture and logging, and doing his own carpentry career. He built a house and cabins, signs, boxes, boomerangs, and toys. In mid-life he worked with a stone mason, and was in his 60s when he did “penance” for all the trees he had cut down as a young lumberjack: he joined a tree planting crew.

His hands were also artistic, writing letters in flowing script, communicating in sign-language, and playing musical instruments. He sang tunefully, learned Low German as an adult, and was known as a storyteller. Some of his stories were published in the waning months of his life.

Walter was a member of the EMC in Kola, but was also part of evangelical fellowships in Ridgewood, Virden, and Rosenort. Baptized as an infant in the United Church, raised Lutheran, awakened in the Alliance, discipled in the Salvation Army, “re”-baptized in the Evangelical Mennonite, embraced by the Baptists, and appreciative of the Anglicans, he was at once an orthodox churchman and a childlike realist, seeing the good and the beautiful in people.

Alongside a commitment to Anabaptist theology, he respected the military heritage of his ancestors. Though he read widely, he was simple in his theology: “I wanted to be honest with God; the Gospel just makes sense.” He was an encouragement to the faith of those with little left of their own.

In his last years Walter insisted he was neither suffering nor battling. Rather, after a long conversation with cancer, on May 6, 2017, the conversation was over. Jesus will have the last word.

– His Family

Ellen Plett

1921–2017

Ellen-Plett
Ellen Plett

Ellen Plett was born on Feb. 23, 1921, to Cornelius and Susanna Plett in what is now called Landmark, Man. She grew up in Landmark and on April 25, 1943, married John K. Plett, also of Landmark.

After many years of living on Dad’s family’s farm in the Landmark area, Mom and Dad made the big move to Treesbank, Man., in 1967.

Mom always had a big garden that always included lots of flowers. Besides having a big garden, taking tailgate lunches to Dad in the field, raising a family of seven that included two sets of twins, Mom loved to sew.

Though a very hard worker, Mom loved to go on trips that included going to Mexico, Banff, the Holy Land, United Arab Emirates, and the USA.

Mom accepted Jesus as her Saviour at an early age and openly declared this by getting baptized and becoming a member of the Prairie Rose Klein Gemeinde Church in Landmark and remained a loyal member of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference throughout her life.

Mom loved Jesus as her Lord and Saviour with her whole heart, and joyfully lived her life passing the love He had for her onto others. When the Brandon MCC Thrift Store opened, Mom was one of the founding volunteers. She taught Sunday School and taught Friendship Bible Coffees. When that was no longer possible for her, she gathered a group of her friends together on a regular basis to sing Gospel songs.

Mom and Dad farmed in the Treesbank area until their retirement from farming in 1987. They moved into a new house in Treesbank, but sadly were only able to enjoy living in it together less than a year. After Dad passed away in the fall of 1987, Mom continued to live in Treesbank for 10 years. When the yard work became too difficult, Mom moved into an apartment in Wawanesa. 

With her health deteriorating more and more, Mom bravely made more and more of the necessary downsizing moves, from her apartment to the Valley Lodge and then a few years later into the Wawanesa Personal Care Home. Thank you so much to the staff at the PCH for giving Mom such love and wonderful care.

On Wed., April 12, 2017, in the morning, Mom’s health took a very sudden downward turn and that evening while gazing up toward heaven she peacefully took her last breath.  Mom was 96. We are thankful that God granted Mom her wish of having a sound mind and being able to die peacefully with several of her children by her side.

Mom was predeceased by her husband John, her parents, four sisters, and two brothers.

With our hearts full of tears, but with joy in the knowledge that Mom is where she longed to be, we grieve and celebrate: Marian (Les) Plett, Shirley (Del) Friesen, Lillian (Ken) Weber, Luella (Leonard) Plett, Leroy (Sylvia) Plett, Eleanor (Rob) Reimer, and Eddie (Val) Plett, her 22 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, two sisters, one brother, and five sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law.

– Her Family