We were saddened to learn that John Koop, our former colleague who served so well as EMC conference pastor from 1997-2000, struggled for a time with declining health and then passed away on Jan. 15, 2019. Continue reading Colleagues→
Martha was born on April 10, 1944, and grew up in Rosenort, Man. Her growing up and school years were spent in the same area. She was the seventh child of Peter and Anna Kroeker. Being part of a family of 12 she took pleasure in looking after her younger siblings, more so than doing household chores. The younger children of the family were fond of playing school with Martha as the teacher. Continue reading Obituary: Martha Kroeker→
Dad was born on Oct. 20, 1933, in Ste. Anne, Man., the first of 17 children born to Jacob and Gertrude Koop. He married Clara Fast on Sept. 12, 1954. They spent over 64 years together and had nine children: Marvin, Elaine, Audrey, Karen, Darrel, Lucille, Waldon, Sylvia, and Reynold.
Dad had fond memories of being a cheesemaker in Kleefeld and Grunthal. He told stories of working at a sawmill and in the bush. Dad worked at Schellenberg’s store prior to and while attending Steinbach Bible Institute. He felt a calling to be a pastor and had a passion for learning. It was during this time that their infant Karen passed away. Continue reading Obituary: Pastor John Koop→
Steven Derek Thiessen, aged 41, of Winnipeg, passed away with family at his side on Jan. 19, 2019, after a nine-month battle with bladder cancer. Steve is survived by his loving wife Fiona and their four children—Nadia (13), Ezra (11), Simon (9) and Ember (4). Steve is also survived by his parents Harold and Laura Thiessen, and brothers Chuck (Laura) and Kenton (Kira); his father-in-law Ron Plett; and siblings in law Danny, Ivan (Sherry), Janice Barrate (Lance).
Peacefully with his family by his side, Cornelius W. Friesen passed away on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach, Man., at the age of 76.
He will be forever missed by his wife Mary. Also left to cherish his memory are his children: Tom (Candace), Mark, Kathy, Mary Jane (Cory), Emilyn (Andrew) and Kurt (Liz); along with 11 grandchildren, Isaiah, Jade, Elijah, Julius, Luke, Jasmine, Titus, Ethan, Cameron, Owen and Jordon. Also, his siblings: Helen, Ed (Anne), Paul (Tina), Albert (Anne).
Almon Menno Reimer, of Steinbach, Man., passed away on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2017, in the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach.
Almon was predeceased by his wife, Annie Sawatzky Reimer; his brothers, Enoch Reimer, Rueben Reimer and Joel Reimer; five sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law. Almon is survived by his five children, Larry Reimer (Viola), Rebecca Kornelson (Gordon), Marlene Reimer (Jim), Verna Reitmeier (Bob), Julie Reimer Fehr (Matthew); 11 grandchildren; and 24 great-grand children. He is also survived by his sister Mary, brother Arnold, five sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law.
Almon, son of John C. and Maria Reimer, was born on Oct. 7, 1923 in Blumenhof, Man. Almon was baptised upon the confession of his faith in 1943. Almon and Annie, the daughter of Jacob A. and Helen Sawatzky of Steinbach, were married on August 12, 1945. The wedding was officiated by Peter D. Friesen at the Kleine Gemeinde Church that is now the Steinbach EMC.
Besides working at Plettville and the Brandt Foundry, Almon also had a long career working at Friesen Machine Works. Many farmers regretted the day when Almon finally retired from his job as machinist and welder after 44 years of service.
Almon, who was not one to sit back, after a few days of retirement went on to a 16-year period of volunteer service at the local MCC Thrift stores, fixing many bicycles and other objects for resale.
Almon served God quietly but wholeheartedly as a member of many church committees, singing in a group for shut-ins, as a leader in Christian Service Brigade, sand-bagging for various floods, as a MCC Relief Sale volunteer, and during one stint as a MDS volunteer repairing houses in Texas.
Almon’s children remember happy times of fishing trips, weiner roasts, almost yearly holidays at Clear Lake, road trips, and good family get-togethers. Almon and Annie felt privileged to travel coast to coast across Canada, to areas in the United States, Europe and Israel, where they “walked where Jesus walked.”
About ten years ago Dad was diagnosed with COPD. Almon’s life became progressively more difficult. The passing of his dear Annie in 2012 and the selling of the family home brought many changes to his life. He bravely made a new home at Parkview, enjoying the company of the other residents. On Dec. 3, 2017, Dad went into the hospital for the last time, being released from his suffering at 4:35 a.m. on Dec. 24. He was able to spend Christmas in Heaven.
Dad’s faith in God was always shown by his prayers, his godly living, his generosity and caring. He was a friend to all. Almon will always be an inspiration and example of how to live one’s faith.
Thank you also for the visits, prayers, and caring we experienced during the past few weeks.
The funeral service was held on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at 2 p.m., at the Steinbach EMC with interment at Heritage Cemetery in Steinbach.
Peacefully on Sunday, April 8, 2018, with family by his side, Ivan John Letkeman passed away at the Lions Prairie Manor at the age of 88 years.
He is survived by his wife Kay, three weeks and three days short of their 67th anniversary; his children, Stan (Janet), Bob (Wilma), Sandra (Randy), Kathy (Barry), and Debbie (Ellis); grandchildren Jason, Pam, Trevor, Dustin, Derek, Branda-Leigh, Nolan, Angela, Raymond, Kelly, Tanya and families; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by three sisters, Doreen, Eileen (John), Mary Anne (Henry), and sister-in-law Alma; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Henry and Maria, brothers Frank and Jake, sister Grace, and brother-in-law Johnny; and Dad’s in-laws, Aron and Anna Neustaeter.
Dad was born on March 23, 1930, south of Morden, Man., in the Mason school area where his family lived within the R.M. of Stanley. He was baptized on Aug. 14, 1961, at Morden Alliance Church.
Dad was a man of many talents. He was never afraid to tackle any job. He worked for a number of farmers and did carpentry work. Mom and Dad purchased their own farm and became dairy farmers.
In 1974 they sold their farm and moved to Portage la Prairie, Man. They purchased a truck camper and took a three-week vacation to Florida with their friends Dave and Lillian Sawatzky. That was the first of many camping adventures.
Dad was employed with Kroeker’s Vegetable Farm, Cobbes Plumbing and Heated, and retired from ICG in 1994. After Dad retired, he spent many hours working with Kelly Ronald on the Ronald Farms.
Dad and Mom loved to garden. Never a weed to be found! Their year was always immaculate. No blade of grass was left uncut and not a leaf was to be found on their lawn.
Camping and fishing with family and friends was a highlight in summer. Last June, Dad drove to Carman by himself (unannounced) to join our annual family camping weekend. We offered to drive him home, but Ivan had to do things his way and when he wanted.
Dad was never bored. He could be found tinkering in his shop or getting the sand point tuned up for the summer. He always had to have the greenest lawn and complain that he had to cut the grass again. And no one could cut the grass like Ivan.
Dad loved to go watch the children play ball, soccer, or go to band concerts. He had to know what they were doing and enjoyed visiting with them. Dad, along with Mom, volunteered for a number of years at MCC.
His funeral was held on April 13, 2018, at Portage Evangelical Church with Pastor Glenn Loewen officiating.
Thank you to the Regency Health Care for all the care you gave to Dad, to Portage General Hospital, and to the Lions Prairie Manor staff for providing good care for Dad during his short stay.
Judith Eileen (Judy) was born in Morris, Man., on Nov. 13, 1953, to Frank and Marge Kroeker. She received Christ as her Saviour at age five as a result of revival meetings. Most of her growing years were spent in Paraguay where her parents were missionaries. She was baptized upon her faith at age 16 in the EMC church in Lucero, East Paraguay.
She met David Schmidt there and they were married in 1972. Four children were born to them, two in Canada and two in Paraguay. They served as missionaries to the Guarani natives in Santa Teresa for 13 years, together with Anne Braun and Sara Loeppky, and were later joined by Doug and Sandra Doerksen.
They went through many difficult experiences both physically and spiritually. During an extended leave in Canada, they served as pastors of the Roseisle EMC. All these experiences served as preparation for the future HIV/AIDS ministry.
During the three and a half years doing church-planting in Pastoreo, they got to know Alicia. Because of family needs, they moved to Asuncion. Alicia’s AIDS diagnosis led them to start Alto Refugio, ministering to HIV/AIDS patients. The ministry grew and God provided the workers to continue the ministry to this day.
They retired from EMC Missions and began a new ministry for people living with HIV under Operation Mobilization (OM) in Ciudad del Este. After only nine months in this growing ministry called Conexion Vida, Judy was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. They left Ciudad del Este and the ministry to undergo treatment in Asunción and returned to Lucero in between treatments. Their passion for this ministry kept them praying for God to raise up workers to carry on the work in Ciudad del Este.
During her battle with pancreatic cancer, two of Judy’s dreams were fulfilled: they built their house in Lucero and they traveled to Canada to see her parents one more time. They prayed, believing that God would heal so they could keep on serving Him. He has the last word when it comes to complete healing, and He has never failed His children. His mercies have been new every morning; great is His faithfulness.
Right up to the end, it was obvious that Judy’s heart’s concern and desire was for the people she knew and loved to be saved and to meet them in heaven before Jesus Christ. She was released from tremendous suffering while in her home on Dec. 9, 2017. The funeral service took place in the Tres Palmas EMC in Paraguay on the following day.
Judy leaves to mourn: Dave, her husband for 46 years; her four children: Anton and Faith Schmidt, Marvin and Heidi Schmidt, Jerald and Daniela Schmidt, and Wendy and Samuel Avalos with their families; 15 grandchildren; her parents; five siblings and their families.
On Dec. 14, 2017, suddenly but peacefully at home, John Stoesz left to take possession of the home prepared for him in glory.
John was born on the farm, northeast of Niverville, Man., to Mary (Mika Schroeder) and David Stoesz on March 5, 1928. His parents predeceased him, as did his brother David Stoesz, his sister Anne and husband Peter Neufeld, his sister Katherine and husband Wally Pauls, and brother-in-law Neil Fast. He was also predeceased by his dear son Fred and a great-grandson Spencer.
John is survived by his beloved wife Ellen (Dueck) of 66 years, Fred’s wife Jolene (Klassen), daughter Marg and husband Kevin Wiebe, son Gerald and wife Kim (Bartel), daughter Linda and husband Mike Enns, and daughter Pat and husband Eric Boorman; 14 grandchildren and their spouses/partners; 13 great-grandchildren; sister Betty Fast, sister-in-law Mary Stoesz, Ellen’s family, and many friends.
He accepted the Lord on June 16, 1946, at age 18, and was baptized that same year and received into the fellowship of the Niverville MB Church. After finishing high school at MBCI in Winnipeg, he enrolled in Teachers College in Tuxedo. He taught elementary school for 13 years. The church very early gave him the opportunity to serve in the choir as well as in youth ministry and preaching.
In his heart he always hoped to spend some time in biblical studies. He believed, and often taught, that being a follower of Jesus meant a “lifetime of service.” After teaching at three schools (Linden, Arran, and Niverville), he left teaching and studied at MBBC and graduated with a theology degree in 1966. He was ordained into the pastoral ministry the same year and served the Kelowna MB Church for seven years, the Winkler MB Church for nine years, and then eleven years with the Braeside EMC in Winnipeg.
These were not easy years for the family as it meant several major moves, but Ellen and the children were always supportive and made the challenge much more pleasant. When he reached the age of 65 he retired because it said in the EMC Minister’s Manual that “Pastors should normally retire at age 65.” He retired because, as he put it, “I want to be normal!”
So what did he do in retirement? For 13 years he helped with a new church plant in Ste. Adolphe, doing much of the preaching and teaching along with a major renovation project. Also he followed his secondary inclination and took on the seniors’ ministry at Braeside, which soon developed into a choir that he named the “Keenagers” which he enjoyed immensely for a long time.
In 2011, already struggling with mobility issues, he was diagnosed with the beginning of Parkinson’s Disease. This “forced” him into retirement—at age 84. He had two guiding Bible verses that he lived by. As for the domestic things of life, he leaned on Matt. 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.”
As for his ministry, he held to Rev. 2:10: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” He had a special prayer: “No greater joy can I have than this, than to hear that my children follow the truth” (3 John 4).
John’s funeral was held on Dec. 19, 2017, at Braeside EMC with Pastor Kim Stoesz, his daughter-in-law, officiating.
– His Family
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference