Category Archives: Obituaries

Peter Klassen


Peter Klassen

Peter Klassen passed away with his family by his side at London Health Science Centre-Victora Campus, Ont., on Thursday, May 14, 2015, in his 72nd year.

He was the beloved husband of Sara (Wiebe) Klassen. He was the dear father of Annie Neufeld (Peter) of Vauxhall, Alberta; Johnny Klassen (Lisa) of Listowel; Justina Kornelsen (Norman) of Whitecourt, Alberta; Linda Wall(Dave) of Aylmer; Martha Bergen (Dave) of Aylmer; and Neil Klassen (Lisa) of Vauxhall, Alberta. He was the loving grandfather of Steven (Annie), Linda (Pete), Joanne (George), Elizabeth, Tina (Jake), Cornie (Lisa), Frank, Jennifer, Jenic, Diana, Rick, Rodney (Pearl), Leelan, Dalin, Jaron, Demea, Josh, Hallie;and great-grandfather of Austin, Emmett, Alyvia, Aiden, and Neil.

He was the brother to Hans (Agatha), Benjamin (Lisa), Tina Friesen (Jacob), Nettie Rempel (Cornelius), Helen Wall (Ben), Jacob (Helen), Susanna Banman (Frank). He was a brother-in-law to Susanna and Sara. He was also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

Peter was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on Aug. 10, 1943, son of the late Johan and Justina (Fehr) Klassen. He was predeceased by brothers Abram, Cornelius, and David. Peter worked at Imperial Tobacco and was a member of the Straffordville EMC. The funeral service was held at the Mount Salem Sommerfeld Mennonite Church on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, with Pastor Abe Berg officiating.

– His Family

Neil Klassen


Neil Klassen

Neil Klassen passed away peacefully with his wife, Margaret, by his side at London Health Science Centre-University Hospital, Ont., on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in his 62nd year.

Neil was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on Nov. 12, 1954, the son of the late David and Anna Klassen. He was the beloved husband of Margaret Klassen.

He was the loving father of Susanna Roberts (Chris) of Calgary, David Klassen(Karalyn Church) of London, Johnny Klassen (Angela) of Lambeth and Margaret Hill (Jeff) of Langton.

He was the proud grandfather of Sophia, Harper, Arianna, Brooke, Lucas, Sean, Mackenzie, and Alanna. He was the dear brother of Julius Klassen, Jake Klassen (Anna), George Klassen (Elizabeth), Abe Klassen (Susan), Helen Wall (Neil), and Henry Klassen (Maria). He was the brother-in-law of Katherine, Aaron, and Maria. Neil was survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a sister, Elizabeth, and brothers Johan, David, and Peter. Neil enjoyed his vegetable garden and cutting the grass.

The funeral service was held at the Bradley Street Church of God, Aylmer, Ont., on Saturday, March 26, 2016, with Pastor Abe Berg officiating.

– His Family

Rev. John K. Reimer (1919-2016): A Tribute

by Rev. Henry Klassen

Rev. John K. Reimer

Rev. John Reimer was born on Feb. 16, 1919, just after World War I and died on Nov. 3, 2016. Much of his life was spent in dedication to a successful ministry in the E. M. Conference. I had the privilege to learn to know him and to work with him in different stages in his life. In 1945 he married Leona Reimer who played a very important role in John’s ministries over the years.

My first memory of John was when he served with Western Gospel Mission in Saskatchewan from 1946–55. From time to time he would come to our church in Steinbach, where he was also a member, and report on his ministry. As a youth I recognized his passion for the work he did in the public schools, in evangelism, and in establishing churches. Many years later people in the community would still express appreciation for the Reimers’ ministry.

John graduated from Steinbach Bible Institute in 1943. He was one of the first young people from our church to go to Bible School. This pioneer spirit was also evident when he became the first church supported missionary with Western Gospel Mission.

In the early fifties EMC started to have church services in Winnipeg, especially for EMC people working and living in the city. This endeavour developed into an organized EMC church. John became the pastor of the Aberdeen Church in 1955. When I attended Teachers College in 1958–59, I was active in this church. John was an inspiring pastor with a vision for outreach in the poorer areas of the city. He encouraged his church to be involved in the church’s outreach known as Euclid Mission.

John’s interest and commitment to global missions was affirmed by his active participation on the EMC Board of Missions from 1959–64. We were sent to Belize as missionaries during this period. He was an encouraging member of the board. When the BOM decided to hire an executive secretary to do the administrative work, John was chosen to fill this new position. John did a remarkable job during the transition from board member to a hired administrator. In 1973 I was appointed John’s assistant. We had a respectful and good relationship.

I found John as Executive Secretary relating in a caring and thoughtful manner with missionaries. When he visited us in Belize in the Executive Secretary position his interest and support for our involvement was very evident to us. John contributed to the growth of EMC Missions during his term as Executive Secretary from 1969–1977.

John’s heart for missions was evident when he retired from pastoral ministry in Wymark EMC and volunteered to go to Paraguay to pastor a church. After the Reimers left, people in the church often talked about their valued ministry. As a senior he was also appreciated by the EMC missionaries serving in Paraguay.

In my involvement with John over the years I found him deeply committed to prayer and trust in the Lord for guidance and enablement. He was a man of passion for the Lord and His mission.

In his retirement John continued to serve the church as interim pastor at Anola, as a deacon in Steinbach EMC, and in other ministries. He was active in service of his Lord and Saviour as long as God gave him the strength. I am reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Tim. 4:7-8. These words could have been John’s testimony: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return.”

In offering this tribute, Rev. Henry Klassen brings a background of having served as a WGM worker, EMC missionary, Assistant Secretary (1972–77) and Executive Secretary (1977–2000).

Henry Nick Epp


Henry Nick Epp

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

Rev. John K. Reimer

1919 – 2016

Rev. John K. Reimer

Rev. John K. Reimer went to be with his Lord on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at the age of 97, at Steinbach Bethesda Hospital only a few miles from where his life began.

John was born on Feb. 18, 1919, to Isaac W and Margaretha (Kroeker) Reimer, the 11th of 17 children. His childhood and youth were spent working hard on the family farm. As a young man he dedicated his life to serving God and attended Steinbach Bible Institute in preparation for a lifetime of ministry.

John married Leona Reimer on Oct. 8, 1945. Together they served the Lord in various places in Canada as well as internationally.

John will be lovingly remembered by his children: David (Katharine) Reimer, Jonathan (Kalie) Reimer, Molly, Russell (Amber) Reimer, Emmett, Natalie (Scott) Reimer Anderson, Seth, Max; Lucille (Jim) Pfeifer, Dustin (Kaylee) Pfeifer, Camdyn, Rory, Megan (Jeff) Lundy, Lennon, Lincoln; Rod (Debbie) Reimer, Caleb, Josh and Jael; Arvella (Mike) Lucas, Matt and David Lucas; Jennifer Reimer, Ella, Huelwen, Bridget Hainsworth, Dylan Reimer. He is also survived by one sister, Elma Wiebe, of Lethbridge, Alta., and two sisters-in-law, Edna Reimer and Elsie Reimer.

John was predeceased by his beloved wife Leona and his son Samuel Wayne.

The family wishes to acknowledge the excellent care given to our dad by the staff at Cedarwood Apartments, his last place of residence. We wish to thank the medical staff at Steinbach Bethesda Hospital.

The viewing took place on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, at 7 p.m. with a devotional at 7:30 at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, Man. The funeral service was held on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Steinbach EMC with the interment at Heritage Cemetery, Steinbach, Man. Donations were gratefully accepted for the EMC Board of Missions.

– His Family

Melvin Barkman


Melvin Barkman

With great sadness, we announce the sudden passing of Melvin Barkman on Dec. 10, 2016. Melvin was born on July 16, 1944, to Jacob and Anna Barkman in Blumenort, Man. In 1952 the Barkman family moved to the Washow Bay area when he was eight years old.

As a child he attended school and helped on the family farm. Melvin was baptized in the Mennville EM Church as a young adult. He took on work doing road construction as a bulldozer operator in Northern Manitoba for several years. Wanting to settle down, Melvin returned to the Washow Bay area and purchased land to begin his farming career as a hog farmer and beekeeper.

On April 4, 1970, Melvin married the love of his life, Arlene Reimer. They made Mennville their home. He loved his life as a farmer and enjoyed his many trips to Winnipeg delivering hogs and barrels of honey. Melvin and Arlene welcomed five children into their family. As a proud father he spent many hours on the floor playing with his children and feeding them whipped cream and ice cream.

He set a good example to his family by working very hard. He ensured that each one of his children would have music lessons. Melvin loved babies and spoiled each and every one of his grandchildren. He had a special way of drawing them in and enjoyed their attention. He loved nothing more than having his family come visit him on the farm. He enjoyed giving skid steer rides and lawn tractor rides.

Melvin had a strong faith and was committed to his church at Mennville EMC. He served many years as a Mission Board Member and had a passion for Vacation Bible School in Grindstone. He supported his family as they spent many summers at Beaver Creek Bible Camp. He served God through supporting family and friends in his own quiet way. He remained a steady rock when his children walked through difficult journeys in their personal lives.

Melvin persevered through life challenges, including health and farming difficulties. In September 2016, Melvin and Arlene retired from the family farm. He continued to enjoy daily visits to the farm and helping out wherever needed right up to his last day.

Melvin is survived by his wife Arlene; daughter Bonnie (Wes), Katrina and Mikayla; son Brian (Tara), Gabrielle, Austin and Alysse; daughter Wendy (Arnold), Zachary, Annika, Kyanna and Averi; daughter Andrea (Phil), Jackson and Parker; son Dahlen (Coralee), Elizabeth and Zane; his brothers, Ben, Cornie and Jake; his sisters, Elma, Tina, Margaret, Anna and Orla and their families. He is predeceased by his parents Jacob and Anna, sister Adeline, and brothers Abe and Werner.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mennville EMC Missions program.

– His Family

Tina (Plett) Reimer

Editors’ Note: We have republished this obituary to guarantee its continued viewability. We thank the family for giving us this look into their loved one’s life. 


Tina Reimer

Peacefully, on Oct. 20, 2016, at the age of 92, our dear mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother passed from this life into her eternal home.

Mom was born on Sept. 24, 1924, the firstborn of Klaas R and Justina Plett. She was born and raised in the Steinbach area and had a close relationship with her four brothers and three sisters.

After completing grade 8, she attended a sewing class and always referred back to these lessons when sewing clothes for her 10 children and teaching us to sew. She accepted Jesus as her Saviour at an early age and was baptized upon the confession of her faith.

On Sept. 17, 1944, she married Henry R Reimer. They started their married life in Blumenhoff and eventually settled on a grain farm near Riverton, Man. Mom had a large garden and enjoyed raising chickens.

The farm was sold in 1994, just prior to Dad’s passing. After he passed, Mom moved to the Appledale apartments in Mennville and enjoyed 20 years there.

In Feb. 2016, Mom suffered from three heart attacks. At that time, all her children gathered around her, expecting that she would not make it out of the hospital. However, she rallied and was released from the hospital a few days later. After that, family members stayed with her every night, until she was able to move to assisted living in Arborg in May 2016, where she lived until her passing.

We remember Mom for her unconditional love, optimistic outlook on life, her prayers for her family and concern that they all live their life for Jesus. Mom’s radiant joy and inner peace came from having learned to trust God through all circumstances. She enjoyed spending time with people from all walks of life and everyone she met was touched by her sweet nature.

Left to mourn are her children, Mildred and Paul Harms, Klaas and Helen Reimer, Martha and Ray Dueck, Norma and Jim Ray, Florence Reimer, Jessie Reimer, Anne and Vern Kroeker, Esther and Kelvin Plett, Shirley and David Cavanagh; her grandchildren, Kim Bourrier, Ken Harms, Karyn Harms, Michael Harms, Krista and Steve Smith (Avery), Kurtis and Julie Reimer (Charlotte and Jackson), Chad and Michelle Reimer, Justin Dueck, Alayna Dueck, Karalee Dueck, Janine and David Dickson, Twylla and Arden Penner (Meritt and Maelle), Tyler and Chrystal Goertzen (Emma and Lily), Trenton Goertzen, Kevin Bacon, Allison Bacon, Michelle Bacon, Monique and Mark Josef, Dayna Kroeker, Nolan and Sophia Kroeker (Jacob), Jordan and Jesslyn Plett, Carson Plett, Kendra Plett, and Makayla Cavanagh. Mom was predeceased by her husband, Henry; children, Doris, Leona and Harold; grandchildren, Kristin, Jason and Renee Dueck; and two great-granddaughters, Mariah and Arielle Penner.

We would like to thank the staff at the Arborg Assisted Living for taking such good care of Mom during the last six months. Thank you to Friends Funeral Service for making the funeral arrangements.

– Her Family

Annie Brandt (nee Barkman)

Editors’ Note: We have republished this obituary to guarantee its continued viewability. We thank the family for giving us this look into their loved one’s life. 


Annie Brandt

God answered Mom’s prayer at 12:35 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 10, 2016, to be released from her suffering and enter her eternal home. The last six months or so had been filled with increasing pain. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer two months before her home-going. She was just a few weeks away from her 80th birthday.

Our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, “Annie” Anna Reimer Gertrude Barkman, was born on Sept. 5, 1936, to Peter JR and Gertrude Barkman in Hanover, near Steinbach, Man.

She was pre-deceased by her husband, our dad, Abe P.  Brandt; her granddaughter Katelyn Friesen, her father Peter JR Barkman, her mother Gertrude; her step-mother Anna; her sisters Mary, Margaret, and Minna; her brothers Peter and Albert; many brothers- and sisters-in-law; and two nephews.

Mom is survived by her children, Larry, Laureen, Stanley, Delbert, Gerald, Anita, Elaine, Julia. Sandra, Robert and Theresa; their spouses and children; her sisters, Helen, Kathy and Trudie; and brothers Frank and Abe.

Mom’s early childhood memories were of living on the farm in Blumenort with her parents and siblings. When Mom wrote her memoires, her first recorded significant life event was the death of her mother (when Mom was at the age of eight years) and the year that followed. She was grateful when her father remarried and she got her new mother.  She wrote, “I thank God for giving us such a good and loving mother.”

In the spring of 1952 she began her journey with God, believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of her sin and for her eternal life. She declared her faith in Jesus through baptism on June 1, 1952, in the Blumenort EM Church. Also, that summer the family moved to north of Riverton to start a new farm. Mom and Dad were married on July 21, 1956, at the Mennville EM Church north of Riverton. They started their own homestead in the area where they raised their 11 children.

Almost six years ago Mom lost Dad, her loving and faithful husband of 53 years, whom she missed very much. She was quite lonely these last few years, but held to the fact that she was never really alone as God had promised to “never leave or forsake her.” The only real work left for her now was to pray for her children and grandchildren, and pray she did.

– Her Family