Mary Goertz Wiebe was born to Isaac and Sara Thiessen Goertz on Friday, May 28, 1926, in Alexanderpol close to the Memrik District in Russia. Mary was their second child and oldest daughter, named after her paternal grandmother, Maria Born. She came to Canada with her family via Germany on June 21, 1930, aboard the ship B. M. S. Montclare. Due to language barriers during the stressful immigration process her birth date was inadvertently changed to June 26, 1926, the date she has used ever since. This little inconsistency in dates meant she lost one month of Canada Pension payments.
The Goertz family settled in the Arnaud district of Manitoba except for the 4 years from 1934-1938 when they lived on a rented farm in Carlowrie. Mother attended the Empress, Carlowrie, and Arnaud schools until 1943 and graduated in 1945 from Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, MB.
She next completed 6 weeks of Normal School or teacher training and taught at a one room school 1945-46. The summer of 1947 she worked in the office of the Boese Canning Factory in St. Catharines, Ontario, an adventure for a prairie girl. Also, in the mid 1940s she enrolled in a 6-week seamstress course in Steinbach, together with her second Cousin Sara Wiebe Thiessen. Thus began a lifetime of sewing projects for four generations of family, everything from wedding and graduation attire, to baby layette bundles for charity and grain sample bags.
In October 1950 her engagement to Henry Wiebe, a farmer and electrician from Manitou, was announced. She took a position at the Canadian Wheat Board in Winnipeg the following spring to help with the expenses of a wedding and establishing a new home. Our parents were married on June 2, 1951, listed as Heinrich Wiebe and Mariechen Goertz in the Arnaud church register.
Many new challenges awaited our mother during her married life at Manitou. Since hydro had not come to the farm in 1951she learned how to store her butter and eggs in the well and retrieve them later without loosing any. Baking was done that first summer on a wood stove. She mastered the art of making a chiffon cake and could even make one with turkey eggs during the brief time turkeys were raised on the family farm. Mixing was done with a manual hand beater until her much prized Kitchen Aid became her favourite appliance into her nineties. Remodelling the turn of the century farm house, creating a new house in the 1960’s and tending large gardens, plus the needs of 6 children kept her occupied from early until late. Somehow, she still found time to take a typing course so she could handle farm correspondence.
Numerous trips to BC to see family were always a welcome break from duties. Cycling the farm roads with her bicycle, an anniversary present after 25 years of marriage, golfing and cross-country skiing were other enjoyable pastimes.
She had been baptized and joined the Arnaud Mennonite Brethren Church on July 20, 1944, but it was in Manitou that her church participation was most noteworthy. She assisted in making quilts for charity, acted in church dramas, recited poetry, taught in Sunday school and girls’ club, sang in the choir, worked with food services and devoted time to keeping church records.
In the fall of 1999, our parents retired to Winnipeg and began an association with Westwood Community Church. Our mother continued to enjoy hosting family and friends, tending her flower garden and volunteering at Lindenwood Manor. In June of 2016 she celebrated her 90 years of life as well as 65 years of marriage. She cared for her husband until he passed in August 2016. By summer 2018 Mom knew it was time to make another change and became a resident of Lindenwood Manor. There she enjoyed volunteering by watering the plants, in addition to organized outings. Becoming a great grandmother to Immy was a special highlight of 2021.
Mom survived the polio epidemic of the 1950s and the pandemic of 2020-21. She learned responsibility early in life, carrying the family kettle onto the ship as a four-year-old and minding the family cow as a preschooler. Hard work was no stranger to her as she milked cows on her parent’s farm and helped with harvesting. Walking the canola fields, spotting weeds was always considered a challenge. Cycling for charity was a thrill. She was also skilled in the fine arts of knitting, embroidery, crocheting and other creative endeavours. She chose simpler projects in later years due to declining vision. She remembered details until just recently and could reflect on walking the deck of the ship with her father and brother Isaac when they immigrated and remembered her first car ride from the CP train station in Winnipeg to her first dinner in Manitoba. We were blessed with a gifted and devoted mother and grandmother. After a brief struggle with cancer after 95 astonishing years Mary entered into her well-deserved eternal rest on July 25, 2021, at Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Left to treasure her memory are 3 sons and 3 daughters. Edith (Bert), Gerald (Verna), Doris, Ken (Marg), Alvin (Connie), and Cheryl (Don). Two grandchildren Jeremy (Veronica) with great granddaughter Imke and Delaney (Job). Also, one sister Nitha Goertz, one sister- in- law Frieda Goertz and numerous extended family and friends. Predeceased by husband Henry 2016.
Special thanks to the many medical personnel who cared for our mother and also to the staff and residents of Lindenwood Manor who provided a supportive environment during her last years.
An outdoor Funeral Service will be held at Sage Creek Cemetery, formerly Mennonite Memorial Gardens, by invite for family and close friends on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. Direction to cemetery: take Symington Road, exit North off South Perimeter Highway. Bring lawn chairs and umbrellas.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Mary E Wiebe Sunday July 25th 2021..
Décès pour la Ville: Winnipeg, Province: Manitoba