In Memory of





Obituary for Helen Irma Bergen (Fast)

On August 30, 2023, our mom, Helen (Fast) Hildebrand/Bergen, died peacefully in the presence
of family just as the sun was rising.

Mom was born on November 15, 1939, in a farmhouse one mile west of Boissevain. She was
the fourth of five children born to John and Mary Fast. She excelled in school, her favourite
subject being arithmetic. Mom enjoyed her high school years at Mennonite Collegiate Institute
where she made lifelong friends before attending Normal School in Winnipeg. Her first teaching
job was at Ninga in a one room school.

Mom began dating Hugo Hildebrand in 1956, and they were married four years later. Life
became busy when Rick, Mandy, Marla, and Melanie filled their Winnipeg home in the next six
years. Much of their time was spent at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church where they formed
friendships and community. Mom volunteered in various capacities at church, including Sunday
School, women’s groups, and deacon work. She also enjoyed interactions she had while
volunteering at MCC Thrift and Ten Thousand Villages stores.

Yearly camping trips were a highlight and the family gathered regularly with “the gang” to
celebrate their birthdays. In 1983, when Hugo passed, Mom’s faith and church community gave
her courage and strength, which Mom reflected on in her journal writing. During this time, she
continued to immerse herself in church life and began singing in the Faith and Life choir. Mom
worked at the University of Winnipeg in the General Office, and spent free time attending many
baseball, basketball, and volleyball games played by her children and grandchildren.

In 1999, mom married Ben Bergen. Together they enjoyed travelling and making music, mom on
the keyboard and Ben on the mandolin. Their Sommerville home is remembered fondly by all of
the grandchildren. Mexican Train and Yahtzee were favourite games played around the dining
room table after dinner, a table that then quieted each morning for reflections guided by My
Daily Bread booklets. One way mom showed her love was through food, delighting in the
preparation of rollkuchen or dozens of vereneki made for annual Camp Moose Lake gatherings.
These gatherings provided space for their newly blended family to get to know each other and
create memories together.

After Ben passed away in 2014, life shifted significantly for mom. As when Hugo died, mom
faced her new life with resolve and strength, while tending to a fragile and lonely spirit. During
difficult times, mom would find solace in her bible and confidence in God’s care.

Mom was an avid reader, easy going in social situations and maintained connections with
friends. She always listened more than she gave advice. Mom set high expectations for us all,
yet always accepted the decisions and choices we made along the way. She taught us to be
honest, loyal, caring, hardworking, resourceful, and forgiving. Mom included each of her family
members by name, as long as she was able, in daily prayer.

In the last years mom lived with dementia, and the subsequent mental and physical decline.
She grew quieter with each passing month, but songs and stories shared by visiting family
members, continued to touch mom’s heart, illustrated by hand squeezes or teary eyes. Mom’s
fierce love, though quiet, was constant. At Bethania, mom loved going outside to enjoy the
garden and soak up the sun. With her weakening voice, we would sing together “Heavenly
Sunshine, flooding my soul with Glory Divine.”
~ ~ ~

Mom is predeceased by her mother and father John and Maria Fast, mother and father-in-law
Abram and Frieda Hildebrand, husband Hugo Hildebrand, grandson Isaak Langelotz,
brother-in-law Peter Neufeld, sisters/brothers-in-law Helen Reimer, Alice and Edward Cornelson,
Kathy Hildebrand, Vern Hildebrand, and Frieda Friesen, husband Ben Bergen,
brother/sisters-in-law Abe (Lena) Bergen, Alfred (Neta) Bergen, Margaret (John) Wall, George
(Margaret) Bergen, Ed Bergen, Dave Friesen, and Lena Wiebe.

Mom is survived by her children Rick (Angela) Hildebrand, Mandy (Brian) Vanderhooft, Marla (Karl) Langelotz, Melanie (Anthony) Wiens, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren; Hannah (Paul) Muns with Coralynn, Annette, Lydia; Anneke (Cory) Funk with Callum; Rachel (Brandon) Arbour with Lowyn; Paul (Karleen) Hildebrand with Lenayah, Hugo; Rebecca Vanderhooft (Colin Barber) with Nora, Theo; Luke (Leah) Vanderhooft with Halle, Charlotte, Chloe; Carly Vanderhooft (Carl Bartel) with Finn; Naomi (Nicholas) Ewert with Roslyn, Winifred; Jonah Langelotz (Raven Nickel) with Asha; Nadya Langelotz (Michael Veith); Holly Wiens, Jake Wiens (Sydney McLaughlin), Noah Wiens, Kate Wiens.
Stepchildren Brian (Elfrieda) Bergen and Colleen Bergen (Ryan Ford), 3 step grandchildren, and 2 great step grandchildren; Scott Bergen (Indigo Carson); Marc (Kaleigh) Bergen with Shephard, Thatcher; Jason Bergen (Sarah Emmett). Siblings Elsie Neufeld, Jack (Rita) Fast, Vern (Agnes) Fast, Henry (Barb) Fast; brother/sister-in-laws Abe (Betty) Reimer, Eddie Hildebrand, MaryAnn Hildebrand, Alvin Friesen, Erna and Walter Peters, Lydia Bergen, Laura Friesen, Walter and Darlene Bergen.

The funeral for Helen will be held Tuesday, September 5 at
Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church at 11:00 am with a light lunch to follow. Interment will be at
Sargent Mennonite Church Cemetery in Springstein.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff at Bethania. In memory of Helen, donations can be
made to Bethania PCH or MCC.