Helen Penner

Helen Penner

Sunday, August 20th, 1933 - Saturday, November 14th, 2020
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Surrounded by her family, Helen Penner (née Enns) passed away peacefully into the arms of her Saviour on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. She was 87 years old.

Helen is survived by her children Reinhardt (Irene), Ruth Rempel, Linda Martens (Harvey), Alfred (Vernelle), Marlene Penner Epp (Gerhard), Kathy Penner-Dyck (Paul), John (Deanna) and Dorothy Van Doeselaar (Bill); 23 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Susie Rempel.

She is predeceased by her dear husband of 64 years, John Penner; her brother, Peter Enns; her sister, Anna Woelk; her son-in-law, Jake Rempel; and four grandchildren: Thomas Epp, Kaylyn Penner, Taylia Penner and Christjan Penner.

Mom was born on August 20, 1933 in Schoeneberg, Russia (present day Ukraine). She was the youngest of four children born to Peter and Anna (née Klassen) Enns. On February 18, 1938, her father was taken from his family in what has since been called the Soviet Inferno. The rest of the family survived the trauma of WW II including the great Trek to Germany and refugee life eventually immigrating to Canada on January 12, 1948. They settled in Alexander, Manitoba, before moving to Winnipeg in 1949. That year, Mom met our Dad, John Penner, at a church picnic. They were married two years later.

Mom was employed at Bonner Bags for a few years and enjoyed the special privilege of being selected for their advertisement photo. The following years were filled with caring for their 8 children and looking after the household as Dad ran his stucco and plastering business.

Our mother had a beautiful smile and infectious laugh. She was a loving, kind and caring mother, and a talented cook, baker and sewer. Despite the many demands on her, there was a certain ease about her. She was down to earth, a steady sure centre for our family. We were always safe and secure in her love and home. We were free to stretch our wings, knowing we remained rooted securely in her heart. She kept a big garden, did a lot of canning, and always made sure that everything was in order for the many trips to the family cottage at Ingolf, Ontario.
And she made Christmas special, really special; with delightful treats and baking, songs and Sprueche, decorations and gifts. She instilled deep love for this holiday in each of her children.

Mom had a strong faith in God. She was an active and well-loved member of the Douglas Mennonite church family. Along with our Dad she served as deacon, was a part of the Frauenverein, and volunteered at the thrift store that supported Westgate Mennonite Collegiate. She was kind, generous and had the gift of hospitality. She enjoyed hosting events, entertaining company and easily welcomed our friends into our home. There was always room for more around the table and plenty of food.

Whether at church or down the street, Mom nurtured close friendships with women around her, including her Kaffeeklatsch—a group of women who celebrated many birthdays and anniversaries together. Mom also had a special relationship with her niece, Katy Thiessen.

One of the great joys of Mom’s life was becoming a grandmother. She loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much, spent a lot of time looking after them and keeping the candy cupboard filled. Never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story, Oma is renowned among her grandchildren for her storytelling abilities. Her love for Old Dutch chips and a good cup of tea are also legendary.

At the beginning of 2020, Mom’s health began to decline. This necessitated a hospital stay before moving on to Bethania Personal Care Home, where she lived her last days.

Having family contact limited by COVID-19 restrictions was excruciatingly difficult for Mom and for us as well. At the same time, her faith never wavered and she looked forward to going to Heaven.

Mom, we love you very much and we’ll miss you until we meet again.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Helen’s memory to MCC or Bethania Personal Care Home.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Glen Eden Memorial Gardens
    4477 Main Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Irene (Martens) Pauls

Posted at 09:24pm
Dear Penner family. Just to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. May you find strength and comfort from our Great God at this time and the days ahead.

with Love,
Irene Pauls

Erika Marand

Posted at 11:53am
Our condolences and deepest sympathies to the extended Penner families near and far. Your memories will forever keep your Mama, Oma and Ur-oma alive. Although we cannot express our sorrow together in these times, our thoughts are with you.

Erika & Dennis Marand and family

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