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Margita Sudermann

Margita Sudermann (Loewen)

Monday, August 22nd, 1932 - Sunday, May 30th, 2021
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Obituary

Margita Sudermann

August 22, 1932 – May 30, 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Margita Sudermann, in her 88th year of life. Margita died peacefully of heart failure on Sunday evening, with her daughter, Betty Neufeld at her bedside at St. Boniface Hospital. Theresa and Paul Sudermann had also visited her that day.

Margita was predeceased by her loving husband, Henry Sudermann, in 2016, as well as by her parents, Maria (Loepp) Loewen and Peter Loewen, and her younger brother Victor Loewen and his wife Lily Loewen. Also predeceasing Margita were her sisters-in-law Helene Paetkau (Jake) of Saskatchewan, Luise Dyck (John), and Margarete Toews (Harry).

Margita leaves behind to mourn her four children and their spouses, Marlies (Maria Louise) Sudermann (Christopher Newton), Paul Sudermann, Betty Margarete Neufeld (Werner Neufeld) and Theresa Anne Sudermann, as well as her three grandchildren, Jason Neufeld (Brianna Kasdorf Neufeld), Nicole McMullen (Cody McMullen), and Alina Newton (Lindsay Waterman). In addition, Margita was blessed with five great-grandchildren, Drew, Blake and Hunter Neufeld, and Ellie and Chase McMullen.

Margita also cherished her good friends at Bethania Haus, and many relatives and friends in the Winnipeg community, Ontario, Saskatchewan and her lifelong friend, Lieselotte of Germany.

Margita had a very eventful life in her childhood and youth, which we of the succeeding generations can barely fathom. She was born in Halbstadt (Moloschansk) Ukraine (then South Russia), during the Holodomor and barely survived infancy due to the famine at that time. Maria and Peter Loewen, her parents, had to move to Pavlograd when Margita was about 3, in 1935/36, in order to escape persecution by the Soviets. There, the family bought a house with a small garden, near the river, and her father worked as an accountant. Her brother Victor was born in Pavlograd, but tragically, their father Peter was arrested and executed by the Soviet regime, along with most other Mennonite men of his age during Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937/38. Margita’s very resourceful mother, Maria, kept the rest of her family alive and together through the subsequent ravages of the Second World War, when the battle front swept back and forth over the area, changing hands between the Russian and German armies. Margita and her brother were separated from their mother for several weeks in 1941, when her mother was taken to dig trenches at the Russian front, and Margita’s grand-parents were put on a train by the Soviet authorities, to Siberia, leaving the two children, Margita, age 8 and Victor, age 4, alone in the house, under bombardment by the Germans and Russians. During this time, Margita had to stand in line for their bread rations, and she saved Viktor’s life by pulling him by the shirt-tail behind the corner of the house while a bomb whistled overhead, landed in their back garden and exploded.

Margita began school in the Russian language, and went to school in several other countries and languages, before landing up in the area near Bielefeld, northern Germany, when she was about 11 or 12, in 1944. They were saved by a German Lutheran pastor’s wife, whose husband had died at the front. Margita and her mother helped with labour on the farm and with cooking, and Margita was able to attend the local school, where she did well and made friends. She recalled that during that time period, the history books had all been thrown out, and the only time period they were allowed to study was the Stone Age. Margita, her mother and brother narrowly escaped being sent back behind the Iron Curtain after 1945, and Margita’s mother decided to move to the relative safety of Canada, specifically Winnipeg, Manitoba, where her Willms relatives helped them settle in 1948.

Margita was not best pleased to have to move to Canada at age 15, knowing no English, having just passed an exam in Germany to enter business school, and leaving behind her friends. Maria Loewen was given a job in the kitchen of Bethania Altenheim near Selkirk, the forerunner of Bethania Personal Care home. Margita refused to start school over again in a new language and at age 16 went to Winnipeg and got a job in a factory, and later worked at Paulin’s Biscuits. Margita and her mother bought a house together on Victor St., and took in lodgers, and her brother Victor, who was four years younger, was able to attend high school and then university.

Margita, met Henry Sudermann, the love of her life, at English night classes at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate. She and Henry were both members of the First Mennonite Church, and they developed a wonderful group of friends much like them. This group enjoyed outings to roller skate at the Winnipeg Roller Rink on Portage Avenue as well as train trips to Grand Marais, where they swam, danced and stayed in Tante Calla’s cottages. Margita and Henry married on August 1, 1953. Margita was promptly fired from her job at Paulin’s as a result of her marriage, but then rehired at lower wages for the Christmas rush. Marlies was born on July 28, 1954, Paul on May 22, 1957, and Betty on April 27, 1960. During that time, Margita and Henry lived at 666 Lipton St., together with Henry’s mother Elizabeth Sudermann and two aunts, Anna and Katharina Sudermann. After Betty’s birth, the family moved to 1230 Clifton St., a new house of their own a mile or two away. This neighbourhood was also home to the Margaret and Harry Toews family, the Anita and Henry Loepp family and other Mennonite families attending First Mennonite Church. Theresa was born on January 8, 1965. Later, Margita and Henry moved to a house they had built on Bard Ave.

While caring for their children and home, Margita also supported Henry in starting Simcoe Motors with his best friend and brother-in-law, Harry Toews. Margita was an expert seamstress and gardener, and enjoyed producing fine German cakes and pastries, for us and her “Kraenzchen” of female friends. Margita also finally resumed her education at adult education high school, after her children were grown, and won a scholarship to university. Margita and Henry also enjoyed providing pre-school child care for her grandchildren Jason and Nicole, as well as volunteering many hours at Bethania Personal Care Home. Margita assisted in the recreation programme, with the German reading and German singing programmes.

Margita and Henry also knew how to enjoy life, travelling, visiting and entertaining relatives and friends, and going south most winters in their later years. They started out camping on “Mennonite Hill” at West Hawk Lake, and then bought a cottage at McKenzie Beach, West Hawk Lake, which they greatly enjoyed for many years. When Margita was 78, Henry decided it was time for them to move to Bethania Haus, along with Theresa. Henry suffered a massive stroke just before they could even move in, and Margita, who had initially been very reluctant to leave their nice home and garden on Bard Avenue, found herself situated close to Henry, who was cared for at Bethania Personal Care Home next door. She spent much of her time with Henry there for six years, until he passed away.

Margita was a woman of a sharp intellect and confident opinions. She never shrank back from advocating for her children, or other causes and issues she felt strongly about. In her later years, this made it hard for us to convince her to give up driving, or accept help in the home or at Bethania. She remained “fiercely independent” to the end. She was unique and will be much missed.

We wish to thank all the staff of home care who assisted Margita during the past year, especially Stacey, as well as Adina and her volunteers who brought mom her meals. We also wish to thank all the caregivers at St. Boniface Hospital who helped mom during the six hospitalizations over the past 15 months, especially Nurse Sandra and Dr. Leung during this final stay. Finally, we wish to thank Dr. Edin Tunovic, mom’s excellent and very patient family doctor.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Margita with a donation could consider a donation to Bethania Haus, for the gardening and birthday programs, or a charity of your choice.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 | 6:45pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 6:45pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    Friends Funeral Service
    Address
    2146 Main Street
    WINNIPEG, MB R2V 3S5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, June 4th, 2021 |
    When
    Friday, June 4th, 2021
    Location
    Brookside Cemetery
    Address
    3001 Notre Dame Avenue
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    There will be visitation on Thursday, June 3, 2021, between 6:45 pm and 8:00 pm, call Friends Funeral Service at 204-339-5555 to book an appointment.
    Officiant
    Pastor Gerhard Friesen
  • Interment

    Friday, June 4th, 2021 |
    When
    Friday, June 4th, 2021
    Location
    Brookside Cemetery
    Address
    3001 Notre Dame Avenue
    Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B8
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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