In Memory of




Obituary for Susan Irene Penner

August 5th, 1934-December 29th, 2022

“If grief is the price of love, then memories are its reward”.

Mom was born on Sunday, August 5th, 1934, in the Rhineland municipality near Plum Coulee, Manitoba to George R. and Margaret Penner. She was the oldest child and only daughter of 4 children.

As a child, Mom loved working outside with her father, hitching up the horses, working in the field and helping with any other farm chores that needed to be done.

Mom attended Thames North elementary school in Bergfeld, MB and it was during her pre-teen years that she sparked the interest of a handsome young man from the Bergfeld area. By coincidence he had the same name as her father. Mom recalled when she was about 13 or 14 years old, Dad came with a friend to visit her, and Mom’s father came out to let him know she was too young to consider “courting”. But good things come to those that wait…and they did.

After finishing elementary school, Mom was able to continue her education until grade 8, when her ailing grandmother requested Mom’s help to care for her. Mom would have liked to finish school, but she knew the importance of family being first and complied with her family’s request.

As soon as she was able Mom went on to Gretna MCI and enjoyed being back at school. In her usual fashion, Mom did her best to keep up with her grade 10 studies, but the with the amount of time she had been away from school, Mom admitted it was a struggle. But she loved every minute of school, and when remembering those days years later, she would remind her children how fortunate we were to be able to go to school and get a good education.

When she was around 19, Mom showed her adventurous nature and left the family farm to move to Brandon, MB. She trained and worked at the Brandon Mental Hospital for about 3 years. It was during this time that Dad pursued Mom, and on one beautiful spring day, on a hill overlooking the town, Dad formally proposed marriage to Mom and she accepted.

They were married on August 26th, 1956, at the Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church. That same year mom and dad accepted a volunteer opportunity with MCC and moved to Reedley, California. They both worked at the Kingsview Psychiatric Hospital during their time in Reedley. Mom fondly shared her memories of that time often and expressed what a wonderful experience it had been for them.

When they returned to Canada a year later, Mom and Dad settled in Winnipeg where Mom worked at Eaton’s department store. In 1959, her dream to be a mother came true and Mom and Dad welcomed Cheryl Joy. They both wanted a large family, and soon after Cheryl was born, they registered with Manitoba Child and Family Services foster parents’ program. In mid 1960, they welcomed a cute, red haired baby girl into their home as their first foster child. It wasn’t long after that Mom and Dad decided to officially become Gwendolyn Faith’s parents and adopted her as their own. They were a happy family, but not quite large enough. Three years later Mom and Dad became the proud parents of their first son, Theodore George. When Theo was still a toddler, they became foster parents again to another baby – a little girl with big brown eyes and dimples in her cheeks. Mom once said they weren’t good foster parents, but only because they kept falling in love with their foster kids and couldn’t let them go. Theresa Hope was adopted shortly after being taken in as a foster baby. In 1967 their family was complete when they welcomed their 2nd son, Vincent Paul to the family.

The family lived in Winnipeg until 1972 where mom wore many different hats – wife, mother, and even career woman at times. She worked in retail at Gambles, and also as a health care aide at Convalescent Nursing Home.

When Dad moved the family to Grunthal, Mom continued to work outside the home for a time at the Menno Home for the Aged, first as a health care aide, and then as the activity coordinator. When Mom learned about evening classes being offered in Steinbach for various crafts and hobbies, she decided to learn something new each year. One year it was cake decorating, another year was knitting, but the one craft she really loved and was quite good at was ceramics. In fact, Mom loved it so much she taught the senior residents of the Menno Home how to prepare molds for the kiln and then carefully paint them and make their own creations. It got to the point that to save time and money driving to and from Winnipeg to get sculptures completed in a kiln at a pottery store, Dad bought a kiln for the Menno Home so Mom could make ceramics to her heart’s content.

Mom’s first love was God, and she had a strong Christian faith. Her love for the church led Mom to serve in different roles. She was a Sunday schoolteacher, Pioneer Girls and Wayfarer club leader, and ladies sewing circle member. She also volunteered at the local MCC Thrift store and attended fundraisers and donated to MCC’s many causes.

When the children grew up and chose their life mates, Mom welcomed her son and daughters in law with open arms. As each grandchild and great grandchild joined the family, we were always amazed with how much love she had to give, and it never ended. Her greatest joy was her family, and we were all known as her “lovebirds”. No matter how old we were, her job as mother was never done. Mom would not sleep until she knew each and every one of her children were safe and had returned her phone calls.

Shortly after retiring in Steinbach, Mom’s health started to fail. She endured years of suffering and pain, yet always trusted in God for strength and relied on Him and Dad to carry her through.

In 2020, Mom and Dad made a final move to Winnipeg. It had always been her wish to be cared for at the same place where her mother had been lovingly cared for by the staff at Donwood Manor. For a time the pain stabilized, and Mom was grateful to be able to enjoy her time at Donwood with Dad and her family close by.

In the latter part of 2022, after suffering a fall, the infection Mom had dealt with for so long worsened. On December 29, 2022, her Lord and Savior called Mom home, and she went peacefully.

Mom leaves behind to mourn her passing and celebrate her life: the love of her life George, Children; Cheryl, Gwen (Leonard) Wiebe, Theo (Bev), Theresa, and Vince (Brenda). Grandchildren and Great grandchildren: Kyla (Jason), Ella, Joy (Brayden) Jonah & Lucas, Josh (Barb), Gareth, Cassidy, Megan, Aidan.

Mom was pre-deceased by 3 brothers (2 in infancy) one nephew, and one great nephew.

We miss you already Mom, but we rejoice that you are at peace, and are grateful for the life you shared with us, your friends and family.

Funeral service will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at Friend Funeral Service, 2146 Main Street, Winnipeg. Service will be livestreamed at