Bergen, Heinrich W.

Heinrich W. Bergen

1924 - 2009

Bergen.jpgOn Friday January 9, 2009 at Boundary Trails Health Centre, Henry Bergen, at the age of 84, died peacefully with his beloved wife, Agatha by his side. 

He had lived in Morden since 1986, retiring there after 38 years of farming at Clearwater, Manitoba. He came into the world September 20, 1924, on a farm in the Neuhoffnung district a few miles west of Altona, the 6th of 7 children born to Jacob R. and Maria (nee Wiebe) Bergen.  Even as a young boy, Henry exhibited some of the unique character traits which set him apart—a person with a twinkle in his eye, mischief around his mouth, and an open, straightforward manner with others that he cultivated throughout his life. 

Henry’s faith in early life was nurtured by his parents and his community life through worship and education in the local one-room school. Upon completing Grade 8 he began to work on the family farm, alongside his other siblings, helping to make ends meet in the difficult economic times of the 1930’s. 

On June 9, 1946 he was baptized into the Rudnerweide Mennonite Church at Bergfeld. His young faith continued to grow and mature throughout life, and sustained him with increasing depth to the very end. 

It is the gift of some to use many eloquent words to witness to their faith. Others are gifted with the ability to demonstrate by example and, in their relationships to the people around them, the values and convictions that come from placing their faith and trust in God. Henry was in this second category. His life spoke eloquently. It was always clear in Whom he placed his trust, and from Whom he drew his strength and guidance for living. His life taught the importance of being content with what you have, mindful not of impressing others, but of being faithful with what God has given. He knew his imperfections, but was at the same time a man of deep integrity, someone who daily sought to reflect more completely the spiritual gifts of love, forgiveness, gentleness, compassion, generosity and hospitality. 

On November 15, 1947 Henry married the love of his life, Agatha Penner, and soon afterward they moved to a small farm south of Clearwater. The first years of marriage and farming in the wild west were challenging to say the least. Initially they shared tiny living quarters with two brothers and their young families. Eventually they located and purchased a nearby farm where they made a successful living and raised their family of four children, Ruth, Peter, David and Albert.  They were close partners as parents and in farming. Together they worked hard, and exercised a great deal of thrift and ingenuity. Through thick and thin they built a home filled with love, warmth and welcome that extended well beyond family into the community and to strangers who might happen by in need of assistance. 

In time the family continued to expand. Fourteen grandchildren were added—Carl (Kathy), Wendell (Shana), Byron (Kristal), Nelson, Greg (Bridget), Doug, Kim (Chris), Kayla, Adam, Krista, Kristin (Richard), Carla (Gavin), Angela (Ben), Claire; and seven great-grandchildren Joel, Kezia, Asha, Samuel, Jack, Malachi and Alexander; also grandson John (Caroline) Holowka and great-grandson Lucas. 

Henry enjoyed the unhurried pace of his retirement years. As long as he was able, he continued to plant a garden and keep a neatly trimmed yard. The last years of his life presented a number of health challenges. Last week, just after completing an extensive round of cancer treatment, he returned home eager to resume some of his regular activities. Unexpectedly on Friday morning, after lapsing into unconsciousness, he was taken to hospital, where he died and went to be with his heavenly Father. 

He leaves to mourn his passing and to honour his memory, his wife of 61 years, Agatha Bergen of Morden, 1 daughter Ruth and Jack Heppner of Steinbach, 3 sons, Peter and Eva Bergen of Steinbach, Dave and Essie Bergen of Winnipeg and Albert and Marilyn Bergen of Crystal City and their families, and many relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by 4 brothers, 1 sister, and 1 grandson.   He died at peace with those around him and with his Creator. For this and for so much that he gave to us, his family, and to the community of friends around him, we, the family are grateful to God. Goodbye for now Dad. We’ll see you again in the morning! 

Funeral service for Henry W. Bergen was held Tuesday January 13, 2009 at 2:00 pm at Morden E.M.M.C. with interment at Hillside Cemetery.  Donations in memory of Henry Bergen may be made to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank 

Wiebe Funeral Chapel, Morden in care of arrangements.

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