George (Jerry) Letkeman

1942 - 2011 

letkeman_jerrysqOn Monday, December 12, 2011 at his residence in Plum Coulee, MB, Jerry Letkeman, aged 69 years passed away suddenly. 

Jerry was born in Birtle, MB and moved to Steinbach with his family at the age of 10. He spent his growing years on the farm. His first job was with Penner Foods stocking shelves and then he worked for Steinbach Creamery for a few years. Jerry met June in 1962 and they were married on August 8, 1964. They lived in Steinbach until Nov. 1964 at which time Jerry entered the first of many business ventures, the East St. Paul Esso. From there he went back to Steinbach and was an Imperial Oil Agent for a very short time. He took a year off business and drove long distance for Reimer Express for a year and enjoyed selling cars for a very short time. In 1967, the Centennial Year, Jerry and June were very excited to welcome son, Ken and in 1968 equally excited when their chosen son, Don arrived. His first business in the hospitality industry was J’s Loft in Steinbach. In 1970 Jerry and June and boys moved to Hadashville to operate Jerry’s Esso on the Trans Canada Highway. In 1975 Jerry and family moved to Brandon where he worked for his brother-in-law, Ron at Shur Gro Farm Services. But Jerry really missed owning his own business so in 1977 they purchased the Killarney Motor Hotel in Killarney. Jerry loved the hotel business and was a natural at it. After owning it for 4 years he decided that it was time to change a bit so he bought the Drive-In Theatres in Morden and Steinbach and 4 years later purchased the downtown Morden Theatre. He also loved the theatre business and because he was a night owl in those days, it suited him to a T. But in 1995 after being in the theatre business for 18 years, he decided that they should purchase the Happy Wanderer Motor Hotel in Plum Coulee. Jerry loved the challenge of buying a business that was struggling and to build it into a viable business and he was very successful at doing this. He was a very sharp business man with a unique talent. In 1999 he purchased the Carberry Motor Hotel, another business that was struggling, and built it into a viable business as well. His last business challenge was purchasing the Morden Dairy Queen with his son, Ken as his partner. Throughout all these years, Jerry had a great interest in horses. For several years he owned Harness Race horses and together with his friend, John Dyck had a lot of fun doing this. A frequent request was that his ashes would be spread in the winner’s circle at the Downs because that is the only way he would ever get there. Jerry was also a very devoted husband, father and grandfather. We have so many happy memories of our days on Killarney Lake where Jerry spent hours driving the boat while teaching kids to water ski. He really loved his grandchildren and his happiest times were taking them to the rides at the Winkler Harvest Festival and the go–carts and water boats at the amusement park. Jerry had a wonderful sense of humour and a very sharp wit. He was famous for his nicknames and one-liners that always made people laugh. He made friends wherever he went and he loved people. He will leave a legacy of smiles to all of us. There are no words to say how much he will be missed. 

He leaves to mourn his passing wife, June (nee Helwer), two sons, Ken (Brenda Smail) and Don and 3 grandchildren, Megan, Justin and Graham; also two brothers, Dave (Mary), Jack (Irene), three sisters, Mary Jane (Walter) Esau, Chris (George) Wiens, Linda (Ron) Buhler, brothers-in-law, Ron (Vera), Ed (Adeline), Irvin Helwer and Ross Olive, sisters-in-law, Vi Hubert, Esther (Clare) McKenty, Marge (Henry) Hanssen and many nieces and nephews. Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Jake and Anne, his parents-in-law, Fred and Elsie Helwer, sister-in-law Eleanor (Ross) Olive, brothers-in-law, Harvey Helwer and Lorance (Vi) Hubert. 

Memorial service was held on Saturday December 17, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church with interment at the Plum Coulee Cemetery. 

If friends so desire, donations may be made in Jerry’s memory to either the Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation or the Plum Coulee Foundation.


Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler

In care of arrangements,

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