Henrietta Kehler (nee Klassen)

1921 - 2015


Henrietta Kehler newspaperHenrietta was born in the village of Gnadenthal in the Ukraine on June 21, 1921 while there was great unrest in that country. Fortunately, her family including her parents, Jacob and Anna (nee Rempel) Klassen and their three children were able to immigrate to Canada in August 1923 when Henrietta was two. Most of the extended Klassen family came as well. They settled in the village of Blumenort, west of Gretna. When Henrietta was 15, her mother and unborn infant died suddenly in childbirth. Henrietta being the oldest daughter, left school to take over the household responsibilities and care of her father and six siblings. At the age of 21, Henrietta married the man of her dreams, Frank Kehler. They were truly devoted to each other for 42 years. Together they worked tirelessly and their farm at Kronsthal thrived under their attention and hard work. In 1984, six weeks before Frank passed away, they relocated to Altona where Henrietta continued to live another 19 years. Since then, she has lived in Winkler.

For the last seven years of Frank’s life, Henrietta nursed him faithfully through his numerous bouts of cancer. When he died, a much more subdued spirit replaced much of her exuberance for life. At this point, she directed her energies to working in the community. She poured literally thousands of hours into the work at Altona MCC and the local care facilities where she assisted people. Henrietta baked and cooked constantly for the family and for anyone in need, mostly people who were unwell. In addition to this, Henrietta had a green thumb that was able to make anything flourish. If there were one word that would describe Henrietta, it would be “generous”. Her own needs were never a consideration, Always, she was aware of those around and their need for comfort. Strangers never left hungry and those who were ill always received some form of treatment, Skin color was never an issue. Although Henrietta made many contributions to her family and community, her spiritual contribution overshadows the other. It was especially after her husband died that her faith took on a deeper meaning. Since she could no longer look to him for counsel and support, she started to look more and more to God for His guidance. In her last years of life, as physical and mental abilities limited her, she would read the Bible and other Christian materials for hours. She also spent innumerable hours daily praying for the people in her life.

Henrietta was able to leave this world peacefully at Salem Home on Saturday January 17, 2015 after many years of failing health. Her bright and peaceful presence will be missed by all who knew her including Salem workers, friends and family. She is survived by four sons and one daughter and their families: Ernie, Ruth (Sig Toews), Harvey (Donna), Glen (Sheila), Rob (Sherry). Henrietta has one remaining sister, Helen Fast, one brother-in-law, Bob Heinrichs and four sisters-in-law, Helene Klassen, Clara Klassen, Anne Kehler and Mary Grant. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank in December 1984, her daughter-in-law, Helen Kehler in September 2014 and grandson, Nathan Toews in 1999.

Memorial service at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday January 21, 2015 at the Blumenort Mennonite Church with interment prior to the service at Kronsthal Cemetery. If friends so desire, donations may be made in Henrietta’s memory to either Boundary Trails Health Centre Palliative Care or The Salem Foundation Inc.

Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler

In care of arrangements,


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