Elfrieda (Frid) Esther Olfert (nee Ens)

1942 – 2015

OlfertFridPeacefully, after a short illness, Elfrieda Olfert passed into the arms of Jesus on Monday, July 20, 2015. 

She is survived by her husband, Herman, son, Brian and daughter-in-law, Shelley of Grande Prairie, Alberta and their children, Chelsea and Dustin and son, Rhett, Maverick and Justis of Grande Prairie, son, Terry and daughter-in-law, Heather and their children, Courtney, Brandyn and Jessie of Penticton, BC and son, Milton and daughter-in-law, Natasha of Blumstein and their children, Taryn and Noah. She will be missed by her sisters, Meg Suderman and Lydia Zacharias of Winkler and Esther Janzen of St. Clements, Ontario, brothers, George Ens and Alvin Ens of Winkler and Henry Ens and Philipp Ens of Winnipeg. She was predeceased by her grandson, Jeremiah Olfert in 2011, and by her sisters, Margaret Wieler in 2009 and Erna Pauls in 2013. 

Elfrieda was born on July 11, 1942 to Maria (Wiebe) and Heinrich G. Ens of Reinland Manitoba. She attended the Reinland School and lived with her parents until age 19, keeping busy with milking cows on the family dairy farm, tending the large garden, and earning money babysitting, cleaning homes, and working at Penner’s Dry Goods. On September 24, 1961, she married Herman Olfert of Blumstein Manitoba, and they spent the first year of marriage attending Elim Bible School in Altona, and three weeks in the northern Manitoba community of Pauingassi, relieving missionaries Henry and Elna Neufeld. They settled on the Olfert family farm, living on the same yard with Herman’s parents for ten years, busy with the demands of a growing family and the many duties of a dairy operation. During this time their three sons were born: Brian, Terry, Milton. In 1997, after 36 years in Blumstein, they handed over the daily responsibilities of milking and running the dairy to their youngest son Milton and his wife Natasha, and moved to Winkler. Elfrieda loved the Lord and served the church in many ways throughout her life. She and Herman spent 21 years as youth and young adults leaders in several local congregations, including the Chortitz Old Colony Mennonite Church and Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church. They were part of a group that planted the Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Winkler, where they both served as Sunday School teachers and deacons. At the time of her death, Elfrieda was a member of Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church, where she served as a deacon. Their service at home encouraged them to consider service further afield through Mennonite Central Committee. In 1978, Elfrieda and Herman left their dairy in the capable hands of Herman’s brother John and his wife Elsie and moved their family to Warburg, Alberta to a ranch called Youth Orientation Unit, where they taught life skills, cooked and served as house parents to young offenders, for two year. In 1999, Elfrieda and Herman also traveled to the Mexican village of Reinland (Campo 4) and served for three months, where Herman acted as a dairy consultant. Elfrieda was an active volunteer in Winkler as well, giving nearly three decades of service to Salem Home in Winkler, where she volunteered five days a week as a companion, dinner aide, porter, pianist, and song leader. Shortly before her passing she expressed her love for the residents of Salem and wishes she was well enough to return there. She believed she was called to use her gifts of music and friendship among the senior citizens who lived at Salem. Holidays were difficult to arrange at times simply because Elfrieda felt she couldn’t leave her duties at Salem. She also spent many years as a volunteer in the local MCC store selling crafts through Ten Thousand Villages where she touched many lives. It was a passion of hers. She was also a member of the Gideon Auxiliary. 

Elfrieda was a warm and hospitable person, providing a loving home environment to teenagers and young adults in crisis. She opened her heart to many people beyond her family circle, including a Chinese family, Kim Trieu and family whom she and Herman sponsored as well as Menno and Vani Animalla and their family and Abraham and Shiba Animalla and family.   Elfrieda was a loving and giving mother and grandmother, and was deeply saddened when her oldest grandson, Jeremiah Olfert died suddenly at age 20. She was thrilled to become a great-grandmother to Rhett Jeremiah, son of Chelsea and Dustin Franke. She was in regular contact with her sisters and became proficient at playing Scrabble online with some of them. Her children taught her how to use a computer so that she could be connected with her grandchildren on Facebook. She took care to stay connected with a wide range of people. She appreciated the love, support and kindness of her family and friends during her illness, and was humbled by the many people who attended her birthday party just a few days before her death. Even though Elfrieda is gone from this world she lives on in our hearts and the hearts of all those she touched. To all those she met, they will never forget the loving, selfless lady that influenced their lives. She will forever be remembered as an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Memorial service on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church with private family interment prior at Westridge Memorial Gardens.

If friends so desire, donations may be made in Elfrieda's memory to the Gideon Memorial Bible Plan.

Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler

In care of arrangements

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