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Funeral service will be held at 10:30AM on Friday July 10, 2020 at the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church. Viewing will be from 1PM-9PM on Thursday at Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler (with family present from 7PM-9PM) and at the church prior to the service. Interment to follow at the Bloomfield Rosewell Cemetery. Donations may be made in Susie's memory to the Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation designated to Palliative Care.

SUSIE HILDEBRAND (NEE BANMAN)

1925 – 2020 

Susie Hildebrand (nee Banman) was born October 22, 1925 to Peter J and Justina (nee Dyck) Banman at Kronsgart MB., the seventh child of eight. 

Her early years were spent attending grade 1-8 at the Kronsgart school. While school was held in high regard in the Banman household, Susie was not too keen on the idea. Most subjects were ho-hum to her and didn't warrant much of her attention. However, math was another matter....she held a superb aptitude and interest in this area which became her mainstay throughout life. While she was quiet in nature during her school years, she was not without a mischievous side. This characteristic was aided by her younger brother George who managed to get them into trouble more often than she was willing to admit. 

When school was done, there was ample work to be done on the farm.  Having 5 older sisters meant that there was adequate help indoors and thus she assisted in the outdoor farm work. Always having a love of the outdoors, this arrangement suited her just fine. She became adept at the farming practices of the day, in animal husbandry and cropping. With a chuckle, she would relate the story of what happens when you feed pigs preserves which have fermented....you get intoxicated hogs that can't walk straight enough to get back inside the barn. 

By the tender age of 19 Susie had lost both her parents. She and brother George, along with sister Esther, now faced the challenge of running the family farm alone: Esther maintained the household and cared for sister Mary, who was in poor health, while Susie and George tended to the land and livestock. This arrangement, which turned out to be quite successful, lasted for 4 years. With her proceeds, Susie purchased 80 acres of land, a rare feat for a woman in her time and at such a young age! 

In school there had been a young fellow, Ben, who took a fancy to Susie. After courting for 4 years, Mom & Dad were wed in 1948. Farming a quarter of land and working in Winnipeg during the winter months that first year was the start of their life journey together. Mom faithfully tended to domestic duties in the house, even though her first love was farming. When Dad was incapable of performing the outside chores due to a surgery, Mom's farmer side took control and managed the outside chores without a second thought. 

Those early years were financially challenging. Excessive rains coupled with a poor drainage network, led to meager crops. Always on top of their finances, her frugality helped to make ends meet, sacrificing her own needs and desires in favor of the family. We never went without - from canning home grown produce to butchering to selling cream.  Mom was resourceful and hard working. 

Her resourcefulness and quick thinking also saved their 1955 Chev sedan from being totally destroyed by fire. While enroute to Winkler after a rain, just a half mile from home on that notorious dirt road, Mom got the car stuck. It must have been something urgent or she would not have ventured out. Nevertheless, realizing something was amiss under the hood, she opened the hood and found the motor in flames. Immediately realizing the graveness of the situation, she pulled off her rubber boot, filled it with water from the ditch, and doused it on the flames. Miraculously, the fire was extinguished! However, damages resulted in the purchase of a new car. 

We can't talk about Mom without mentioning food, especially sweets. She had an insatiable sweet tooth - even her dentures were endowed with this trait! This was a contributing factor to her constant struggle with her weight. We knew when things were getting out of hand, for when she was on a diet, we ALL were on a diet! 

As the family grew, there were now 3 children, the small 3 room farmhouse became inadequate. This, coupled with the often impassable clay roads, led to a decision to relocate. In 1963, the family moved into a new house in Winkler, where a 4th child was soon to be added to the mix. With this move, came a change in Mom's life: she no longer was actively involved in the farm. Over time and with the children now leaving home, her attentions turned to other interests: volunteering at the MCC store and Stanley Ag Society, participating in the Ladies groups in church, and regularly attending Curves for exercising, becoming the oldest member there at 84. Even though she enjoyed these activities, her heart remained on the farm. She would inquire as to the seeding progress, what stage the crops were in, if there was sufficient moisture and how the yield was. Like the saying goes, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." This was definitely true for Mom, right to the very end. 

Fishing was a sport both Mom & Dad really enjoyed. It was here that Mom's competitive nature took the forefront: nothing thrilled her more than out fishing Dad, which happened on a regular basis. 

Traveling also became a highlight of Mom & Dad's later years. Purchase of a motor home allowed them the freedom to travel to numerous destinations in North America over the course of their retirement years: from east coast to the west coast of Canada, down to Florida and across to Arizona and California, wintering for many years in the warmth of the southern states. 

Mom's children and grandchildren were important people in her life. She delighted to hear what they were involved in and their most recent accomplishments. Bragging rights were hers and, when presented with the opportunity, would not hesitate to share with others. 

Mom led a life of quiet faith in God. She had accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and was baptized on this faith in March 1980, joining the membership of the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church. She was proud to inform us that it had been her grandparents who were the first members of this congregation. 

For the most part, Mom was blessed with good health, which she was proud of. The doctor, at her last appointment commented, that she had the blood pressure of a 20-year-old, to which she remarked, “you mean the blood pressure of a teenager!" A heart pacemaker resolved a heart issue in 2008. Her one shortcoming, however, was her vision: she suffered from macular degeneration which proved to be a great disability. Having been fiercely independent all her life, this disease robbed her of that. She was forced to relinquish her driver’s license in 1995 which was a huge blow. In order to keep as much independence as possible, she developed strategies to maintain her functionality: pockets in her pants so she would know front from back, positioning herself close to doors in public places so as to avoid as much traffic and obstacles as possible, counting number of stairs to avoid falls. Mom was never one for flashy dressing, but she did become fond of her bedazzled shirts. The rhinestones acted like a type of braille indicating front from back. However, as the years progressed, so did the disease till, by the time she passed, she could no longer see, but only to distinguish between day and night. That, along with diminished hearing, left her with few things to enjoy in this life. 

Mom was admitted to hospital on June 30, suffering from a stroke.  It was only then that we learned that she had indeed suffered from previous small strokes, explaining the signs and symptoms of dementia which we had noticed for some time. Upon having several more strokes over the next few days, she passed from this life into her heavenly home on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at 8:10 am with her 4 children at her side. 

She leaves to cherish her memory: 2 sons: Howard & Lorraine, Gerald & Helen, 2 daughters: Laura & Larry Nikkel, Nancy & Dave Klassen, 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by husband Ben Hildebrand in 2009, 1 grandson in 2010 and all her siblings and their spouses.

In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations may be made to BTHC Foundation designated to the Palliative Care Program. 

We would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the following:

-  the Homecare and Homestead staff who went above and beyond the call of duty in caring for Susie, allowing her to remain in her home.

-  Dr. Lane & BTHC staff for their genuine compassion and care for Susie

-  Wiebe Funeral Homes, family and friends for the concern and empathy demonstrated to us as a family.

 -A special thanks to Nettie Janzen, a faithful neighbor and long-time friend, for taking Mom along to Curves all those years! 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY THE FAMILY

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