Private funeral service will be held with interment to follow at the Southside Cemetery, Morden, MB. Public viewing will be from 1PM-8PM on Tuesday February 15, 2022 at Wiebe Funeral Chapel. Morden.
 
 
 

Mary Gerbrandt
1935 ~ 2022
 
Mary’s Obituary – Funeral Date, February 16, 4 pm
Good Afternoon, I am Sally Brodland, Mary’s niece!  I have had the privilege of doing life with her more closely since my mom passed away in 2019. 
Most of this obituary will be done in the first person.  Mary left a journal with her story and various notes. 
I was born November 19, 1935 in the Wakeham school district south of Morden MB.  It was very cold that winter and mom kept me warm by placing my basket on the oven door of the old kitchen stove.  I grew up on the farm – we moved several times.  Her parents were Peter and Susanna Gerbrandt.  A few notes about her siblings.  Eva – her beautiful crochet work, Susan – liked everything neat, Henry – was always my support, Tena – made good macaroni and cheese, Anne – she kept my room flowered with her garden flowers.
I was 7 years old when we moved to the Mason SD (1940-41).  After living in Mason area for a few years we moved to the Glencross SD (1945-46).  We lived there till 1952 when we moved to Morden.
I was 14 years old when I finished school and helped on the farm.  When I was growing up as a young girl I loved to play with dolls and build playhouses with my youngest sister (Anne).  We had a lot of trees on our yard, so we tied a rope or string around the trees to make the house.  We played store, doctor etc.  We would pick red berries in the pasture and sell them in our store.  It was so fun.  I was a strong young person, doing housework, gardens with vigor.  I helped my dad with farm chores, milking cows, stooking sheaves and picking corn by hand.  My dad told me I wasn’t made of sugar.  
I enjoyed music.  My brother Henry taught me how to play. We played in church.  I also sang in the church choir in Glencross.  I used to play the old pump organ.
Youthful joys and pleasures cam to a sudden halt when polio invaded my life August 25/52.  The year of 1952 was a hot spring. It was a good summer.  My sister Anne and I were picking beans at our neighbors the Hoeppners farm.  The beans went to the Morden cannery to be canned.  That was late July into August.  We picked them all by hand.  That was the first spending money we earned.  Anne and I bought our first wrist watches.  They were second hand.  We were so proud to have them. 
Then came August 25.  I was 16 years old. It was the weekend of Aug. 23/24 that I took very ill on the Friday.  I had washed and waxed the kitchen floor.  I remember having a headache.  I felt better after a while.  On Saturday, I walked to the end of our lane to pick up the mail.  On Sunday, the 24th , we went to church like we always did.  By evening I had so much pain I missed going to the evening service.  I lay down in mom’s bed.  Ours was upstairs.  By bedtime, I had a high fever which went on all night.  In the morning, the 25th, I didn’t get up early, but when I did get up later, I dressed myself, I went down on my knees to pray, I got up, walked downstairs to wash up for breakfast.  I don’t know how I did all that.  I was losing my strength. My one finger on my left hand didn’t work right, something was very wrong.  I remember sitting down at the breakfast table.  I don’t remember eating anything.  After, I couldn’t get up.  My mom helped me get into bed.
They were cooking dinner, fresh green bean soup and fresh apple pie for which I was so hungry.  In the meantime they took me to the doctor’s A.F. and J.C. Menzies.  So I never had any of the dinner.
The doctor took me to the hospital where I was for 8 days.  My fever was very high – 102-104, which lasted 4 weeks.  When the fever broke, I became clear.  I was so out of it, I didn’t care if family came to see me or anything else.  In the morning the day after the doctor put me the hospital I couldn’t move I was so helpless.  The doctor told my mom he didn’t expect me to make it.  After 8 days he sent me to Winnipeg.  I was transferred to King George hospital.  After 3 weeks there I was transferred over to Queen Elizabeth hospital, till the end of October.  The doctors there sent me home thinking I would not make it.
But I did!  What a surprise for them.  I was just as weak and limp coming home as I went in.  I couldn’t sit, move, etc.  As a young person I thought I would get better.  We don’t always get what we want – walking etc.  No one, I thought would notice my left hand which was and always will be disfigured.  It all didn’t happen.  Disappointments come in life.  When you’re young and well you want to be that way all your life. It wasn’t meant to be like that for me.  I have learned to accept it.  Paul in the Bible says, ‘I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I can do that as well.  God is faithful, He makes no mistakes. 
It took and still does take a lot of perseverance and courage to go on.  It’s difficult, my body is getting weaker and its painful and I get so very tired.  I’m glad I can look forward to heaven where there will be none of this.  God gives me strength and grace to persist in spite of obstacles. 
I remember how I sat on the floor when I first was able to sit up.  It took about a year to sit up again.  I got movement by sliding and I learned how to crawl again just like a child.  You know that reminds me of my Heavenly Father.  In His eyes I am His child whom He teaches life lessons.  He watches over me all the time.  His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me”  I had to learn and start all over again.  In life we learn all the time.  If we let Him teach us.  My mom took very good care of me. 
I lost a lot of physical movements but I gained alot of spiritual things and insight, a deeper understanding of God’s love for me.  That had I not been ill. I would have missed in life.  He makes no mistakes. 
As time went on after many inward battles and struggles I found different interests such as knitting and embroidery. 
And so Mary lived on touching many many lives.  People came and went in Tabor and she was left, but she was on mission.  God’s love and care flowed through her to staff and residents.  She was fun, she was witty, she was real.  She found humour in the Christmas pageant or Santa Claus.  She was probably the only resident who ever had snow put in her bedpan as a practical joke. When she moved into the new Tabor Home, she told us about the music in the pipes.  It was the most wonderful thing.  No one here on earth was playing music in the pipes – God had tuned up a heavenly station and was sharing music into Mary’s life!  I once said to her, I want to be like you – like Jesus she hastened to communicate!!  And not too long ago I referred to her using her feet or legs in heaven – but she said, most important is to be ready!!  Her life was a poignant contrast to anything so called normal.  She joyfully told us she should charge people to see what she saw out her window!!  I sat with her in the courtyard one day and she so saw beyond it, while I saw to some extent a prison! 
I have never lived in the presence of one so great.  I will end with a couple of thoughts from her journal, “I used to take things for granted, I don’t any more.  I see so much beauty.” 
Secondly, “I have a lot of friends. I have family.  Most of all I have the Lord.  God has been good, I keep trusting in Him.  He will lead me home.  Until one day I will have graduation when I finish my life’s race here on earth.  I’ll be home in heaven with Jesus.  I’ll be free.  I like to tell people to get ready, I’ll outrun them in heaven, on gold streets.” 
A sentence does not do it justice, but many thanks to Tabor Home for decades of good care, community, fun and family!  Mary lived a life of purpose and joy at Tabor Home.  A special thanks to Pastor Morris Vincent, Mary was under his pastoral care for 29 years at Tabor!  Their friendship continued to the end of her life!

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