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Funeral service will be held at 11:00AM on Saturday May 7, 2022 at Wiebe Funeral Chapel, Morden with interment to follow at Hillside Cemetery. Viewing will be one hour prior to the service. The family requests that all attendees wear masks.
 
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Agatha Bergen (nee Penner)
1925 ~ 2022

 

With gratitude in our hearts for a life well lived, we, the family of Agatha Bergen (nee Penner), announce that our mother died peacefully Wednesday May 4, 2022 at the age of 96 years, at Salem Home in Winkler. Her longing to be ‘at home’ with her late husband Henry, her son Peter, and with all the saints who have gone before her, has been fulfilled. We are thankful!

Mom was born on November 21, 1925 in Rudnerweide, west of Altona, the second child, and first daughter, of Bernhard G. and Agatha (Dueck) Penner. When she was 2 years old, her parents moved to the Rosefarm School District near Lowe Farm. As Mom grew up, her place as the eldest daughter came into play in many ways. Her mother was not always well so from a very early age, Mom was called on to help care for her five younger siblings.

Although this meant that she was not able to continue formal schooling beyond grade 7, the skills she learned and the attributes she developed from her role in the family, served her well throughout her life. She became a confident, resourceful leader and organizer at home, and in church and community circles, something she continued to exercise well into her retirement.

She also had an adventurous side. She was determined to learn to play guitar, so at the age of 15 she carefully saved her pennies and nickels until she could order a ‘Palm Beach’ guitar from the Eaton’s catalogue—for $7.95! Her sons all learned to play on this instrument! A few years later, before getting married she hatched a plan together with several friends, to travel to the fruit belt of southern Ontario where she worked in a canning factory and picked grapes and peaches. The money she made from this venture helped her and Dad get established when they married.

In 1945, Mom met her life’s partner. She was helping out at her grandparents’ house and had gone to join a birthday party at a neighbouring yard. While playing circle games in the yard she found herself enjoying the pleasant company of a fetching young man by the name of Henry Bergen. Later that evening, when her grandparents arrived to take her back home, she pointed out the older couple to her new friend and told him she would need to be going. He, however, quickly offered to take her back himself. At first Mom thought this would simply be a pleasant, memorable evening. But then, a few weeks later, Henry showed up at her door and the rest, as they say, is history.

On November 15, 1947 Mom and Dad were married, and soon afterward they moved to a small farm south of Clearwater. The first years of marriage and farming in the wilderness beyond the Red River Valley were interesting, to say the least. For the first four years Mom and Dad shared a tiny, drafty house with his  brothers, Jacob and Isaac, and their wives and small children. And as if the house wasn’t already full enough, Mom and Dad soon had two children of their own. Things got so crowded that at one point apparently Mom, in exasperation, told Dad that either the cat moved out of the house or she would!

In 1953 Mom and Dad moved onto the nearby Crozier farm on NW 18-1-12, where they made a successful living and raised their family, at first renting and later buying the land. Ruth and Peter were already on the scene, Ruth born in 1948 and Peter in 1951. Then, in 1955 David was born and in 1959 youngest brother Albert completed the family circle.

Mom and Dad were close partners as parents and in farming. Even though the times were hard, they exercised a great deal of thrift and ingenuity so that as we grew up, we were not really aware of how tight finances were, or how close they sometimes came to folding their cards and looking for another way to make a living. One fortuitous event in 1961 saw Mom win a significant amount of money in the Robin Hood Kitchen Klatter Contest, aired on radio CFAM.  The $900 dollar prize enabled Mom and Dad to buy a deep freezer to preserve meat and garden produce and, more importantly, to meet their farm mortgage payments that year.

Through thick and thin they made our home a place of love, warmth and welcome that extended well beyond family into the community and to strangers who might happen by in need of assistance of one kind or another.

Mom’s strong faith in God was nurtured from early on by her parents and the tight Rose Farm community. As she grew and matured, she declared her faith in public baptism when she was 16.  Throughout her life, her trust in the wisdom and unfailing love of God sustained her, even, and especially, when she faced difficult personal trials and losses. Her faith was unwavering even in her dying days, as she continued to draw strength and reassurance from familiar hymns and scripture.

In time, as the family grew, 29 grandchildren became part of the family:  Carl (Kathy), Wendell (Shana), Byron (Kristal), Nelson (Kim), Joao (Caroline), Greg (Brigitte), Doug, Kim (Chris), Kayla (Andrew), Adam (Neffi), Krista (Mike), Kristin (Curtis), Carla (Gavin), Angela (Ben), Claire (Darren). and 26 great-grandchildren: Joel, Kezia, Asha, Elena, Emily, Titus, Brent, Lucas, Bella, Sam, Jack, Tamir, Rehema, Adrian, Natalie, Adelaide, Nathaniel, Malachi, Izzy, Alex, Noah, Joshua, Caleb, Elora, Odin, Kobe

After retiring with Dad from the farm in 1986, Mom enjoyed many full retirement years at their home on Pearce Drive in Morden. When Dad died suddenly in 2009, after more than 61 years of marriage, she grieved deeply. Despite this loss, Mom rallied again and re-engaged with life. She moved to Garden Park Estates in Winkler where she cultivated many friendships and social connections.

It was difficult for Mom to make yet another transition when she was no longer able to manage life on her own. The move into personal care was deeply disquieting as she wrestled with the reality that she, too, was now getting older. Nevertheless, she continued to express thankfulness for the support of her family and friends, and the quality of care she was receiving. She maintained her sense of humour, and even continued to flirt with some of the male friends she encountered wherever she lived.

As she reached her closing days, it seemed she was simply fading, gradually, gently, into the landscape. She was at peace with herself, her family and her God. She knew she could trust God’s promise to be faithful to her in life and in death.

As her family, we are grateful for the care and support shown by so many—her friends, her extended family, the caregivers at Salem Home, her pastor—all those who knew and loved her.

Mom leaves to mourn her passing 1 daughter-- Ruth (Jack) Heppner, 2 sons—Dave (Essie) Bergen, Albert (Marilyn) Bergen, 1 daughter-in-law (Eva Hiebert) 28 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, and many relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Henry, son Peter, and grandson Doug.

We will miss her deeply, but we are thankful she is at peace at last, united with her Lord and with her loved ones who have preceded her. Goodbye for now Mom. We’ll see you on the other side.

Donations in memory of Agatha Bergen may be made to MCC-Ukraine Relief.

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