Memorial service will be held at 2:00PM on Saturday January 27, 2024 at Country Harvest Church, Friedensfeld with interment at 1:00PM prior to the service at the Gnadenthal Cemetery. Viewing will be from 1PM-8PM on Friday at Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler.
Mary Ellen Neufeld
1940 ~ 2024

On Saturday, in the early morning hours of January 20, 2024, shortly after her 84th birthday, Mom passed away peacefully with her children by her side into the loving arms of her saviour, Jesus Christ. She was baptized upon confession of her faith in Jesus on May 25, 1958 by Bishop John A. Friesen at Winkler Sommerfeld Mennonite Church where she regularly attended until shortly after her move to Salem Personal Care Home.

Mom was born to Peter V. and Katharina Neufeld of Gnadenthal, MB on January 6, 1940 in the Winkler Bethel Hospital. There were a number of babies born in the hospital at that time named “Mary”, so the nursing staff encouraged Grandma to give her a second name so that they could distinguish the babies from one another. Her sister, Tina, suggested the name “Ellen” and so, henceforth, she was forever known as “Mary Ellen”.

Mom grew up in Gnadenthal where she attended school from grades 1-10. She was a very shy girl and knew no one in school that first year and so she disliked school immensely and refused to go any longer. Her brother-in-law persuaded her to continue by bribing her with a lovely porcelain doll which I think must have initiated her interest in porcelain doll collecting. Later, in her adult life, she took the necessary courses to complete her

Grade 12 education. After her school years, she worked at the Gnadenthal General Store, which was owned and operated by her sister and brother-in-law, Jacob and Helen Dyck. A few years later, she found employment at the Plum Coulee Post Office for a period of time before she resigned to help Grandma on the farm.

Mom and Grandma lived together on a small acreage just outside the village where they raised a variety of farm animals. Mom was a hard worker, hauling bales, milking cows and growing a very large vegetable and flower garden every summer. The income they received from selling cream to Manco Dairies and the sale of their homemade cottage cheese was enough to provide for a comfortable living. She loved her flower garden and was particularly fond of roses and lilies! The professor at the Morden Research Station commissioned her to grow a collection of experimental hybrid roses for them to develop for new future varieties.

Despite her busy life on the farm, Mom found time for her various hobbies which included leading the local 4-H club, reading, crossword puzzles, sewing, crafts, watching the TV show Jeopardy and playing Scrabble. She was a fierce competitor and had a sharp wit and extensive knowledge in trivia. But her greatest passion was history and genealogy. She was very involved in the Gnadenthal Centennial Celebrations and assisted in creating the Gnadenthal History Book. She was a constant fixture in the community and the “Gnadenthalers” always held a very special place in her heart. Mom was an encyclopedia of knowledge in everything genealogy! Before the days of, she was a wealth of information for those who wanted to trace their roots. Mom was instrumental in co-authoring and printing numerous family genealogy/history books. She had a deep affection for people and combined with her talent on the subject of genealogy, strangers were no longer strangers but friends and acquaintances in all those she met.

In 1996, at the age of 56 years, Mom suffered a devastating stroke which left her with left-sided paralysis and severely limited her ability to cope with activities of daily living. Mom and Grandma were forced to sell their farm and auction off most of their belongings to move to the town of Winkler. It was heartbreaking for her to lose all her precious memorabilia!

Mom had a witty, mischievous sense of humour. She loved to laugh and make others laugh. She took pleasure in regaling the time she was on her way to Bible Study (a short walk from her house), trying to navigate the treacherous, icy sidewalks and when this proved too difficult, decided to walk along the side of the street. A police car pulled up and the officers offered their assistance which she eagerly accepted. She was absolutely delighted to see the alarming, questioning faces of the parishioners when she pulled up to the front of the church in a squad car!

Over time, and with the help of Home Care, Mom regained some of her strength and mobility and settled into a comfortable life in town. Shortly thereafter, Grandma passed away and Mom was left to cope on her own. Eventually, she became strong enough to get a job working for the newspaper, The Pembina Times. She loved this job! But when this came to an end, she spent her time volunteering at The Post - the German paper, The Heritage Society, where she had been an active member for many years and the MCC store. Her daily exercise routine consisted of walking to the Post Office and the Co-op store for coffee with the ladies twice a day until her health began to deteriorate.

As a result of her constant falls, she was compelled to move to Salem Personal Care Home. She was moved to Swan Lake Hospital to wait out placement there. Here, she found many familiar faces also waiting to move to Salem Home. Because there were no activities there to keep her occupied, she organized church services with fellow patients, all gathered around in her hospital room, utilizing the CD’s she received from church. This was a highlight of their week!

In March of 2014, Mom moved to Salem Home where she resided for nearly 10 years. She enjoyed her stay there, where she was never alone and she could visit with many families, friends and staff. The daily church services and activities there kept her busy.

Mom was not one to complain and accepted her circumstances with grace. As her health continued to decline and her abilities became more limited, she maintained a positive attitude - “Be content in whatever circumstances you are in if you cannot change them” was her motto. A testament to us all!

Mom was predeceased by her parents Peter V. and Katharina Neufeld; her 2 sisters, Tina (Pete) Enns; Helen (Jacob) Dyck and 1 brother, Peter (Doreen) Neufeld.

She leaves to mourn her passing, her children Rick and Shirley Neufeld, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

If we were to sum up Mom’s sentiments in her final days on earth, it would be…“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”

We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Kylie and all the staff at Wiebe Funeral Homes - Winkler for their compassionate and professional care of our Mom; Thank you to Pastors Abe Heppner & John Plantz for officiating at the service, Martha Heppner for the music and all our Family and extended Church Family for all your support and making our day so special!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

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