Anna Gortzen died Apr. 23, 2009. She was born Feb. 7, 1930, in a refugee camp in Moelln, Germany, to Johan and Agathe Penner. Shortly after her birth, her family immigrated to Brazil, settling in Alto Rio Krauel, Witmarsum, Santa Catarina. The Penner family relocated to Curitiba, where both parents worked outside the home and Anna looked after younger siblings and the household chores. She accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, then was baptized Sept. 29, 1946. Anna married John Gortzen Feb. 12, 1949. In 1965, John’s grandparents came to live with the Gortzens. Anna looked after this elderly couple 10 years until their deaths. When their children left home, John and Anna became caretakers of the MB church in São Paolo for 3 years. In 1978, they immigrated to Canada, where both children now lived. Culloden MB Church, Vancouver, became their new spiritual home. They found many friends and became active in various ministries. In 1990, they moved to Abbotsford, B.C., where they joined King Road MB Church. Anna loved flowers and gardening. As an MCC volunteer, she took dolls home to wash and dress; she said there were too many chores to allow time to play when she was a child. Knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, and baking kept her hands busy. Predeceased by John, 2 brothers; Anna is mourned by children Kathie (Ernesto) Berg, Wally (Waltrude); 5 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; 2 sisters.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.