Helmut Penner died Oct. 3, 2009. He was born Dec. 9, 1941 in Filidelfia, Paraguay to Jacob and Katharina Penner. When Helmut was 7, his mother died. Soon after, Jacob married Katharina Klippenstein, whose 6 children brought the family total to 16 children. In 1950, the family moved to a farm near Curitiba, Brazil, but soon decided to move to Canada, which required returning to Paraguay to acquire proper documents. In 1960, they arrived in Ontario, but 18-year-old Helmut went to Vancouver. Attending youth functions at 43rd Street (now South Hill) MB Church, he met Gertrud (Trudy) Unruh. They were married Apr. 27, 1963. In 1965, Helmut moved his cabinet business from Abbotsford, B.C., to Kamloops, B.C. In 1976, the family moved to a farm at Cherry Creek, B.C., where Helmut purchased his first Tennessee Walking horse, beginning a lasting love of horses. In 1981, economic downturn forced Helmut to close his business. He innovated a new method of applying fiberglass to sundecks and returned to Abbotsford. Helmut was always active in church. He loved to play bass guitar, and to sing in choirs and quartets. In 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after his doctors declared him cancer free, he suffered a heart attack, but was able to receive a bypass surgery. He developed a passion for helping the less fortunate in Africa, creating an inexpensive portable watering system. He was a man of strength, both physical and character. He was proud of his children and always had a lap available for his grandchildren. Helmut is mourned by Gertrud; children Bruno (Natalie), Victor (Heather), Raymond (Tamara), Christel (Alan) Guenette; 12 grandchildren; 9 siblings.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.