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John Bergen

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Along with his mother and three siblings, John arrived in Canada as a refugee in 1947 and settled in Winnipeg. His childhood experiences became bedtime stories filled with hope for the next three generations. As an adult, John became an accomplished tinsmith, a career he loved and excelled in. It was on his way to work that John took notice of Shirley, the woman who would become his beloved wife. In 1963, John started his own company, Aircond Installations, and enacted the slogan he always lived by: “If it can be done, we can do it!” The family relocated to Brandon in 1970. A natural leader, John became involved in his faith community and was instrumental in planning and building Richmond Park MB Church’s new building, which still stands on 26th Street in Brandon. Travel was always a part of John’s life, both through work and family time. Family road trips were made regularly throughout Canada, from P.E.I. to B.C. The couple celebrated their 25th anniversary by taking part in a mission trip to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In retirement, John and Shirley continued their adventures with road trips to visit their children and grandchildren from coast to coast. John and Shirley spent their retirement in Winnipeg and transitioned to Buhler Active Living Centre in Winkler in 2022. John was known to always have a wise word to offer, often in the form of a rhyme, and to prefer sitting at the kids’ table. He started and ended every day with a prayer to protect his family, listing everyone from east to west, and then west to east, so no one was ever forgotten. John taught his children and grandchildren to be resilient and self-sufficient. He will be remembered by the lessons he lived by: don’t forget to bring a jacket and boots when you are driving on the highway, you can accomplish anything if you aren’t worried who gets the credit, and always make turnips with Sunday roast.


  • Birth: July 24, 1933
  • Birthplace:
    Gnadenthal, Ukraine
  • Death: February 26, 2024
  • Parents:
    Abram & Susanna (Loewen) Bergen  
  • Married:
    Shirley Penner, Apr. 2, 1960
  • Family:
    Shirley; children Carol, Marjorie (Martin), Donna (Andrew), Nancy (Steve), Richard (Nancy); 12 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren
  • Church:
    Fort Garry MB, Winnipeg; Richmond Park MB, Brandon, Man.; Portage Avenue, Maranatha Evangelical Free, Winnipeg
  • Baptism: