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Leona Esther Sawatsky

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A sermon series by J.B. Toews at South Abbotsford MB Church led 14-year-old Leona to realize she needed forgiveness and peace. She began Bible studies in 1942–43 at Elim Bible Institute, Yarrow, B.C., where she met Abe. The next year, she attended Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alta. Leona and Abe studied at MB Bible College, Winnipeg, then served together some 20 years in Aldergrove, B.C.; Saskatoon; Kelowna, B.C.; and Huron, S.D. Shortly after the family returned to Canada for Abe’s cancer treatments, he died when Leona was 42. Carried by faith, Leona raised the 6 children still at home. With God as her strength, she grew in independence and determination. Leona worked at Columbia Junior College and Block Brothers Realty, Vancouver, where she found joy and respect. The Sawatsky family supported her. At Fraserview MB Church, Richmond, B.C., Leona served as deacon, choir member, and Sunday school volunteer. She travelled Indonesia, Austria, Israel, Russia, and Italy. In 2001, Leona published a memoir, Close to the Earth.  She lived at Maplewood Senior Care Society, Abbotsford, B.C., 2013–17. Leona modelled devotion to God and family. Leona biked Stanley Park with her grandchildren. They saw her march for peace and, by learning to swim, conquer fear. She endured memory loss with amazing grace.

  • Birth: March 15, 1924
  • Birthplace:
    Hepburn, Sask.
  • Death: October 10, 2017
  • Parents:
    David H. & Annie (Ewert) Warkentin
  • Married:
    Abram J. Sawatsky, June 4, 1944 [d. Aug. 5, 1966]
  • Family:
    children Ken, Marlene Sawatsky Hohm, Dan, Sharon Schermbrucker, Dorothy, David, Ron; 13 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; 4 siblings
  • Church:
    County Line Baptist, Aldergrove, B.C.; West Portal MB, Saskatoon; Kelowna (B.C.) MB; Bethesda MB, Huron, S.D.; Bakerview MB, Abbotsford, B.C.; Fraserview MB, Richmond, B.C.
  • Baptism:
    South Abbotsford (B.C.) MB, 1940