Maria studied as a teacher in Chortitza, Ukraine, and taught before WWII. Her father was taken away to a gulag, leaving her to help her mother. Aided by her strong faith in God and feisty determination, Maria fled on foot to Germany. In 1947, she immigrated to Canada with her mother and siblings, settling in Winnipeg where Maria worked as a housekeeper and bookkeeper, and taught Sunday school and German school. Known for her decorated sugar cubes, Maria enjoyed baking, cake decorating, gardening, crocheting, knitting, and hosting. Maria cheered on her grandchildren through each achievement and milestone, instilling in them her motto: “Never give up.” Maria shared her memories of Russia for the documentary Through the Red Gate with amazement that God wanted to use her this late in life. Maria had minor strokes that slowly weakened her, but she remained a prayer warrior to the end.