Maria Penner died Feb. 21, 2009 at 102. She was born Aug. 12, 1906 in Adshembet, Ukraine to Abram and Eliesabeth Fast. Maria married Johann (Hans) Penner, the local schoolteacher, Nov. 10, 1929. They attempted to leave the country in 1929, but were returned to Paulsheim, Johann’s home village. In 1938, Johann was taken away because of his faith in God. In 1968, the Red Cross informed Maria he died during World War II. The family lived as refugees in Poland and Germany during and after the war until they immigrated to Paraguay in 1947. In 1951, Maria and daughter Annie moved to Coaldale, Alta., to join daughter Elizabeth who moved to Canada with her husband in 1948. Maria was an active member of Coaldale MB Church until her move to Abbotsford, B.C. with Annie in 1993. There she attended Clearbrook MB Church. Maria loved her family very much and prayed for them daily. Predeceased by Johann and infant daughter Erika; Maria is mourned by children Elizabeth (Abe) Wiens, Annie Penner; 7 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; 1 sister. The memorial service was Feb. 28 at Clearbrook MB Church.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.