Maria (Mika) Warkentin died Sept. 9, 2010 at 96. She was born Oct. 20, 1913 in Crimea, Ukraine to Peter and Maria (Klassen) Dick. She enjoyed a carefree childhood, including holidays at the family’s villa on the Black Sea. Shortly after she began school, the family moved to Tiege, Ukraine. During the revolution, their estate was confiscated and her father was imprisoned 3 times, but the family survived. In December 1938, Maria married Jacob Warkentin. In 1941, Jacob was taken to a Russian concentration camp; Maria never saw him again. (Fifteen years later, she learned he died there in 1944.) In 1943, Maria and her daughter joined a wagon trek through Poland to Warren Muritz, East Germany. Seeking safety, they travelled by train to Schleswig-Holstein, West Germany, where they lived with Maria’s in-laws in a farmer’s house. In 1948, her mother-in-law’s sister Aganetha Warkentin sponsored them to immigrate to Yarrow, B.C., and lived with them until her death in 1961. In summer, Maria worked in the garden and cannery, and in winter, she was a domestic, where she learned English. After 3 years in Canada, with Mennonite Central Committee’s help, Maria purchased a cabin and land. At 79, she moved to Evergreen Village, Abbotsford, B.C., and joined Clearbrook MB Church. She enjoyed taking bus trips, crocheting, walking, reading, and visiting friends. She was independent until her stroke at 93. She contracted pneumonia in August 2010. Maria had a strong faith and an open heart. Predeceased by Jacob, Maria is mourned by daughter Jenny (Allan) Corenblum; 2 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.