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Rita (Peters) Wiens

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Margarita (Rita) lost her mother Dec. 29, 1929. Her father married Rita’s mother’s twin sister, Tina Apr. 6, 1930. The Russians sent Rita’s father to Siberia in September 1941, never to be seen again. As the eldest, Rita helped her mother. From 1942–1943, when the Germans occupied the area, life was relatively peaceful. However, in September 1943, the family was forced to flee in the Great Trek, arriving in Poland in January 1944. The Polish officials loaded German Mennonites onto a flatbed rail car to eastern Germany. Learning of an MCC refugee camp in Gronau, armed with cigarettes for bribing, Rita crossed to West Germany at night; her family followed a week later. In Gronau, Rita worked in the kitchen, made many lifelong friends, and enjoyed evenings socializing. September 1948, the family sailed for Canada, arriving in Halifax, then boarding a train to Winnipeg, their final destination. There Rita worked 3 years for the wealthy Kennedy family. She was baptized, having previously accepted Christ as Saviour. Rita met Jacob Wiens when he was billeted in her home while attending a church conference. They married the following year, Mar. 21, 1953. Rita’s life consisted of looking after the family, baking, and gardening. During haying season, she fed workers meals and doughnuts for coffee breaks. As the children grew, Rita became more involved in church; ladies’ group became important to her. Rita was known for her paska and pastries at bake sales. In 1982, as Rita and Jacob were building their retirement home, Jacob died suddenly in a farming accident. Rita moved in alone and turned her focus to her 6 grandchildren living nearby. In 1993, she moved to Abbotsford, B.C. There Rita volunteered 2 days a week at MCC Quilters and 3 days in the Garden Park kitchen. This continued until a major stroke in 2005. Although she could no longer cook or quilt, she recovered. She took the opportunity to travel, visiting Canada’s east coast, Russia, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and California. Rita was devastated when her son John died at 38. She carried him in her heart as long as she lived. Rita loved tending roses, wearing beautiful clothing and shoes, and having her hair done. She prayed for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren by name. She often sang, “So Nimm Denn Meine Hände” (Take Thou My Hand, O Father). In 2016, Rita moved into Tabor Court, and later to Tabor Home. She never complained even during months of pandemic isolation. God granted Rita her wish to die peacefully in her sleep.

  • Birth: April 6, 1928
  • Birthplace:
    Alexanderwohl, Ukraine
  • Death: January 4, 2023
  • Parents:
    Gerhard & Elizebeth Peters
  • Married:
    Jacob Wiens, Mar. 21, 1953
  • Family:
    children John [d. 1996], Harry, Marlene (Edward) Becker, Edward (Lee Ann); 12 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; siblings Kaethe Peters, Dan Peters, Elisabeth Klassen
  • Church:
    Clearbrook, Abbotsford, B.C.