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JOHN J. OLFERT (published on May 19, 2009)

JOHN J. OLFERT Peacefully on May 15, 2009, John Olfert at the age of 96 passed into his eternal home. John Olfert was born to Johann and Aganetha (Penner) Olfert in the village of Steinfelt, Baratow Shlachtin in southern Russia on March 29, 1913. He was one of four children born but only he and his sister Tina survived early childhood. Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1926, he became a brother to three foster children, Maria Reimer, Katja Klassen, and Dietrich Enns. The family with five children arrived in Canada at Quebec City on November 1, 1926 and first moved in with the Franz Warkentins (a sister to John's father) at Brunkild, Manitoba. Some months later the family along with other families moved to a new farming settlement near Sperling. While this community remained nameless, it was referred to as The Bunch by the neighbors in the surrounding community. This became home and remained such until the fall of 1955. It was here where John, together with his parents, was baptised on confession of his faith and joined the local Mennonite Brethren Church. On October 9, 1937 John married Maria Froese daughter of David and Justina Froese of Grunthal. They settled on the parent's farm at Sperling and farmed with John's parents until the passing of his father April 30, 1943. John took over the farm and its operation while his mother, Aganetha, and sister, Tina, moved to Steinbach. They farmed the parental farm and raised a family of six until the passing of Maria on May 20, 1955. Following the passing of Maria, John's mother and sister came to live with and assist the family. In October of 1955 John moved his family to Winnipeg. Here he bought a house at 223 Edison Avenue in North Kildonan. The North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church became their church home. The move to Winnipeg in 1955 resulted in a new way of making a living, i.e. a change from farming to factory work. For a number of years he did the farming himself, then rented out the land and eventually sold the farm. Life changed for John when he met Elizabeth (Betty) Enns, daughter of Heinrich and Elizabeth (Falk) Enns of Vancouver. Betty lived in Winnipeg. It didn't take long when on March 10, 1956 they were married in the Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church. Life changed even more with the arrival of Art on September 15, 1957 and Ruth on August 2, 1960. In 1956 John began work at Ideal Brass and Plating Company. Following 14 years at Ideal the opportunity opened for him to work at Donwood Manor in 1970. In 1983 at the age of 70 John retired after 13 years of enjoyable work at Donwood. He took ownership and pride in his work at an institution that would someday be his home. Then came the change on February 12, 1998 when Betty died and even the small assisted living unit seemed empty and big. With the support of family and friends he adjusted to his new life. In 2007 he moved into Donwood Manor Personal Care Home. John received excellent care and brought a smile to the staff, family and visitors. Thank you for your visit were words that we as family members heard after every visit. Dad was not one to complain and clearly there were times when the meal served was not his favourite, but why complain because the 7-up and wafers in his room would satisfy his taste buds. John is survived by his eight children, David (Hermine), John (Agnes), Harry (Agnes), Agnes (Ed Fehr), Mary Anne (Lorne Penner), Kathy Dyck, Art (Elsie), Ruth (Arvid Loewen); 39 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, also by six sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law. He was predeceased by his parents, siblings (except as noted above) and two great-grandchildren in infancy. As the family we express special word of gratitude to the Donwood Manor staff as a whole but especially to 2 South. Funeral service will be held Wednesday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Kildonan M.B. Church, 1315 Gateway Road Winnipeg. A viewing service will be held at Donwood Manor on Tuesday, May 19, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. and at the church prior. Interment in Glen Eden Memorial Gardens In lieu of flowers donations to the Donwood Manor Chaplaincy Program.

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