The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 05/22/2018 1:11 PM
May 25, 1934 - May 18, 2018
Agnes Kroeker of Steinbach, age 83, passed away at Resthaven Nursing Home on Friday, May 18, 2018. She was dearly loved and will be profoundly missed by her husband Clarence and their children: Bev and Frank Klassen and their children Jodi and Dan Zilinski with Carter, Cassandra and Nate, Brennan and Michelle Klassen with Tyler, Dylan, Brady and Bryce; Wayne and Arlene Kroeker and their children Chrystie Kroeker Boggs and Richard Boggs with Ellie, Cherise and Jarret Procter with Zachary and Clara; Marilyn Kroeker and her children Jenna and Ellery Burton; Priscilla Kroeker; Barbara and Ross Klassen and their children Stephanie and Eric McLean with Jackson, Chelsea and Andrew Maronese.
Agnes was predeceased by daughter Bonnie, sons Gerald and Alden, and sister Hilda.
Agnes was born on May 25, 1934 in Gruenfeld, Russia to Susanna (Ketler) and Jakob Siemens. To escape religious persecution during World War II, twelve-year-old Agnes fled Russia with her family to immigrate to Canada. During the treacherous journey, Agnes’s infant brother died, and her father was captured by the Red Army. Agnes, her mother and sister arrived safely in Canada in 1947 and worked hard to establish a new life.
While working at Johnny’s Grill, a handsome taxi driver named Clarence offered 18-year-old Agnes a ride home and a romance blossomed. Clarence and Agnes were married on August 12, 1952. The couple was blessed with six children.
Agnes worked at home raising her children until 1967. She then began working as a waitress at Edgar’s Diner. Agnes brought her joy and energy to each table she served. Edgar quickly realized Agnes was also a talented cook and she then alternated between back and front of house. Agnes transferred her restaurant skills to Miller’s Restaurant and Uncle Jake’s. In 1985, Agnes purchased the Mall Restaurant with her daughter Bev. There, Agnes was a light to those who arrived at the counter. She ensured that everyone was well fed and genuinely cared for. Agnes’s children and grandchildren worked together catering banquets, bringing the family closer together. Countless pink napkins were fan-folded at family gatherings!
Agnes was an active member of the Steinbach EMC. Many children were captivated by her stories and enthusiastic singing while she taught Sunday School. Agnes also sang in a double trio for many years and assisted with the food committee at church. Agnes lived out her faith through her hands, feet and ever-open arms. She sought out those on the fringes and made sure they knew Jesus loved them. She opened up the Mall Restaurant on Sunday mornings for Bible Study as a way to minister to those who felt uncomfortable at church. Agnes was also a faithful prayer warrior.
While Agnes had an unparalleled work ethic, she also knew how to holiday! In 1975, the Kroeker family started the cherished tradition of spending Thanksgiving in Grand Forks. At the hotel, she always had a homemade cookie to give away and an empty bed for a grandchild (or two) to sleep in. Agnes claimed Hawaii as her favourite place in the world. She and Clarence spent 12 winters there, and Agnes could usually be found on the lanai, knitting an afghan for a grandchild or new EMC baby. Travels to Europe, Panama, Alaska and Palm Springs were also highlights for Agnes.
Though Agnes was known to have a constant smile on her face, her life was not without deep heartache. Agnes had to endure burying three of her six children—six-year-old daughter Bonnie in 1980, son Gerald in 2001 and son Alden in 2004. It was Agnes’s faith in God and assurance that she would see her children again in heaven that gave her the strength to carry on after these profound losses. Agnes’ family finds indescribable comfort knowing that she is now embracing her much-loved children in heaven!
Agnes fiercely loved her family. She tirelessly cared for and showered love upon her children, especially as Clarence was often on the road for days at a time as a long-distance truck driver. Agnes always put her family first and provided a loving and nurturing home. She adored her grandchildren (and they adored her!). The family would gather for after-church lunch every Sunday and Agnes would lay out a feast every week. The dining room was full and loud and overflowing with love. Once retired, Clarence and Agnes settled for summer at Lilac Resort where the family would gather for wiener roasts and swimming. Nothing pleased Agnes more than to feed and love on her family.
In January, because of failing health and memory, Agnes moved to Resthaven Nursing Home. The staff and nurses at Resthaven cared wonderfully for Agnes and she was very happy there. Though her passing felt sudden, it was not surprising to Jesus, who was waiting for her with open arms. While Clarence, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will miss her deeply, they are completely confident that Agnes is now healed and whole, praising her Saviour all the day long.
The funeral service was held on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Steinbach Evangelical Mennonite Church at 422 Main Street, Steinbach.
If friends desire, donations in memory of Agnes may be made to the Haven Group Foundation or to Evangelical Mennonite Conference Missions.
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