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Leo Penner

Posted: 03/27/2019 8:14 AM

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Mar. 25, 1941-Mar. 19, 2019

Leo Penner was welcomed to his eternal home in glory on Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2019, at the age of 77, after battling cancer.

He was born in Blumenort on Mar. 25, 1941 to Bernhard and Annie Penner. He married Erma Friesen on Sept. 14, 1963 and they were blessed with 55 years together. Their example of love and faithfulness will forever be a blessing and inspiration for their family.

He is survived by his beloved wife Erma; daughter Shirley and Danny Reimer of Blumenort, MB; daughter Melanie Frayle of Blumenort, MB; son Kenley and Carla Penner of St Joseph, MI; and daughter LaDawn and Mark Venema of Hudsonville, MI. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, one brother, one son-in-law, one granddaughter, and one great-grandson. He is also survived by five sisters, Bertha and David Plett, Betty and Leo Plett, Lottie and Menno Reimer, Lillie Penner, and Emily and Donald Fast; one sister-in-law, Lorna Penner; and one brother, Larry and Eleanor Penner.

Leo had great peace in knowing Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour. His devotion to showing the love and compassion of Jesus was evident to everyone he met. He regularly commented how blessed and comforted he was to know that his children and grandchildren also knew Jesus as their Lord.

Leo was raised on the family farm in Blumenort and was blessed to purchase the farm, which he and his brother Larry operated and grew together for many years. After selling his share of the dairy farm to his brother, he and his friend Jim Wiebe ran a haying business together called P&W Hay Farms. Even after retirement, Leo kept busy with a variety of casual work and volunteer opportunities.

Mission opportunities were important to Leo. He went to Haiti where his daughter LaDawn was working, and went to Mexico for house-building projects for 10 years. He went on numerous Mennonite Disaster Service trips.

He enjoyed serving on many boards. He was claimed as the unofficial Mayor of Blumenort as he was on the LUD of Blumenort committee for nearly 30 years. He served in different roles including Eagle Lake Bible Camp Board, many Blumenort EMC church committees, Oakwood Place Board, Mennonite Disaster Service Church Representative, Men’s Retreat Committee, the Board of Elite Dairy Breeders of Manitoba, and the President of Manitoba Holstein Branch (even though he humbly said he was not president material!). Leo enjoyed being part of the Southeast Tractor Club and in taking the family farm’s first tractor, the Farmal W-4, on the annual Tractor Trek.

Leo helped initiate and deepen the relationship between the Blumenort EMC and the White Dog First Nation. As well, Leo was instrumental in helping bring several refugee families to Canada. It was always evident throughout Leo’s life that he had a passionate and authentic love for people regardless of their age, nationality or location; people were his life.

Leo loved and cherished his family. His greatest joy was investing in the lives of his children and grandchildren. It became a tradition to treat his grandchildren to breakfast on their birthdays. He instilled a strong work ethic in his children and modeled many valuable life lessons, including how to compassionately help others and the importance of taking time to have fun. Leo and Erma enjoyed annual winter vacations to Mexico or Hawaii while their health allowed. Leo loved to go fishing with friends, siblings, his children and grandchildren. Leo’s family loved his smile and mischievous twinkle. He loved fun and seemed to be able to turn any job or outing into something enjoyable.

If anyone needed to find Leo mid-morning, he could be found with the JT coffee shop gang solving the world’s problems. Although he enjoyed the coffee, he mostly enjoyed the company. Leo also treasured the time he spent with his siblings and Erma’s siblings. Birthday breakfasts provided an excellent opportunity to fellowship. He loved picking strawberries and blueberries and had a large garden, blessing many people with excess produce.

It was a genuine pleasure and an honour for Leo to show Christ’s love to everyone he came in contact with. Many people felt that blessing and have been deeply impacted and inspired by it. Although he was not perfect, he was a great man with Christ-like character, and he will be deeply, deeply missed.

The funeral service was held on Saturday, Mar. 23 at the Blumenort EMC Church, Blumenort, MB.

Donations in memory of Leo may be made to Eagle Lake Bible Camp.

Arrangements by
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
1-204-346-1030 or 1-888-454-1030.

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