A Century in the Life of Steinbach’s Kehler Clan

In August, the Kehlers held a one-day reunion in the Mitchell Arena, near Steinbach. Both physically and symbolically an arena is the proper place for a Kehler clan reunion.

Mennonite Mirror, October 1979 

The Kehlers living in the wider Steinbach region are a truly remarkable clan. Not only are they as numerous as chokecherries in August, but like chokecherries they grow in dense family clusters in close proximity to each other. There the comparison breaks down. Chokecherries are silent, waiting to be picked.  The Kehlers are never silent and anything but passive. They are active, spirited and vocal – if not downright gabby. They never stop talking and when they have nothing more to say they go on talking for the sheer pleasure of it. When Kehlers get together the air turns into a whirlwind of words and laughter. As the Kehlers themselves like to say: ‘Never bury a Kehler until you’ve made sure his mouth is dead too.’

Aunt Susan takes the mike from Syd Reimer at the Kehler clan gathering in Mitchell

In August, the Kehlers held a one-day reunion in the Mitchell Arena, near Steinbach. Both physically and symbolically an arena is the proper place for a Kehler clan reunion. In this case the site was fitting for another reason. The new arena in Mitchell happens to be built on what was once the south-east corner of the original Kehler family farm. Local residents waited nervously for this momentous gathering of the clan. Many made plans to be away from home that weekend, hoping that the neighborhood would not have been declared a disaster area when they got back. Some took new comfort in the hope that their brand new arena was sturdy enough to withstand the vocal onslaughts of hundreds of celebrating Kehlers of all ages. Continue reading “A Century in the Life of Steinbach’s Kehler Clan”

From the Kehler Archives…

Here’s a poem, written by Jacob “Berliner” Kehler – date unknown, for the 100th birthday celebration of Peter Neufeld

Jacob "Berliner" Kehler

Here’s a poem, written by Jacob “Berliner” Kehler – date unknown, for the 100th birthday celebration of Peter Neufeld:

* * * * *

Ein Gedict zum 100 Jaehrigen Geburts Fest Peter Neufelds Felsenton bei Steinbach Man. Von Jacob Ketler Kehler

Ich will mit mein Wenig, vor die Versammlung treten
Ihr Brueder and Schwestern, laszt singen und beten
Denn heute wirds grad, ein Hundert Jahr,
Als dieser Alter Vater, geboren war. Continue reading “From the Kehler Archives…”

Kehler Babushka

I never knew my maternal grandfather Jacob K. Kehler, who died four years before I was born. And yet, I’ve often felt that he knew me, that he has lived inside me all these years, inspiring my love language, firing my bursts of imagination, shaping my temperament and slyly stimulating my fondness for verbal acrobatics and the telling of tall tales

 

Al Reimer
Al Reimer

By Al Reimer

I never knew my maternal grandfather Jacob K. Kehler, who died four years before I was born. And yet, I’ve often felt that he knew me, that he has lived inside me all these years, inspiring my love language, firing my bursts of imagination, shaping my temperament and slyly stimulating my fondness for verbal acrobatics and the telling of tall tales.

Why do I make this somewhat bizarre claim? Because the older I get the more strongly I can feel my immediate begetters, my parents and grandparents, wrapping themselves ever more tightly around my own identity–like those Russian (babushka) dolls that fit so snugly inside each other. And the more I think and learn about those begetters, the more intimate that feeling becomes. And the more richly satisfying the process of self-exploration becomes.

Read the rest of this article (in PDF), as published in Preservings, No.14, June, 1999

Daut Kehlash Gedicht

At the 1979 Berliner Kehler Family Reunion, Mitchell, Manitoba, the following comical Low-German poem about the eleven Kehler siblings was read by the poet Gustav Dueck, husband of Betty Stoesz Kehler.

At the 1979 Berliner Kehler Family Reunion, Mitchell, Manitoba, the following comical Low-German poem about the eleven Kehler siblings was read by the poet Gustav Dueck, husband of Betty Stoesz Kehler. Continue reading “Daut Kehlash Gedicht”

William Kehlers Celebrate

Mr and Mrs Bill Kehler celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at an open house Sunday, October 21, 1979. Approximately 200 relatives, friends and neighbours were present for the short program and luncheon.

William & Katharina Kehler
William & Katharina Kehler at their 25th Anniversary

Mr and Mrs Bill Kehler celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at an open house Sunday, October 21, 1979.  Approximately 200 relatives, friends and neighbours were present for the short program and luncheon.

They were presented with many lovely gifts and a sum of money. All of their children and grandchildren were present for the occasion.
As printed in the Carillon News

Edgar’s Diner

Who doesn’t have a memory from the famous Edgar’s Diner?  Today, on the 4th anniversary of his passing, we honour Edgar Stoesz Kehler, whose Berliner personality ignited conversation and laughter, and who loved to serve up a bowl of Borscht, a Husky Burger or a tasty veal cutlet.

Helen & Edgar Kehler
Helen & Edgar Kehler

 

Read a previous entry about Edgar’s Diner in Voices of the Prairies, a Condensed Excerpt – Reader’s Digest, 1992 >>

Record Production ~ 1969

Mrs. PK Doerksen, Mrs. Aaron Kehler
Mrs. P.K. Doerksen of Fehler Apartments, Steinbach, spent her 81st birthday much like any other day, busy with her sewing projects. Together with her friend, Mrs. Aaron Kehler, who also resides in the apartments, the ladies have made 30 aprons, ten pairs of socks, five quilts and several dolls since Christmas. That must be a record production for the two women both past 75 years of age. The ladies take turns making meals for each other in their apartments, and cheering each other up when the need arises. Mrs. P. K. Doerksen has been a patient in the Extended Care Unit of the Bethesda for the last year and a half. Mrs. Kehler is a widow. – The Carillon News

Conservative or New Democrat?

It’s speculation perhaps, but if “Berliner” Kehler’s political favour rested within the boundaries of the Conservatives, how easily would he have crossed the room to support strong ties with that of his descendants?

In 1969, Ed Schreyer persuaded Elmer (Al) Reimer, 42, grandson of “Berliner” Kehler, to run in the La Verendrye riding, which included Steinbach.  Al Reimer had respectable academic credentials, elevating NDP favour.  While English Professor Al’s political career failed to get off the ground, his academic career was later deemed highly successful.  This ad was found in The Carillon News, June 1969.

Elmer (Al) Reimer

More about Al Reimer.