Peacefully on October 13, 2007, Katie Kehler, daughter of the late Peter Wiebe and Margaretha Krahn and widow of David Kehler, passed away at the age of 85. Born in Barkfield, Manitoba on September 11, 1922, Katie grew up on a farm near Pansy, MB. When she was nine, the family moved to Paraguay but returned to Manitoba the following year. Katie was married June 10, 1945 to David Stoesz Kehler.
They lived in many different towns including Woodridge, Barkfield, Pine Falls, McArthur Falls, Brandon, Selkirk, Grand Rapids, Steinbach and Winnipeg, where they were long-standing members of Grant Memorial Baptist Church. Katie enjoyed many happy times visiting with family and friends, going on camping trips and cooking at Bird River and Hilbre Bible camps. Katie delighted her family with her cabbage rolls, perogies, borscht, cinnamon buns, and especially, her date cookies which she used to hide in the freezer, leading her sons to acquire a taste for frozen cookies which continues to this day! She will be sadly missed by her five sons, Raymond (Martha) of Abbotsford, Rodney (Carol) of Langley, Donald (Karen) of Fort Saskatchewan, Barry (Helen) of Winnipeg and Norman (Elizabeth) of Gimli; her eight grandchildren, Ryan, Kevin, Paul (Pamela), Jennifer (Paul Sellars), Jill, Ariann, Jeffrey and Lisa Kehler; and her four great-grandchildren, Isaak, Hannah, Sarah and Tydin Kehler. She will also be fondly remembered by her sisters, Minnie Wiebe, Nettie Martens and Margaret (Jake Wiebe), her brothers, Jake Wiebe (Anne) and Bill Wiebe (June) and her sister-in-law Agnes Wiebe; her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Peter Kehler (Eva), Maria ( Ike Giesbrecht), Betty (Gustav Dueck), Helen Kehler, Stan Kehler (Mary), Helen Hildebrandt, Ben Kehler (Martha) and Ernie Kehler; as well as many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband David in 1975 and her grandson Nathan in 1988. The funeral service will be held on Friday, October 19 at 11:00 a.m. at Grant Memorial Baptist Church, 877 Wilkes Ave., Winnipeg with interment at Brookside Cemetery.
An end of an era… Some of us were lucky enough to have been the receivers of all of the love and special care that Grandma Kae gave. For some of us, no matter where we went in our lives, wherever she lived was our home that brought us back year after year and anchored us. Here are some qualities that come to mind when thinking about her as I knew her:
Ever the practical person – I remember coming over to her place when she bought new carpets…brand new. She had the big old black scissors out to cut the corner off because it just didn’t fit right. After persuading her that we could just turn them the other way, she conceded, and the carpets were rescued! I have never known someone so no-nonsense. Anyone who had a phone conversation with her knew that she got straight to the point. With Telemarketers, there was …no point.
Ever the giving person – Grandma knew that for many of us our lives were busy and she found joy in seeing we were all looked after. In the earlier days, she made quilts for our beds. For so long, all the grandkids knew that we’d get a cheque every Christmas and could spend weeks anticipating all the exciting possibilities. Whoever left Grandma’s without some of her cookies? It was either date/matrimonial, chocolate chip, soft white or raspberry jam jams that we never grew bored of. Her specialties were chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles and a touch of anise, beet borscht, zommaborscht, cottage cheese perogies that would melt in your mouth, old-fashioned tapioca – my favorite, cinnamon rolls, and her using her chipped big old knife to cut us a piece of her favourite of Bothwell cheese as a treat.
Ever uncomplaining – The last few years were marked by physical challenges that were uncharted territory for Grandma and a little scary. No more cookies and sweets? What do you mean?! Her coffee and cookie were rituals. However, she would find stolen pleasure in her stash of non-sugar chocolate in her back closet. Grandma would never ask anyone to call, or to come visit, even as she became less able to get out on her daily walks and do routine things. She was patient with us, and never wanted us to bend over backwards for her. The days that she was in the hospital she had no choice! She was patient with her own frailties, and making the best of change. When she could only make out a few sentences a day, one was ‘gimme a beer,’ which was ironic because she didn’t drink, and just wanted to make everyone more at ease with the uneasy situation.
Ever the friend – Grandma was a friend. Just being around doing nothing with her were some of the best memories. I remember us looking into her big mirrors fascinated at our blue blueberry tongues, stuck out in childlike awe. Or, her walking me home to my Taylor Avenue apartment, and giggling how she was so stunned when the cyclists would whiz by. Or, when we’d both be up late at night eating cereal as a night snack. Or, introducing her to sushi and not getting the warning out fast enough not swallow a big bead of wasabi. There are so many memories. More recently in the hospital, having her just tapping the beats to some songs on my hand when I sang was special. And getting hugs from her right arm. Any life-changing decision meant she was the second or third phone call to be made. She told me to go after my dream of law school, which meant leaving Ottawa and an amazing job. See Grandma, all that education paid off! I’m glad she got to see that day, ….and then the day I started school again … which I have other relatives who have gone before me to thank for breaking that path. (Liz 😉 )
Ever faithful – There were countless times we would have lunch after church and talk over the sermon or talk on the phone as she listened to the radio sermon from my church in Steinbach on AM 1250. We could talk to her about anything spiritual. Grandma’s commitment and faith in Jesus was something constant that never wavered. That is a legacy passed down that is more precious than anything.
Ever and forevermore ours – Grandma would always laugh when I reminded her that an eighty-five year old car would not be doing nearly as well as she was. She had watched many people in Lindenholm as they struggled with serious illnesses and succumbed. Her body eventually gave out, but she is and will always be ours in our hearts. We are more than sad to see her leave us, but more importantly, her life is hidden in Jesus, and she is His. Amidst our earthly tears we have a heavenly hope that knows no bounds and reassures us. It is God’s everlasting restoring grace, the same grace He revealed to the exiles of Babylon long ago, that is as relevant today.
“Those of our people who have died will live again! Their bodies will come back to life. All those sleeping in their graves will wake up and sing for joy. As the sparkling dew refreshes the earth, so the Lord will revive those who have long been dead.” Isaiah 26:19 GNB.
Grandma, you’re in heaven, right now. You have a refreshed body that is not ‘on strike’ anymore. 😉 You can have Timmies on tap. 😉 You can talk to Grandpa Dave and Nathan. We’ll miss you. You are irreplaceable.
Love you Grandma,