Obituary of Helen Letkemann
Helen Letkemann passed away peacefully on Tuesday December 13 at Heritage Place in Virgil, Ontario at the age of 96.
Mom was born on November 21, 1926 in Plum Coulee, Manitoba and was the eldest daughter of Jacob and Justina (Suderman) Hoeppner. She was the oldest of 13 children and was put to work early helping with the farm work and taking care of her younger siblings. She was a hard worker and never complained about helping her dad, although in her later years she told us that it was gruelling work and difficult for a young girl. She also had other jobs as she grew older, helping as a housekeeper/child minder for some time for her Uncle Jacob and later with the Wiens family. When she was old enough, she and her sister Margie came to Ontario for seasonal work at the Boese canning factory. During one of these visits, she met her future husband Abe Letkemann. On July 31,1950 Mom and Dad were married in Winkler, Manitoba, a union that was to last 60 years before Dad’s passing in 2010. They made their first home in St. Catharines and became members of the St. Catharines United Mennonite Church. As a young couple, they took on the task of constructing their own first house on Vansickle Road in St. Catharines. During this time their family grew, with the arrival of Richard in 1958 and Douglas in 1960.
In 1962 the family moved to Niagara Falls where they would reside for more than 40 years. During this time they transferred their church membership to Bethany Mennonite Church, where Mom remained a member until her passing. One of her legacies is that of Communion Bread baker for almost 40 years. She would wake up extremely early on the Sunday morning of Communion and freshly bake the Communion Bread, using her trusted thimble to portion them. She was always eager to volunteer, and in her later years volunteered to feed the “old people” at Heritage Place and to work at the Benefit Shop, a place that was near and dear to her heart.
Mom proudly enjoyed working as a School Bus Driver for the Catholic School Board in Niagara Falls for many years and had a wonderful manner with the kids that she drove, all the while letting them know that they couldn’t get much past her on her watch!! In addition, she was an amazing Driving Instructor, a patient teacher who insisted that all driving rules be followed at all times.
She was a wonderful Nana to Sarah, Bryan and Jeremy. In addition to her amazing cooking and baking skills, she was an excellent seamstress and often made amazing outfits for the kids, along with some great Halloween costumes. They were able to spend wonderful weekends with Nana and Papa and enjoyed many wonderful memories of time with her. Under her tutelage they learned how to lose at Crokinole and Chinese Checkers! Some of Sarah and Bryan’s best memories are of our trips driving out west to visit family in Manitoba, riding with Nana and Papa and talking on the CB and sharing roadside picnics on the way.
Mom enjoyed very good health until the last few years when she started to suffer from dementia, which necessitated a move first to Assisted Living at Pleasant Manor and then to Long Term Care at Heritage Place. Here she enjoyed wonderful, loving care from the nurses and staff for which we will be forever grateful.
She leaves behind her son Richard (Cathy) Letkemann, her grandchildren Sarah Letkemann (Jacob Horton), Bryan (Brittany) Letkemann and Jeremy (Caley) Letkemann and 5 great-grandchildren Haley, Graham, Wyatt, Nora and Emmett. She is also survived by her sisters Sarah Kemp and Doris Hamm and brothers John, Abe (Ruth), Don (Marlene), and Dave (Betty) Hoeppner and sisters-in law Erna Hamilton, Jessie Enns and Ann Sargant and many nephews and nieces. Pre-deceased by her husband Abe (2010), her son Douglas (2019), her sisters Margie Funk, Katie Hamm, Jean Morris and Diane Braun; brothers Jim and Pete Hoeppner, brothers-in-law George Funk, Bruno Hamm, Jim Kemp, Edwin Morris, Bert Hamm, Charlie Braun, Peter Letkemann, Leo Enns and William “Sarge” Sargant, sisters-in-law Tina and Verna Hoeppner and Kay Letkemann.
We would like to thank the wonderful nurses and staff at Pleasant Manor and Heritage Place who cared for Mom so lovingly over the past few years and to everyone who has been so kind in helping Mom. So many people have told us how much she was loved, and we are sure she felt your love right up until her passing.
Wife of 60 years to Abe, loving and supporting mother to Richard and Douglas, beloved Nana to Sarah, Bryan and Jeremy, and great-grandmother to Haley, Graham, Wyatt, Nora and Emmett. Rest in Peace.
A Funeral Service in celebration of her life will be held at Bethany Mennonite Church, Virgil, Ontario on Saturday December 17 at 2:00 p.m., with visitation at the church one hour prior, beginning at 1:00 p.m. A private interment with family only will be held on Monday December 19 at Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Memorial contributions in memory of Helen may be made to MCC Canada.