Obituary of Gerhard Wall
Gerhard Wall passed away peacefully in his favourite chair on Wednesday May 3rd, 2023 at the age of 93. Born March 8, 1930 in the village of New York, Shumanovka Colony, Amur Region/Russia, Gerhard’s parents and their whole village immigrated to Paraguay via Harbin, China, arriving when he was 2. Among the early settlers in Village 17 of Fernheim Colony, Gerhard grew up during the pioneering efforts of many Mennonite settlers in the barren wasteland of the Chaco dessert, witnessing the early development of what is now a thriving and prosperous community. Along with many of the children of his day, Gerhard was charged with the task of keeping the parrots away from the crops and was a marksman with his sling shot. He was a keen student, and thrived in an academic environment. When given the opportunity to study in Canada, he decided to go, arriving in Winnipeg in mid February to attend higher education at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College completing The Sacred Music Course (1952), the Bachelor of Religious Education and his Teacher’s Diploma (1954). While in Winnipeg, he met and married Antonie (Toni) Steingart. Upon graduating, Gerhard and Toni moved with their 2 daughters, Ursula (1953) and Gudrun (1954) back to Paraguay where he served the local Mennonite Churches and schools. It was here that Paul (1956) and Konrad (1957) were born.
Moving to Brasil, Gerhard continued teaching in the Mennonite Schools and Churches, holding workshops, leading and rehearsing numerous choirs and instrumental groups throughout the Mennonite communities in Brasil. It was there that Orlando (1963) was born, completing their family with 5 beautiful children. Gerhard earned his Diploma de Curso from the Conservatório Estadual de Canto Orfeõnico do Paraná and was later offered a position, which he declined in order to serve the Lord in Christian Education. Leaving Brasil in 1966 due to health concerns, Gerhard and Toni eventually settled in Kitchener where he earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1969 from Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier), allowing him to teach at Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario. His devotion over the years to this teaching ministry was supported by Toni, making it possible for him to fulfill what they felt was his God-given mission, touching the lives of countless people.
After leaving Emmanuel Bible College, he and Toni moved to BC for several years, returning to Kitchener, and then on to St. Catharines where they lived at Tabor Manor, both continuing to teach the Bible through Correspondence Courses and living out their remaining days. Tabor was a wonderful home for them and they always appreciated the incredible support they received there.
Gerhard’s life was characterized by energy and purpose. He was vitally interested in politics, music, was a voracious reader on all subjects and loved technology. Even to the end, he was pairing Apple devices, reading and listening to books and trying to understand the world, focusing on working on his inner being after a lifetime of doing. His faith in Jesus was paramount and carried him through to the very end where, despite his weaknesses, he tried his very best to live Soli deo Gloria - for the glory of God. He is predeceased by his wife, Antonie (1925-2006), his daughter Ursula (1953-2007) and daughter Gudrun (1954-2019), brother Peter, sister Lena, survived by his devoted sister, Mika, his son Paul (Jackie), his son Konrad (Mary), his son Orlando (Tammy), son-in-law Raymond, grandchildren Vanessa (Andrew), Joshua, Brian (Brianna), Jordan (Karen), Heidi (Brent), Karley (Andrew), Olivia, Tyler (Baylee ), Rylie and 10 great grandchildren with a few on the way.
Celebration of life will take place on Sunday May 28th, 2023 at 3:00 pm at Scott Street Church, 339 Scott Street, St. Catharines, ON. Refreshments to follow.