Mary Epp
Mary Epp

Obituary of Mary Epp

Epp, Mary (Nee Maria Wall) - It is with celebration that we remember the life of Mary Epp who passed away on January 23, 2024 at the age of 95 years.  Mary was born in Orloff, Russia (Trakt Mennonite Settlement near the Volga River) on July 24, 1928, the 8th of 9 children, to Bernhard and Anna (Nee Isaac) Wall.


The young Wall family was torn apart starting in 1934 when Mary’s father Bernhard was taken to a Russian prison for eight years. In 1936 Mary’s mother Anna visited the prison and heard about a settlement of Mennonites in present day Ukraine called the “Molotschna”, where planting and harvesting were more productive. In the Spring of 1937, they left Orloff and made their start for a home in “Alexanderkrone”, and then in 1939, the family, now with 5 children, moved 30 km away to “Sparrau”.


When WWII started, the times became even harder. On Sept 3rd 1941, men over 16 years of age (Mary’s brother John) were marched out of the villages and by 1943 Anna was now fleeing with only her 3 youngest daughters (Emily, Mary and Meta) for Poland, with the aid of German soldiers that had pushed back the Russian forces. During the next years they worked when they could, and moved around to avoid the fighting, pretended they couldn’t understand Russian, and survived many frightening situations. In 1947 they finally escaped occupied Poland into the “English zone” and made their way to Kiel, Germany, the home of C.J. Dyke who helped them on their way to the MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) camp in Gronau. Here they were reunited with Mary’s sister Erna who had fled from Sparrau separately and made it to Denmark. Mary’s final year in Europe was spent working in a kitchen, with her sister Emily working in the laundry at an MCC home in Krefeld, Germany. Her mother, in Gronau, was sorting out sponsorship paperwork with Uncle Johannes Isaac, living in Canada, to await the ocean voyage to a new life.


Mary arrived in Canada on August 20th, 1948 with her Mother Anna and sisters Erna, Emily and Meta.  After those difficult years it was wonderful to join the Mennonite community in Virgil, Ontario where Mary soon met Henry J. Epp at the Niagara United Mennonite Church. They married there on May 5, 1951. Their first four children were born in Niagara and then in 1959 they moved north to Powassan, in Chisholm township, where they bought a farm. Here they had three more children and along the way, at Mary’s behest, became dairy farmers.


Mary enjoyed serving God by simply doing her work quietly and diligently. She was an excellent homemaker. In her very scant free time she enjoyed bible study, women’s groups, volunteer services, knitting mittens and slippers for her children and sewing school bags that were donated to children overseas by the Mennonite Central Committee.  She also enjoyed singing: at church, on her own while doing her daily chores, or with her three sisters (Erna, Emily and Meta) who could harmonize with each other very nicely at family gatherings. Mary was reconnected with her father, brother John and sister Anna, who were still in Russia, through letter writing. In 1971 Mary’s husband Henry took her to Russia on a tour where they had opportunities to visit the left behind family members. This was the first of several holidays they managed to take together. When Henry and Mary’s eldest son Ben (and family) purchased the Chisholm farm in 1982, they moved back to Niagara but kept a cottage on the farmland for summer visits. Henry and Mary were one of the first inhabitants of the Virgil Creekview Apartments attached to Pleasant Manor in 2003. After Henry passed in 2012, Mary soon moved into a room in Pleasant Manor Nursing home and in 2019 we moved her again to Heidehof Nursing home in St Catharines, Ontario.


Mary is predeceased by her husband Henry J. Epp (April 2012), her sons; Walter Epp (Aug 1971), and Henry Epp (April 2017), her siblings; Helen (stillborn), Klara (Erna’s twin – 18 mths old), Erna, Katarina, Anna, and John.


Mary is survived by

5 of her 7 children: Helen Martin (Fred), Ben Epp (Barb), Anne Latour (James), Vic Epp, and Rose Epp.

2 daughters in law; Karen Hillis and Carrie Epp

12 Grandchildren: Eli Epp, Nicolas Martin, Sandy Martin, Troy Martin, Andrew Epp (Genevieve), Katie Lamport (Dave), Kayla Mudde (Rob), James Epp (Denice), Jessica Louis, Gavin Epp, Shane Epp (Sam) and Devan Epp

15 Great grandchildren: Hailey, Odin, Andin, Olivia, Alex, Hudson, Max, Chloe, Phoebe, Adia, Rusty, Emmett, William, Clara, and Lucy.

Her siblings: Emily Pauls, Meta Schmidt, Sister in-law Lena Epp, and many nieces, and nephews.


She will be greatly missed and remembered well until we meet again.


Our heartfelt thanks to the staff at Heidehof Nursing home for their loving kindness and support in keeping Mary comfortable and entertained these last years. 


A private interment will be held at the Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery. With a Service to follow in the spring of this year.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mennonite Central Committee or Mennonite Disaster Service, two organizations that help those who have experienced social injustice or natural disasters. 

A Memorial Tree was planted for Mary
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Tallman Funeral Homes - Vineland
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