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Elaine Mabel Zehr (Bender)

March 28, 1933 - May 22, 2020


On May 22nd, 2020, Elaine Zehr passed away peacefully at age 87 during a brief stay in the hospital being treated for diabetes related complications.

March 28, 1933 marked the beginning of Elaine’s earth-brightening journey.  Second of nine siblings, this shy, compassionate and readily smiling soul was always seeking ways to benefit others.  She is survived by her husband and companion of 62 years, Daniel Ervin Zehr; their children, Byron (Barb), Keith, Deb (Zoran); her beloved grandchildren, Megan (Adam) Thiessen, Jessica (Moses) Falco and her beautiful great-grandchildren Arianna, Briella, Marcello, David and Clara.  Elaine was pre-deceased by her parents, Melvin and Mabel (Roth) Bender and her siblings and in-laws Grace (Kenneth) Schwartzentruber, Gerald Bender, Mary (Robert) Johnston, Doreen (Jerry) Ropp, John Ropp and Ray Bender. Her surviving brother, sisters and in-laws John (Janet) Bender, Janice (Aden) Brubacher, Darlene Ropp and Verna Bender together with many dear “Zehr” in-laws, nieces and nephews join us in our mourning and in celebrating her life.

On August 17, 1957 she married Dan Zehr whose career with MCC administration often left Elaine with their three children alone while he was on overseas trips, often for weeks at a time. Through these times she was always able to find a way to balance her career with being a loving and caring mother.

Early on she had her heart set on a nursing career.  She graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Goshen College (Indiana) and obtained her RN.  She practiced nursing in Elkhart, Indiana; Strathroy, Ontario; Winnipeg and Bolivia. Throughout her career, she was known for her ability to give injections that hurt less and start IVs when others found it difficult to find the veins.  She worked in Intensive care wards for 12 of those years.  Dan could tell if she had a shift where someone had died as her feelings of compassion and sympathy showed.  This also shone through in her relationships with many friends whose lives were profoundly affected by her compassion and genuine caring.

Elaine lived a quiet but deep faith, always seeking ways to comfort and give to others.  In later years she took to sewing, knitting, cross stitching and more.  Whenever visiting others or hosting company, invariably she would offer them a hand-made dishcloth. She literally made hundreds of them and still has more than a dozen in stock.

She suffered a degree of dementia in later years but always kept her kind and pleasant nature.  During her hospitalization the nurses and doctors all commented on her sweetness and her smile. We extend appreciation to the medical team on Baker 3 and Abbotsford Regional Hospital for the care and kindness showed to her and our family during her last days. A special thank you to Dr. Husain Khambati for being compassionate to the end, sharing a special affinity for Elaine though having a short time together.

Our wife mother grandmother and great grandmother had a joy, a smile and a laugh that was effortless and genuine. It came straight from her soul and entered other people’s hearts. She is sorely missed, but through her steadfast compassion and faith she continues to speak to and love her family and countless friends. She left the world a brighter place for us all.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.

An on-line Zoom memorial service will be held on Friday, May 29th, 2020 at 1:00 PM BC / Pacific Time. To request access to join the service, please contact Moses (Elaine’s Grandson-in-law) at moses.falco@gmail.com

An in-person internment and celebration of life memorial service will be planned for a future date.


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From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Stephen Kissoon
Relation: Friend of the family.

Elaine (mom ) was a truly an extraordinary woman and was admired by everyone who knew her.
I am truly grateful to have known her and feel part of her family.
She would say, I was her other son.
During these tough times, my thoughts and prayer are with the family as you guys morn the loss of this incredible lady.

From: Wanda litwiller
Relation: Step sister

Dear Elaine
Thank you for being the worlds best stepsister .

From: Leann Goertzen Loeppky
Relation: Church friends

Dear Dan and family, It was with sadness that we received the news of Elaine’s passing. Elaine, and you Dan, became our friends when we attended AMF together and later at EMC. We will always remember Elaine’s warm smile and caring nature. One always felt encouraged after having a conversation with Elaine as she highlighted the joys of life. When our son Sam was born, she sewed a cute pair of overalls that had jungle animals on it. I remember feeling that this gift was special because it was made with love by her. May peace and comfort find you all as you walk this difficult time together. Leann and Jerry Goertzen Loeppky

From: Diedrich Toews
Relation: Friends from Crestview Fellowsihip church

Helen and I send our sincere condolences to Dan and family. What a blessing Elaine was to us when we attended Crestview Fellowship with them! Diedrich and Helen Toews

From: Tatjana

Dear Deb and Zoran, please accept our condolences on the passing of your mom and mother in law.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Prica Family

From: Brenda Cryderman
Relation: Friend of Keith’s

Sending thoughts and positive energy to Keith and family🙏

From: Sherry Ropp
Relation: She was my aunt

Auntie Elaine was always a special lady in my life. When I visited her and Uncle Dan, I always felt soo loved and cared by both of them. I will miss you. From my heart to yours. I love you always.

From: Walter and Mabel Paetkau
Relation: long time friends

Hello Dan,
Elaine was such a warm, friendly person. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. Walter and Mabel

From: Jake and Phyllis Epp
Relation: A friend.

Dear Dan, so sorry to hear that your dear Elaine passed away. It’s good to know she now is in her heavenly home with no more suffering. She will be missed. We want to offer our condolences. With love and Prayers
Jake and Phyllis Epp

Service Schedule

  Memorial Service

Date & Time:
May 29, 2020
Beginning at 1:00pm

An on-line Zoom memorial service will be held on Friday, May 29th, 2020 at 1:00 PM BC / Pacific Time. To request access to join the service, please contact Moses (Elaine’s Grandson-in-law) at moses.falco@gmail.com



Memorial Gifts

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.

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