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Erna Peters (Sawatzky)

October 9, 1928 - July 12, 2021


Erna Peters moved from room 166 at the Menno Home to her Eternal Home on July 12, 2021 at age 92.

Erna was born on October 9, 1928, in Winkler, Manitoba, the 3rd of 7 children of Jacob and Suzanna Sawatzky.  At 3 years of age, while sledding off the roof of their house, Erna split her nose open requiring stitches.  While sedated, Erna called the doctor an ‘alta nase’ (old nose), he never forgot that.

Because of hearing issues, Erna didn’t start school until she was almost 8 and completed Grade 6.  The school nurse sent her to see a hearing specialist in Winnipeg but local doctors did not complete all of the prescribed treatment regime.  Erna enjoyed sports, winning enough money at area sports day running and jumping events to buy hotdogs and ice cream for herself, her Mom and her younger siblings.

Erna’s first job was babysitting, $0.25 for 2 hours.  She tried house cleaning but didn’t like it so she switched to hoeing sugar beets at the Peters’ brother farm.  She hoed beets for others in both Manitoba and North Dakota.  Part of her earnings and money from her brother John expanded her parent’s home.

Erna enjoyed singing in the church choir and was baptized on June 9, 1946 at the Winkler Bergthaler Church.  When she was 16, she started dating a local sugar beet farmer, Charlie Peters, who was 11 years older.  Charlie was convinced she would never turn 19, but 10 days after she did, they were married on October 19, 1947.  Their first child was a stillborn daughter but in 1955, LaVerne was born followed by Lorne in 1958.  Erna said the following 10 years were the best years in her life.

Life changed dramatically when Charlie was diagnosed with Cancer, he died on May 6, 1969.  Erna remained a widow for the next 52 years.  Selling the family farm, Erna moved into town.  Fulfilling a promise to Charlie, she kept 320 acres in Manitoba until 2017 as a legacy for ‘the boys’.

Erna modeled generosity to her family.  Significant donations of money and time were what she felt was God’s will for her life.  As part of a group of volunteers from Olivet Church, she served at Woodlands Hospital / School in New Westminster for 15 years.  She was actively involved with Olivet’s Vietnamese Boat People resettlement, participated in Ladies Aid and managed Food Services for many church events and retreats.  Erna enjoyed thousands of hours volunteering for MCC  and formed many good friendships while doing so.

Erna loved traveling with her sister-in-law Tienie Peters, and friends Sarah Dyck and Lydia Mireau.  Imagine 3 mature ladies on a road trip across Canada and around the outer United States, tours to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.  Her last major trip with an Alaskan cruise with Tienie.

Erna leaves behind ‘the boys’ LaVerne (Linda) and Lorne (Beverley), adored grandchildren Alida, Karl, Evan, Brad, Delayne and Adam, great grandchildren Ethan, Joey, Makenzie, Nora, Daphne, Zoey, Daisy, Milo plus an expected boy in October.  She was predeceased by siblings Margaretha (Marge), Waldemar (Walley) and Leonard and is survived by John (Scortch), Evelyn (Ev) and Frieda.


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From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

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

From: David and Carol Voigt and family
Relation: Aunt

Deepest sympathy to all of Aunt Erna’s family. Enjoyed her visits when she came to Manitoba.

From: Frieda Voigt
Relation: Sister

Deepest sympathy on the loss of Erna. Will miss my sister very much.

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