Obituary of Clara Koop
Clara Fast was born on January 3, 1933 to John and Maria Fast. Mom was the middle of 12 siblings. When Mom was 12 years of age her baby sister Sara passed away. Three days later her mother, our grandmother Maria passed away. This was a very difficult time for Mom and her family. Mom told us that many times she would carry her youngest sister Tina and walk to the end of the road waiting for her Mom to come home...but she never came.
As a teenager Mom worked with the telephone system that was located in the store owned by Grandpa Fast. Mom also often talked of traveling with the girls to pick fruit in Ontario and the family trip to Mexico to visit her Siblings.
Mom married our Dad, John Koop on September 12, 1954. Together they had nine children, Marvin, Elaine, Audrey, Karen, Darrel, Lucille, Waldon, Sylvia, Reynold.
Early in their marriage Dad attended Steinbach Bible School. It was during this time that their infant Karen passed away. Mom spent many exhausting days looking after their sick little baby. She recently shared how difficult and painful it was to watch her Dad carry their little Karen to the graveyard.
Mom and Dad resided in Kleefeld where their first seven children were born.
Following graduation Mom and Dad moved to Canora, Saskatchewan to assist with a New Mission Church. They stayed a year and then moved their growing family to Kamsack, Saskatchewan. It was here that Dad was ordained into the ministry. The youngest two children were born in Kamsack.
Our family then moved to MacGregor, Manitoba where Mom continued to support Dad in his calling to be a pastor. Mom and Dad enjoyed the community and felt very positive about raising their children there. MacGregor was our home. A big garden was always part of Mom's life and she taught us to share in the work of the garden and also enjoy the fruits and vegetables it brought. Sunday dessert was frequently a walk through the garden picking strawberries. And her goal was to have 52 packages of frozen peas and corn and 52 jars of canned green beans, that would give at least 3 suppers of veggies each week. We shelled a lot of peas.
Mom’s hospitality was well known by our friends who came by after school for fresh baked snacks. Sunday dinners were shared with friends both those we knew well and strangers who quickly became friends. Mom’s hospitality was her gift in supporting Dad in the ministry.
Mom opened our home to many young people who for various reasons needed a safe landing place. In Kamsack Mom provided refuge for a young man named Jim, in MacGregor Cindy came to stay and in Vanderhoof Judy moved in for a few months. This was not uncommon in our home. We lived close to the #1 highway so many wanderers stopped in for a warm meal and were often invited to spend the night.
Mom allowed for and encouraged our creativity, building with any tools, spray paint and wood pieces we could muster. To check on the colour of the paint we just sprayed against the basement cement wall. The boys used diamond willow to make lamps, broken beer bottles for the glass poodles, plaster of paris molding and mom’s sewing scraps to make Barbie clothes.
To break the glass we sometimes used a pillow case to smash the glass to a fine consistency.
When Elaine and Audrey were teenagers Mom had the girls hem their own skirts. Mom assisted with the pinning but the girls shortened them up just a little. If Mom was aware she never let on.
We moved from MacGregor to Vanderhoof, BC in 1978, it was a difficult move leaving Marvin & Evelyn, Elaine & Harold and her two granddaughters, as well as many friends and acquaintances.
Mom and Dad stayed in Vanderhoof until 1985 then moved to Winnipeg for Dad to continue his studies and Mom continued to be his right hand. Mom was very supportive of dad continuing his education and she took on some jobs to help supplement their income. She worked at cleaning homes, making wareneki at Mennonite Heritage Museum and cooks helper at Steinbach Bible College.
January 8, 1995 was a very dark day when we lost our dear Elaine. This was the most difficult challenge for our family and continues to be a pivotal event in our lives.
In 2001, Mom and Dad moved to Oasis Mexico, to help with a new EMC church plant. It was here that Mom noticed that Dad’s memory was fading. In January of 2003, mom collapsed during the night and was taken to hospital in Chihuahua Mexico where she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. She underwent a 9-hour surgery. She was flown to Winnipeg and admitted to Health Sciences Centre for her recovery. With Mom's determination, encouragement, love and support from family she made a full recovery.
Mom and Dad retired in Kleefeld. Alzheimer’s continued to rob Dad of his memory and Mom became his caregiver. Woodhaven in Steinbach became their new home in 2012. Mom took care of Dad as long as she could, after three years Dad moved to Resthaven. That was very difficult for Mom. She spent many hours with him, he was the love of her life. Dad passed away in January of 2019 after a long journey through Alzheimer's disease.
When COVID threatened to close facilities and ultimately families access to Mom, she went to have extended visits with her children, spending several months away from her home in Woodhaven. Her children were given the opportunity to spend this time with Mom that might otherwise not have been. For this we are grateful.
Mom moved from Woodhaven to Niverville just two short weeks before her passing. She was content to make the move. She felt very honoured when the care workers would come to escort her to dinner.
Mom and Dad’s shared faith in God was abundantly evident. They cared deeply for their children and the world around us. Our home was a safe place to grow, filled with love, laughter and a deep respect for the Christian faith.
Mom passed away on Sunday, February 28, 2021. She leaves to mourn her children Marvin & Evelyn, Harold & Mary, Audrey & David, Darrel & Margi, Lucille & Thomas, Waldon & Carol, Sylvia & Michael, Reynold & Dawn; 27 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren, four sisters, 15 sisters-in-law, 12 brothers-in-law and a large extended family.
We as a family wish to express our gratitude to the home care staff at Woodhaven, Niverville Credit Union Manor and Dr. Karen Toews for their excellent care for our Mom.
A come and go viewing for 10 people at a time, will be held on Thursday, March 4, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB. Please remain in your vehicles until directed inside.
Please join the family via livestream on Friday, March 5, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. by visiting the following link at the time of the service. https://www.oneroomstreaming.com/view/authorise.php?k=1614721272103617
The livestream will be available for 90 days following the service.
Interment will take place at the Kleefeld EMC Cemetery, Kleefeld, MB.
Donations in memory of Clara may be made to the E.M.C Conference.