Obituary of Mary Penner
Mary was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 2, 1934, the second of five children. She grew up on the farm, first in Oak Bluff and later in Springstein. Life was “hard” we were told. Her mother had four children in less then five years. Sometimes food was scarce and clothes were always well worn. There were no modern amenities such as running water, electricity or furnaces so days were filled with chores and responsibilities and studies. Sundays, a day set aside for a time of gathering, worshipping and hearing God’s Word, was essential to the family. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mom received Jesus as her Savior at an early age.
In 1952, when the family moved off the farm and settled in the Elmwood area on Cobourg Ave, Mom tasted and experienced the city life. So in 1954, when the decision was made to return to farming in Sanford, Mom was quite content to stay back and continue her life in Winnipeg where there was running water, electricity and a furnace.
Mom’s first job was with Eaton’s in the Mail Order Department where she worked until 1958. In August 1956, a fine young man named John Penner came along and swept her off her feet. They were married in June 1957. God blessed them with four children: Ronald, Richard, Robert, and Darlene.
An outward declaration of who Jesus Christ was in Mom’s life came in 1956 when she was baptized on the confession of her faith and joined the Southend Mennonite Brethren Church. Later, Mom and Dad moved with a large group of members to start the Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church where they remained members to this day.
With three rambunctious sons and one sweet, adorable daughter, Mom’s control of situations at home may have ended with these 7 defining words. “You wait till your father gets home”. With that spoken, there was suddenly peace and harmony in the home.
God blessed Mom with the gift of hospitality. She loved to serve God by serving people. 1 Peter 4: 10-11. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Mom found much joy in the kitchen, preparing food for family, extended family gatherings and church fellowship meals. No visitor left her home hungry; there was always a spread of home made, home cooked food available. Her comfort zone was working in the background, making sure everything was perfect.
Mom’s personal life was quiet, private, and reverent, yet she understood there is a spiritual battle in our world and thus she rose up as a prayer warrior who daily spent time with God.
Prior to Mom’s passing, she was predeceased by both sets of parents, one sister, one grandson - Jamie Penner, numerous sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, a nephew and a great nephew.
Mom passed away peacefully with family by her side at the Health Science Center, Tuesday, December 5, 2023. She is lovingly remembered by her husband John, children Ronald and Heather Penner, Richard and Kathy Penner, Robert and Shirley Penner, and Darlene Penner, nine grandchildren and their spouses, 17 great-grandchildren, three brothers, one brother-in-law and five sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.
Mom was very thankful and grateful to God for His love, grace and mercy that renewed her each and every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Her desire was that her family and friends too would live in the same Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love found only in the name of Jesus.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2023, at 12:00 noon, at Portage Avenue Church, 1420 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB. To join the family via livestream, click HERE prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the charity of your choice.