Mary Kroeger's Obituary

[Mary Kroeger]

Mary Kroeger
1918 - 2020

Mom said she wanted to complete her life’s journey with joy. She accomplished her mission on August 24, 2020 at 101 years of age. The picture above was taken at her 100th birthday party.

Mom was a wonderful, loving mother.  She saw the uniqueness in each of us and always enjoyed who we were, frequently drawing on her good sense of humour. She supported us in our various interests and pursuits. She loved being with her grandchildren and knew how to make them feel loved and special. They appreciated hearing her stories, her wisdom and her perspectives. They depended on her prayers. Mom had a unique relationship with God that had weathered many challenges, difficulties and hardships. In these last months, when I commented on her faith, she simply said with great serenity, “I know Him.” Hers was a dynamic faith, not based on convention, but on a deep and growing knowledge of her God. She had unwavering confidence in Him and depended totally on Him.

Mary Kroeger was born on September 25, 1918, in Winkler, Manitoba during the Spanish influenza pandemic. She was the third child of nine born to Abram and Elizabeth Kroeker. Walter (Madeline), Alfred (Margaret), Edwin (Emily), Peter (Ruth), Loreen Redekop (Bill), Viola Bock (Bill), Donald (Eileen), and Betty Thiessen (Willard). She adored her four children, Ed (Lori), Dorothy Caldwell (Ralph), Bev Lewis (Rika) and Marilyn Krahn (Peter), her honourary son David Pang (Jenny), her ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and the spouses they brought into the family.

Mom went to school by horse and buggy. Her father was both a teacher and a farmer, and Mom had a lot of interesting experiences with his students. Living on the farm, Mom learned the meaning of hard work early in life, but she also enjoyed a home of faith, singing, laughter and generosity.

After high school, which she took by correspondence, Mom trained as a nurse at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. She hated hearing many of the nurses complain, so she resolved never to complain. This meant she was given extra work, resulting in her contracting polio at age 25. She was bedridden for six months with a fatigue that was almost tangible.

Meanwhile, Ernie Kroeger was at Winkler Bible school, a student of A.A. Kroeker. Mom and Dad fell in love. After Mom graduated from St. Boniface Hospital as a registered nurse in 1943, they married. They enjoyed 70 years plus one month of marriage together, and we continue to think of their marriage when we think of true, lasting love.

When World War II began, Mom and Dad worked at Nelson House, Manitoba, he as a teacher and she as a nurse. They shared a home with Mom’s brother, Alfred, and his wife, Margaret. It was a long journey of portages to get there from Winnipeg, and she must have been grateful to be able to fly when she travelled to Winnipeg in order to give birth to Ed. As far as Mom remembered, that was the only time that Mom and Dad were separated overnight until Dad died.

After the war, Dad taught at various rural schools in Manitoba, and they were blessed with three more children. Raising four children kept Mom very busy. In 1961, they moved to Winnipeg where Dad taught in the Seven Oaks school division until he retired.

Mom’s faith was always the foundation of her life. She had been baptized at the age of 12, and she always wanted to love God, know truth and follow Him, whatever the cost.

Back in Winnipeg, she became involved with Pioneer Girls, outreach into the community, and later helped start Women’s Aglow. She was very involved in teaching Bible studies. During this time, Mom and Dad were delighted to welcome grandchildren into their lives.

One night in 1978, God spoke to Dad, saying that they were to go to China. The same night, God impressed upon Mom that she was supposed to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Mom and Dad did not have natural gifts or interests to do this, but God enabled them and did many miracles in order to accomplish this. They spent 13 years in China and Hong Kong teaching English to many students and showing them God’s love. It was difficult for them to be away from family, but they enjoyed devoting every other summer to us. They also sponsored David, one of their students in China, to come to Canada. He lived with us (Rika and Bev) for several years and became a loving son to Mom and Dad.

Mom began writing teachings both for educational and spiritual purposes. In the 1990s, she saw Pete using a computer, and she marvelled at its advantages. She was in her late 60s when she first purchased a computer in Hong Kong. Her high school students helped her when she needed it, and soon she mastered the word processor. Mom was always eager to learn new things, even attempting rollerblading at the age of 80. (Although once was enough!)

Even at 101, virtually blind and with a hand tremor, Mom would touch-type very carefully and accurately to email people and write articles for her website ( She was still living on her own and teaching two weekly Bible studies until April 2020. Her theme was the love of God, which is to us and in us. To her, worshipping God included obedience to Him with love.

After Dad died in 2013, Mom faced life alone and blind at the age of 95. They had truly been one. She told God she wanted to die too, but God told her He had more to do in her and through her, and that she should not be led by her feelings. He said that she was not the centre of her universe, that He was. Mom lived by this for the rest of her life, and she rejoiced in God’s tender care for her. We were inspired by her courage.

Mom spent her last seven years teaching, encouraging and writing. In her quest for truth, she would Google a topic and read it letter by letter with a magnifying glass held up to a large monitor. For years, I called her morning and evening, and she was always a source of strength.

When Mom was diagnosed with advanced cancer in April 2020, she soldiered on with caring for others. Her Bible studies were discontinued because of the coronavirus, her second pandemic.  A day before her death, when she lay on her bed so tired, she would still rally to respond to FaceTime with family, asking how they were doing and encouraging them.

The last days were precious and sweet. When we were sorry things were so difficult for her, she said she had nothing to complain about, that she was surrounded by love and was well taken care of. Whenever we helped her do something painful, she would whisper thank you. I commented on her lack of feeling sorry for herself. “It’s more fun that way,” she said.

When children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren visited or FaceTimed her, Mom always asked specific questions about their lives and told them she was praying for them. Many of us gathered around her bed to sing hymns, tell stories and share laughter in those last few days. She loved it all. One of the last things she said was, “We are a family of love.”

She resolutely wanted to stay here to complete her course, no matter the suffering. As her body got more frail, the light in her shone more brightly. When she saw her life was almost completed, she welcomed her imminent departure with great joy, happy with the thought of being with the Lord in a new and exciting way.

With Marilyn, Celena and Bev by her side, she left us very peacefully.

Mom’s face radiated peace and joy to all she met. She was gracious, forgiving and thankful. No matter what she faced, she did not entertain fear. She had a heart of compassion that always wanted to give and encourage, despite any personal cost. We will all miss her strength and unconditional love, even as we rejoice with her.

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The family would like to thank Dr. Rizk as well as the wonderful staff from Palliative Care for their amazing support and help to make Mom as comfortable as possible.

A memorial service will be held on September 3, 2020. Due to COVID-19, capacity will be limited, and those attending in person will need to wear a mask. Please contact the family for further details if you would like to attend. The memorial service will also be live streamed at (click on the link to the service) beginning at 10:45am.