November 1, 1929 - May 18, 2017
It is with deep joy and deep sorrow, the family announces that Katherine Jantz flew away, at the respectable time of 7:00 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2017, with family at her side.
Our mother was born in Coaldale, Alberta, Nov. 1, 1929 at a time when the world was in the throes of an economic meltdown. She was the first of two children born to Sarah and Aron Goerzen, both recently immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine. When Mom was only 2 and her brother was a wee infant, her father passed away suddenly leaving his 23 year old wife and children behind. Her mother, Sarah, supported her family by sewing and gardening and cooking for the Coaldale Bible School during the winter months. These formative years were difficult and marked by much sadness but proved to develop resilience and a formidable work ethic in our mother.
When mom was 14 her mother married Gerhard Reimer, a widower with 5 daughters. This marriage brought new stability and happiness to mom’s life and the family moved to Virgil, Ontario to begin their new fruit farming venture. Mom first set her eyes on Hugo in 1947. She was a student in Grade 11 at Eden Christian College and dad was finishing school at Prairie Bible institute in Alberta. They agreed to keep in touch by writing letters. Throughout their 7 year courtship they exchanged over 500 letters. Seven years must have seemed so long but they were determined that mom finish her nurses training. Mom graduated in June of 1954 and they were married later that month.
They had three children within the first three years of marriage and began their life as missionaries in Quito, Ecuador. The next four children came over 10 years and 3 continents. Mom loved to tell others of her adventures abroad. The children hardly seemed to slow Mom and Dad down as they continued to pursue their calling as missionaries in Ecuador and Germany. Mom was especially thrilled with the opportunity to hone her nursing skills in almost every place they lived over their working career. This included Chilliwack, Quito, Abbotsford, and Winnipeg. Mom was an excellent nurse with boundless energy and compassion for all of her patients.
Mom’s life was remarkable in her capacity to welcome as many people as possible into her home. If she noticed someone at church who had nowhere to go for lunch, that person would be invited over, no questions asked. Because mom was a prolific photographer she got to know the Wal-Mart photo employee who took a real interest in our family and she in his. When Dad had completed renovating the kitchen on McMillan Street, she invited the loans manager over for coffee and muffins. When we were all still in elementary school she would invite our teachers over for dinner. Mom and Dad were truly global citizens and wanted to ensure that newcomers to Canada felt welcomed and had a Canadian home. Many of the newcomers they met became lifelong friends and taught us so much about the world beyond our experience.
Mom loved music. She learned to play piano and sing with her mom and brother as a young child. She continued to seek out music wherever she could find it. Whether it be the church choir, an oratorio performance at the concert hall, singing hymns in church, singing alongside her children and grandchildren, all of these and many more brought such joy and comfort to her. As she grew older and frailer, we took as many opportunities as possible to sing with her and when she couldn’t sing any longer, we would sing to her. She never seemed to tire of these experiences.
Mom and Dad really enjoyed the later years with their grown children and grandchildren. They would spend any free time they had travelling to the many places where their children lived, including Port Hardy, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Lynn Lake, Kinoosao and Montague, California. In 1990 they were able to make an epic trip to Sudan and Kenya to visit Angie and Walter and their young family. They were always ready to help us with any project we had on the go or needed doing. Mom loved to bake for us. The grandchildren especially adored her vareniki, cookies, buns and homemade donuts.
Our dad died in 2006 which was a life changer for mom. She was still keen to keep up her hospitality but with increasing challenges due to the encroaching dementia. At the time of mom’s passing she was residing at Bethania Personal Care Home. After a lifetime of hard work, independence, and adventure, it was difficult for mom to accept help from those who offered it.
Mom’s last words were “I love you” and though it’s a challenge to reflect and celebrate a life so all encompassing, that about sums it up. The love my mom felt and shared for others, came from a place of deep faith in God which guided her through all the joys and sorrows in her life and those around her. We will sorely miss our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Mom is predeceased by her father Aron (1932), mother Sarah (1990), brother Henry (2012) and beloved husband Hugo in 2006. Katherine is survived by 7 children Janet (Tim), Eliana, Carole, Angelika (Walter), Marianne (Floyd), Robert (Kris) and Sonya (Matthew). Sixteen grandchildren Levi, Ellen, Sarah, Julian, Thomas, Alison, Lauren, Natasha, Jacob, Anika, Adam, Katie, Madeline, Jenna, Joe, and Sunny. 3 great-grandchildren Adelaide, Audrey, and Solemon.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Bethania for their care of our mother in these last years. Especially your patience with all of us as we tried to advocate for the best care for our mom. Your kindness will not be forgotten.
Mom and Dad were always very intentional and generous in their donations and tithing. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to a charity or enterprise of your choosing.
Friends and relatives are invited to attend a viewing/vigil anytime between the hours of 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Monday, May 22, 2017 at the residence of her daughter, Carole, 739 Sherburn Street. A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church, 926 Garfield St North. She will be laid to rest along side her husband Hugo on 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at Glen Eden Memorial Gardens.
Flowers are gratefully declined.
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