February 19, 1930 – October 26, 2021
Heinz Braun lived a long, often difficult, but rich and blessed life. He was born on February 19, 1930, in Chortitza, Ukraine to Peter and Helene (Winter) Braun. He was a younger brother to his sister, Hedy, who is two years older. In Chortitza he had a happy, uneventful early childhood until, on September 8, 1937, his father was arrested and executed during the Stalinist purge that took so many lives. Difficult years followed. World War II interrupted his schooling and made life desperate. In 1943 he and his small family joined others to flee the Ukraine and undertake an arduous and often dangerous refugee trek towards Germany. Once there, the Braun family was moved from one refugee camp to another and from farm to farm where they worked for basic room and board. In May of 1948 they were resettled to Paraguay under the auspices of the newly formed Mennonite Central Committee. They settled in the pioneer village of Waldhof in the Neuland colony in Paraguay’s Chaco region. Here Heinz met Frieda Penner. They married on April 26, 1953. In August of the same year his mother died after a long and painful battle with cancer. Shortly thereafter they moved to the village of Lichtenau.
Five children, four sons and one daughter, were born to them in Paraguay; a sixth child, a daughter, was born in Canada: Willi Braun (Brenda), Rudy Braun (Tina), Helene Babic (Mark), Hans (John) Braun (Christine), Heinz (Henry) Braun (Patricia), Heidy Braun.
Besides his family, Heinz had a life-long deep devotion to his faith and the church. In 1949 he publicly confessed his faith in Jesus as his Saviour. He was baptized by Elder Hans Rempel and joined the church in Neuland. In the same year, at the tender age of 19, he was elected and ordained as a lay minister, a calling that he held to dearly until the end of his life.
In 1967 Heinz and Frieda along with their children immigrated to Canada, settling in Vancouver. They joined the First United
Mennonite Church where he was able to continue his preaching and pastoral ministry. In 1973 Heinz and his family moved to the small town of Clearbrook, BC. Here they joined the Ebenezer Mennonite Church. Again Heinz was called on to serve as a preacher and pastor.
In 1995 Heinz retired from his longtime career as a carpenter. He spent many of his retirement years making pieces of fine furniture for his children and grandchildren. He was deeply thankful for his life in Canada. “Wie gut haben wir es doch in diesem Lande,” he often said. But he also avidly looked forward to that place where there will not be any pain, where he would meet his Saviour to thank him for his unending love. Heinz died in the early morning of October 26, 2021. His wife
Frieda preceded him in death in September of 2012. He left behind a remarkable legacy: 6 children, 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. We, his many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, will miss him and mourn him. But we are also deeply thankful that he could finally go home to that eternal land for which he so longed. To all who knew him may his
memory be for a blessing.
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