September 9, 1921 – May 17, 2019
Our much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Irene (Sawatzky) Bergen, died in her sleep in the early morning, Friday, May 17. Irene was born in Nieder Chortitza, Ukraine on September 9, 1921.
During her childhood and youth, she lost many members of her family to Stalinist repressions, among them five uncles, her maternal grandparents, and her beloved father, Johann. She fled Ukraine in 1941 with her mother, Justine, and siblings Katie, Hans and Jakob. In a refugee camp in Austria she met and married our father, Heinrich (Henry) Bergen. In 1948 they emigrated to Canada with their infant daughter and settled in the Fraser Valley.
Irene worked tirelessly with her husband building up the farm and raising their five children. After their oldest son took over the farm, they moved to a hobby farm on Olund Road where Irene enjoyed her retirement tending a large garden and taking in the beauty of their surroundings. She and Henry were deeply involved in their work as deacons at Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church, spending many hours each week visiting those in need of comfort and care. To Irene’s great sorrow, Henry died in 1996, but she continued to live on the farm for another nine years, gardening, baking, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When life on the farm became too much, she bought a condo at Wedgewood Apartment, where she lived until shortly before her death.
Irene was predeceased by her dear husband, Henry; her brother Jake Sawatzky; sister Katie Wall; sister-in-law Anne Sawatzky; brother-in-law Jake Wall. She leaves to mourn five children: Louise (Vic) Price; Henry (Norma) Bergen; Mary-Ann (John) Taves; Helen Bergen (Robert Smith); Jake (Marian) Bergen as well as thirteen grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
She was a wonderful, passionate soul who will be greatly missed.
A viewing will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 from 6 to 8 pm at Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church, 2051 Windsor St., Abbotsford, BC. A Graveside Service will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 9 am at Maclure Road Mennonite Cemetery, Abbotsford, BC. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 10:30 am at Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church, 2051 Windsor St., Abbotsford, BC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the M.C.C.
Online condolences to the family may be made at: www.woodlawnfh-abbotsford.com
Woodlawn Funeral Home