THIELMAN, Susanne (Willms)

Passed into the Lord’s presence on February 7, 2011, in her ninety-seventh year. Susanne was born to Heinrich and Susanna (Neufeld) Willms on May 9, 1914 in Tiege, Molotschna Colony, USSR (now Ukraine), the fourth of seven children. Despite the difficulties of living in post-revolutionary Russia, Susanne remembered her childhood as a time of great wonder and pleasure.

In December 1929 the family immigrated as refugees to Germany, and in the spring of 1930 they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Canada. The Willms family settled in Abbotsford, BC, and helped to establish the South Abbotsford MB Church, where Susanne was baptized and became a charter member.

In the early 1980’s Susanne wrote a manuscript about her childhood in Russia. In 2009, while living in Abbotsford, BC with her sister, Kathleen Willms Toews, Susanne collaborated with her niece Selma Willms Turner and editor Philip Sherwood, to revise, edit, and publish the manuscript in 2010 as Susanne Remembers – a beautiful legacy for her family and the Mennonite community.

Susanne returned to Fredericksburg VA in the fall of 2010, and enjoyed Christmas with her family. In late January, suffering from various illnesses, Susanne went into hospital. She died on Monday, February 7th.

Predeceased by her parents, her husband George Thielman, and four siblings, Susanne is survived by her sons Hans and Gerhard (& Judith) and six grandchildren, sister Kathleen (Willms) Toews, brother John (& Frances) Willms, and many nieces and nephews.

A Time of Remembrance and reception will be held in Abbotsford on Wednesday, March 9th.

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