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HILDEGARD "HILDA" EPP
Hildegard "Hilda" Epp (née Dyck) was born in a Mennonite village in Southern Russia, now Ukraine, during Soviet time. She treasured the memory of her carefree, sunny childhood when she was growing up, surrounded by a loving family. At the age of 11 all this came crashing down in 1937 when her whole family, together with millions of others, became victims of Stalin’s purges.
After spending three years in an orphanage, Hilda was able to join her older cousin, Susan Venichenko and her family, back in her home city. When the war with Germany broke out in 1941, the family was sent to the Caucasian Mountains and went through many tribulations eventually returning to the Ukraine now under German occupation. From here contact was made with her mother’s relatives in Germany.
In August 1943, Hilda arrived in Werdau, Germany, the birthplace of her mother, where she found another loving family as well as her older brother, Herbert. She worked and lived in different places.
Together with the Venichenkos, they contacted their paternal relatives in Canada. With the help of these relatives and a Mennonite organization called Mennonite Central Committee, they were able to immigrate to Canada in the fall of 1948. Hilda spent the first two years in Saskatchewan where she was able to finish her high school education before moving to Brandon, Manitoba for four years to get her nurse’s training.
In 1954 Hilda moved to Winnipeg and married Henry Epp. Henry had also come to Canada from the same area in the Ukraine. Together they worked hard and raised four wonderful children and later enjoyed their grandchildren. This was now their OWN family! Henry’s mother, Matilda, lived with them for two and a half years. She passed away in March of 1957. Hilda worked as a nurse at the old Grace Hospital for four years and at Bethania P.C.H. for fifteen years. Upon retirement, volunteering became an important part of Hilda’s life.
Besides a deep love of her family, Hilda enjoyed all of nature, the arts, history and was always ready to lend a helping hand.
Her husband Henry passed away in July 2000 after a struggle with cancer. They were married forty-six years. In September 2008 Hilda sold the family house and moved into Concordia Village where she found yet another wonderful home. With age came a contentment, rooted in a deep faith in her Heavenly Father. Thanks be to God for his wonderful leading in her life!
[Note: The above was written
by Hilda in April 2018.]
Hilda’s health began to deteriorate in July 2022 but to everyone’s delight, she recovered after each hospital stay. The following year, on May 31, 2023, she was admitted to Riverview for her final journey. She died and was taken by the hand of her loving Heavenly Father on Tuesday morning, June 13, 2023.
Having given her blessings and said her goodbyes, Hilda leaves her four children, David (Penelope predeceased, Ingrid) Epp, John (Shannon) Epp, Linda (Dean) Koks, and Richard (Karen) Epp; eight grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her husband, Henry Epp; loving parents, Peter Dyck and Elsbeth (née Wilhelm); brothers Herbert, Peter and Walter; and sister Margaret; as well as her surrogate parents, Susan and Alexander Venichenko; and their daughters, Lydia (Jim) Barrett and family, and Margie Pratt and family; two nephews, Eugene Chudinov and family, and Valery (Tatyana) Dyck and family; three cousins in Europe and several in Canada.
The memorial service will be held at 12:00 noon on Sunday June 18, 2023 at Concordia Village (1125 Molson Street). Reception to follow.
Hilda's family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page.