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Image by Dominik Scythe


* A Photo-Tribute is forthcoming, please check back soon*



August 29, 1939 – August 3, 2020

With heavy hearts, we announce that Al passed away on August 3, 2020 at home in Winnipeg at the age of 80 years.


He is survived by his wife of 58 years Doreen; children, Maureen, Leanne (Amos) and Karen; grandchildren, Jordan and Declan How; and siblings, Harold (Dorothy), Ervin (Loraine) and Grace (Gerald Loeppky).


Al was born to Erna and Henry Petkau in Winkler (Note: Winkler was not his choice!), on August 29th, 1939. He was the eldest of 4 children.  Al grew up in Morden and graduated from MCI in 1957.  He was baptised in the Morden Bergthaler Mennonite Church. The Church and his faith remained a constant throughout Al’s life.


On September 9, 1962 Al married Doreen Helen Voth. In 1967 they were blessed with the birth of their First Child, Stephanie Maureen.  She was soon followed by the Crazy Child, Leanne Hilary in 1969.  In 1973, the best blessing ever arrived with the birth of the Final Daughter, Karen Lesley.  And thus began a lifetime as head diaper changer because of his inability to smell! Al was highly engaged in the lives of his kids.  He attended all the sporting events for Maureen and Leanne, often getting rowdy at their basketball games and all the recitals and concerts for Karen, where he wasn’t allowed to be rowdy.  (We think he preferred the games.)  Summers were filled with family camping trips and visits to the extended families and their cabins.


Shortly after the birth of the First Child, Al got a job with Simplot Chemical Company and the new family moved to Brandon where he worked until retirement in 1999. 


While in Brandon, Al and Doreen were active members of Grace Mennonite Church. Al was often the treasurer, worship leader, participated in multiple committees and honoured the request that he not join the choir.


When not consumed with work and parenting duties, Al had varied hobbies throughout the years.  In his younger years, Al curled and refereed hockey. Fishing and hunting filled much of his time when Doreen allowed, and this evolved into his passion for training dogs which lasted many years.  Al joined the Brandon Retriever Club and quickly rose in rank to Treasurer and President.  He trained many Labrador retrievers for hunting and competitions and tried hard to get his daughters to share this passion. While the competitions weren’t necessarily his forte, he was highly valued as an organizer and judge.


In retirement, Al finally had the chance to build himself a woodworking shop.  He spent many hours perfecting his sanding and planing techniques, which occasionally resulted in multiple trips to the hardware store to replaces pieces that had somehow become too small.  Many family members benefited from this hobby and received Al’s beautiful creations.  Al’s ashes will be laid to rest in his own wooden urn.


Al was able to merge some of his interests during retirement by travelling south to participate in Mennonite Disaster Service building projects and dog training with his American buddies.


In 2008, Al and Doreen moved from Brandon to Sanford, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They returned to Fort Garry Mennonite Church, where they had worshiped in the early part of their marriage. Once again, Al built himself a woodshop and continued to create. A major highlight of this time was the fishing trips Al took with his brothers to the West Coast.  Even in the last weeks of his life, Al talked about how great it would be if they could have the chance to go again. It was really special for him.


Al and Doreen moved into Winnipeg in 2018, and found a place at Lindenwood Estates in 2019.   Al’s health had been failing in these later years, and despite surviving two bouts of cancer without chemotherapy, his body and heart were not resilient enough to withstand the stress of a recent fall and hip replacement.


Al's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. They also encourage the sharing of photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


In lieu of cards or flowers, we request that a donation be made in Al’s name to the Manitoba Prostrate Cancer Support Group or the Mennonite Disaster Service.


A private burial and celebration of life will be held on Al’s birthday. 


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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