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ERICA LEPP (PENNER) Obituary pic


Born: Mar 09, 1930

Date of Passing: Feb 04, 2023

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March 9, 1930 - February 4, 2023

Erica Lepp (nee Penner), age 92 years, was welcomed into her heavenly home on Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home, St. Norbert, Manitoba.
Erica was born March 9, 1930, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Jacob and Margaretha Penner, German Mennonite immigrants from southern Russia (present day Ukraine). She was the sixth of seven children. Her father Jacob was a schoolteacher who taught in several communities, which would result in her family residing in several communities - in the Interlake (Dallas) and Eastern Manitoba (Grunthal and Steinbach). She often shared stories of these tumultuous early years as the family, having escaped civil war in Russia, immigrated to Canada and started a new life in a new country during the Great Depression, followed by the Second World War.
Being raised in a Christian home and with a rich Mennonite heritage, Erica began her own spiritual journey. As a young child she was able to memorize scripture, earning her a trip to Gimli Bible Camp, where she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour. A relationship that would continue until the moment of her passing.
Erica attended school at various locations as the family moved - completing some of her schooling by correspondence, attending boarding school and finally graduating from high school in Steinbach. With a need for schoolteachers, and following in her father's footsteps, she attended the Central Normal School (later Manitoba Teacher's College), where she achieved her teaching accreditation and made several lifelong friends.
During her time in Winnipeg, Erica was introduced to a young man from Rivers, Manitoba, Henry Lepp, whom she would later marry. Her first teaching position was at the Twin Creek School (RM of Hanover) and being engaged to Henry, she took a teaching position at the Pettapiece School (RM of Oakwood), not far from the Lepp family farm. Eventually they married on July 8, 1951. Henry and Erica established a home in the Rivers area where they would farm until 1993. They welcomed six children – two daughters and four sons.
Farm life was extremely busy, and Erica being no stranger to hard work embraced all that farm life would entail. She would raise her children, manage an industrial sized garden, take on numerous sewing projects, and be active in her church. Although she never thought of herself as an accomplished cook, she was known for her amazing pies and Saturdays were typically marked by a production line of baking, including cinnamon buns, platz, and the most amazing bread. When she was not gardening, Erica would likely be found sewing or doing some needlework. She took on numerous sewing projects including several wedding and bridesmaid dresses for her own children's weddings and many others. Always concerned that her children were dressed "properly" clothes were often artfully repurposed, cool patches on jeans were the envy of the schoolyard and raising four farm boys clothes saw significant wear and tear, which she would frequently repair – clothes anyone else would have tossed away. She threw nothing away, a child of the depression, she could teach the most ardent environmentalist a thesis on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Erica had many strong opinions in which she was always eager to engage. Politics, history, and most importantly, her Christian convictions. Doctrine and Biblical matters were often discussed and debated. These strong convictions led her and Henry to begin attending a Baptist Church, first in Wheatland and then later in Brandon. Henry and Erica were members of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Brandon, Manitoba where they served faithfully from the founding of the church until she moved to Winnipeg in 2019. Erica taught Sunday School, and in later years was an Awana leader, where she would lovingly refer to her time working with her "Cubbies." Never one to be idle, after many years raising a family, she trained as a health care aide and started another career working for We Care Health Services for 20 years.
Erica led a diverse and interesting life with a wide range of interests and experiences. She was most happy digging in her garden or picking berries that were native to the area. It was a common sight to see her in the garden – planting or weeding – with her shortwave radio where she would listen to numerous Christian broadcasts. With Henry, she travelled to many unique locations including Belize for two mission trips, trips to Israel and the Middle East, and another mission trip to Ecuador. In the early 1990s, she travelled to Germany to be reunited with family who had immigrated there from the former Soviet Union. Even after Henry's passing, she continued to travel going on cruises and trips to see friends and family in other provinces.
Erica is survived by her children. Leonard (Sharol), Norman (Joan), Charlotte (Allan), Arthur (Alison), Carolyn (Bevan), and Donald (Susan); 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Henry, daughter-in-law Julie, and her six siblings.
Erica will be laid to rest at Rivers Mennonite Cemetery on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. The celebration of Erica's Life will follow at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church, 4 Willowdale Crescent, Brandon at 1:30 p.m.
Donations in memory of Erica may be made to One Hope Canada, 3-212 Henderson Hwy, Box 323, Winnipeg, MB R2L 1L8 or to the charity of one's choice.

Expressions of sympathy may be made at
Arrangements with Memories Chapel, Brandon 1-855-727-0330.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 11, 2023

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