On Saturday, November 19, 2022, Helen Kehler Hildebrandt passed away peacefully at Bethesda Place in Steinbach, Manitoba.
Helen Hildebrandt was born on March 5, 1940, in Steinbach to Helena and David S. Kehler. She completed her education at a small country school outside of Steinbach before marrying her husband, Bill, on August 2, 1958.
While she was not employed outside of the home prior to beginning their family, she had a quest for learning and a zest for life. She and Bill loved their children, Denise, Mark, and Karla and provided them with rich and varied opportunities ranging from extra-curricular sports and music lessons to family vacations. Helen was a wonderful community ‘mom’ to the children who attended the elementary school across the street and made sure that warm coats were provided to children she saw walking to school and repairs were made to torn or worn clothing.
Helen and Bill pursued a missionary post with the Janz Team in Lorrach, Germany through the encouragement of Rev. Don P. Shidler, a pastor who presented at a conference at their church. This work (translating and printing Sunday School materials into German) not only provided an opportunity for the family to experience another culture and country, but also provided the basis for future lifelong ministry in the church.
After Bill was ordained as a pastor and subsequently as the church bishop, Helen was instrumental in promoting the work and value of women in the church. She created and implemented annual church conferences for women and coordinated other events designed specifically for them. After Bill’s passing in 1999, Helen continued to provide church and community support for girls and women who were seeking spiritual counsel.
Helen had many pursuits and was an avid and accomplished painter, writer, gardener, seamstress, cook and baker. She was employed at Ray’s Interiors for a number of years, and after Bill's passing, she also worked as a translator for immigrants seeking assistance in the settlement process. She was a ‘people’ person and was remarkably intuitive, perceptive, and astute. She was caring, kind, and embraced everyone – regardless if their beliefs were not in keeping with her own. Not only was she compassionate, she was also witty and had a wonderful sense of humor. This was evident even when, in her later years, dementia, arthritis, and her auto-immune disorder diminished her vibrancy but not her soul.
Helen leaves behind many family members and friends to cherish her memory and celebrate her life. More specifically, she’ll be held in the hearts of her children, Denise (Mark Ledbetter), Mark (Mary-Jo), and Karla (Chad Kroeker), grandchildren – Carey, Ashley (Daniel Sulkers), Jessica (Kevin Reid), Rebekkah (Ryan Hudson), and Sarah, and two great grandchildren – Olivia and Levi Hudson. In addition to her two brothers, Stanley (Martha) and Ben (Martha), she also leaves many nieces and nephews, as well as her special niece and nephew, Martha and Ray Kehler, and their three sons and families.
She was predeceased by her husband, Bill, her parents, and brothers and sisters (David, Peter, Jake, Henry, Edgar, Ernest, Mary, and Betty). Her children are comforted to know that their parents have been joyfully reunited in their spiritual and heavenly home.
An evening viewing and visitation will be held on Thursday, November 24, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. at Crossings Funeral Care, 12E-40 North Gate Drive, Steinbach, Manitoba.
A funeral service, which will also be livestreamed, will be held on Friday, November 25, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. at Crossings Funeral Care, followed by a private interment at the Steinbach Heritage Cemetery.