Mary was the oldest child of Aaron and Olga Derksen. She was born on September 21, 1927 on the farm near Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. Over the next 22 years nine other children were born giving Mary four sisters and five brothers, a nice family of 10 with equal number of boys and girls. We always admired the strength with which Mom faced life. She was a strong person that stepped up to whatever life would hand her.
In 1947 she married Isaac Fehr. In September of 1948 a baby girl, Doreen was born to this new couple. Life was good. Then suddenly tragedy struck and Mary could see the commotion on the mill yard and was soon notified that her husband had died that cold day in January 1950. That, folks was just the beginning of yet more changes when three weeks later Mary gave birth to Darlene on February 18, 1950. There she was a young widow with two children and
nowhere to go but back with her parents to see what would happen next.
Well by spring of the next year a young man came into town to visit the Derksen family. Corney Goertzen and Mary soon became friends and the courtship moved to marriage and on June 24, 1951 a new family was started. The next few years were spent looking for the perfect place to live. A move to Swan Plain and back to Carrot River just long enough so Jim could be born in Carrot River on May 21, 1952. The family was now becoming more adventurists and so they decided to move a little further away from Carrot River. So off they moved to British Columbia, the Burns Lake area no less and if that was not far enough away then across Francois Lake in to a bush camp should do it. That was however a bit too far off the beaten track so into town they moved.
The news came, work was plentiful in Penny, B.C. That place was very isolated but there was work there to take care of his family. Then came the word that Tabor, AB would offer lots of work in the beet fields. So Tabor became home to this traveling family. It was time to return to Carrot River.
On January 28, 1956 Linda was born in the same town as the other children and the family was complete. They were now ready to move on to the next station of life. This time Princeton, B.C. would become home. Finally the decade of movement came to an end for this family. With the help of Mary’s brothers the next move would point them north. In 1959 after school was out they borrowed a little cash, loaded up their belongings into a two ton truck and family into the 1953 Pontiac Panel and moved to Burns Lake.
Movement for this family did not stop but from then on it was only from one house to another and not to any other communities. In March 1961 Beatty Road would become home. The yard and garden would show the true gifts of horticulture that Mom had. She could be been see most any summer day bent over in the garden picking the weeds and nurturing the vegetables and berries. These were generously shared with everyone who stopped by whether it was raspberries or potatoes.
Life was always centered around hard work and soon Mary was not only caring for the family but was able to work outside the home doing house keeping or as a motel chamber maid. In 1970 Mary was hired at the Burns Lake and District Hospital in the housekeeping department. She attacked her job with vigor and sincerity that put all of us to shame. She would walk to or form work if that is what it took to keep that job. The three and a half miles just got her into the mood for cleaning those wards day after day. Her 22 years spent at that job gave Mary the stability that she had missed in her early life.
Mom supported her family in so many ways as she did her husband even to the point that she would go hunting with him and drive the truck so Dad could stand in the back and spot the moose.
Mom was a fun loving and engaging person who would talk to anyone anytime about many things. We loved her for her opinions that in most case could not be changed. Mom’s faith kept her through all those days and it was good to come there in the morning and hear her and Corney wrapping up their time of reflections with the reading of God’s word.
The last several years mom spent in a state that saddened all of us. We watched her slide downhill becoming ever less functional as each month passed. Last Friday, June 1, 2012 Mary went to join others who were already in heaven praising God. It was a sad day but also a happy day as we knew her suffering, if there was any, was now over. We are so glad that mom did not need to move once again to another community to find the care she needed.
Mary leaves to mourn, daughter Doreen and husband Jerry Klassen, daughter Darlene and husband Jerry Sommerfeld, son Jim and wife Marj, daughter Linda and husband Jim Cruch, 12 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, four brothers Corny, Jake, Pete and John, three sisters Olga, Marge and Agnes.
Mary was predeceased by her first husband Isaac, and her second husband Corney just a year ago, her parents, a brother Abe and a sister Tena.
In the words of one her grandchildren…
“Now all my grandparents are healthy, happy, smiling and together in heaven.”