Isaac Letkeman was born to Peter and Aganetha Letkeman on February 9, 1929 at their home in the Wakeham area. He was second youngest of twelve children. He attended the Wakeham School and when asked his level of education, would say he had Grade 10 – he “took Grade 5 twice”. Although reading and writing were difficult, Isaac had an outstanding capacity for memorization.
Isaac was baptized on May 15, 1951 by Bishop Wilhelm H. Falk of the Glencross Rudnerweider Church.
Isaac first met Helen Penner in Hochfeld and they were married on
September 16, 1951 at 2:00 p.m. in the Sommerfeld Church at Osterwick by Rev. Jacob A. Unrau. Their first home was the “summer kitchen” at his parents’ place on the farm. As was customary in those days, Isaac continued farming with his father. His true interest, however, was building and working with wood. As a young man he already designed and built kitchen cabinets, barns and houses.
Isaac and Helen were blessed with a family of six children – a daughter, four sons and another daughter. After relocating several times, they settled in Gnadenthal. By this time, Isaac was working full time in construction, often home only on weekends. He was supervisor on many construction projects for companies including Fonger Construction and PennCo. These jobs took him as far as Vancouver, northern Manitoba communities and several small towns in Ontario – hospitals, schools, churches, commercial buildings and more. Locally, he supervised the addition to Morden hospital, Morden Legion, Manitou hospital, Carman arena and others.
Through all these years of working on construction sites, the most serious injury ever suffered was a broken leg while building the potato storage near Haskett in 1958. The result was a full body cast. Eventually surgery was necessary and the pin to repair his leg was never removed. This was a very difficult time for the young family.
The last job completed before retiring was the school at Grassy Narrows, Ontario.
Isaac especially enjoyed and was always willing to help his children build homes or with various renovations. He was very skilled in crafting gifts from wood – pens, clocks, lanterns, bird houses, light houses, lattice fences and arches and much more.
Love and appreciation for nature were evident in the beautiful gardens grown wherever possible. Flowers, flowers and more flowers. Their yard on Nelson Street was admired by many Morden residents. He was sure to have bird feeders and bird baths near a window. The most special bird, of course, was “Beauty” the budgie.
Weather, Jeopardy on TV and the NEWS were followed faithfully until sitting in his living room chair was no longer possible.
Isaac loved music, particularly gospel music. At one time he even played guitar! As we all know, he had a wonderful memory and was ready at any occasion with a story, poem or song. How the grandchildren were entertained. The family has often marveled at his sense of humor and amazing recall of details from the past.
Other interests would include fishing and playing a competitive game of horse shoes with his brothers, relatives or anyone willing to play! He loved children and loonies were generously handed out to children in local malls whether he knew who they were or not.
Staying in touch with his children and grandchildren was often done by phone. He was the first to call when any of us had been away on vacation or away from home for some time. Grandpa was very proud of his grandchildren and always interested in their lives.
When our family moved to Morden in the middle 1960’s, we were able to attend church services regularly. In 1996, through Freedom in Christ teachings, Isaac experienced a spiritual renewal. His interest in reading the Bible grew and his understanding increased. Daily devotions became part of this new journey.
The first diagnosis of cancer was back in 1992 and a reoccurrence was discovered in 2006. Despite medical treatments, Mom’s aggressive health remedies and much, much prayer, Dad passed away on February 4th at home with Mom, Dorothy and Norman at his bedside.
He leaves to mourn his beloved wife Helen (nee Penner) of 56 years, his children and grandchildren:
Dorothy & Norman Rempel
Delaeno & Micki Kolbe
Nathan & Madeleine
Lewis & Julie
Lloyd & Irene Letkeman
Leonard & Ronda Letkeman
LaDawn & Kris Duerksen
Barry & Derrill Letkeman
Brendan & Emily
Newborn due this weekend
Bradley & Gloria Letkeman
He was predeceased by a son-in-law, Bryan MacKinnon on Dec. 31, 2006.
He is also survived by 2 brothers, Peter, Frank (Agatha), 6 sisters, Nettie Wieler, Annie Elias, Margaret Wiebe, Helen Wolfe, Mary (Henry) Siemens, Tillie (Abe) Janzen and their families. Also he leaves to mourn his brothers & sisters-in-law and their families in the Penner clan.
The family would like to express sincere thanks to Uncle Frank for taking Dad for coffee almost every week for many months when Dad no longer drove car. We also want to acknowledge Dave Teichrob as Dad’s most faithful friend in these last few years. Dave walked while Dad drove scooter – to Tim Horton’s or just around. Thank you, Dave.
The year 2007 was a difficult year for our family, first of all the loss of Bryan, 26 radiation treatments for Dad, and deaths of 6 family & close relatives. Dad and all of us learned to treasure each other and make the most of each moment together. The expression “I love you” was shared more frequently, especially in the last few weeks.
We also want to publicly thank Mom for so faithfully and lovingly taking care of Dad. It was their desire to have him at home as long as possible and that wish was granted.