Lohrenz, Gerhard (1899-1986)
Gerhard Lohrenz was born on 13 December 1899 in the village of Neu-Schönsee in the Zagradovka colony in Ukraine. After completing elementary school and some classes in the colony's Zentralschule, he graduated from the Business School (Handelsschule) in Alexanderkrone, Molotschna colony, in 1918. From 1918 to 1922 Lohrenz served first in the White Army as a volunteer in the Red Cross, and then in the Red Army as a conscript. In 1923 he was elected secretary of the local soviet and shortly thereafter as district chairman responsible for five villages. He resigned his positions in November 1924. In January 1925 the members of his church elected him to represent them at the All-Mennonite Conference in Moscow.
In September 1922 Lohrenz married Anni Harder. They had four children: Mary, John, Hilda, and Sophie. In March 1925 he and his family migrated to Canada.
After a three-year attempt at farming in Saskatchewan he attended the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba (1928-1930), and the Normal School in Manitou, Manitoba (1930-1931). He completed a BA degree at the University of Manitoba through the summer school program. He taught at an elementary school in Lydiatt, Manitoba (1931-1938); continued teaching at Springstein, Manitoba (1938-1947); and at the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, Winnipeg as (teacher and principal, 1947-1952) and Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Winnipeg, (1952-1965).
Lohrenz was a dedicated churchman. He was baptized in 1921 in the Nikolaifelder Mennonite Church in Zagradovka, Russia. He was ordained minister of the Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, in 1954, as Ältester (elder) in 1959 and served in the latter office until 1971. He also served on numerous provincial and Canadian conference committees.
He had a strong interest in history, especially in Russian Mennonite history. He was instrumental in developing the Mennonite Historical Library and Archives at Canadian Mennonite Bible College. Of the 33 tours he led, 17 visited the Soviet Union. In his retirement he authored 13 books, all of which dealt with Russian Mennonite life. He chaired the committee which planned the Manitoba Mennonite Centennial celebrations in 1974. In October 1974 the University of Winnipeg bestowed upon Lohrenz an honorary DD for his numerous contributions. He led an active life up to his sudden death in Winnipeg on 6 February 1986.
Ens, Gerhard and George K. Epp. Der Bote (19 February 1986): 4, 6.
Lohrenz, Gerhard. Sagradowka. Rosthern, SK: Echo-Verlag, 1947.
Lohrenz, Gerhard. Storm Tossed. Winnipeg: the author, 1976, an autobiography.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 528-529.. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Friesen, John J. "Lohrenz, Gerhard (1899-1986)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 19 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L652ME.html.
APA style: Friesen, John J. (1989). Lohrenz, Gerhard (1899-1986). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L652ME.html.