Wiebe, Gerhard F. (1888-1974)
Gerhard F. Wiebe: teacher, farmer and journalist; born on 15 December 1888 in Chortitz, Manitoba, to Jakob D. (1865-1938) and Helena (Funk) Wiebe (1876-1954). He was the eldest of 11 children. Gerhard was baptized on 1 June 1909 in Manitoba. On 17 July 1917, he married Elisabeth Rempel (1892-1939) in Chortitz. The couple had ten children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. Four years after Elisabeth’s death, Gerhard married Margaret Goertzen (1913-1949) on 11 June 1943. They had two children. A year after Margaret’s death, Gerhard married Maria Doerksen (born 1893) on 13 August 1950. The marriage was childless.
Gerhard F. Wiebe grew up in southern Manitoba as the son and grandson of immigrants. His grandfather, Gerhard Wiebe (1827-1900), had been instrumental in helping Mennonites emigrate from Russia in the 1870s when political and social conditions caused them to fear for their way of life. The Wiebes arrived in Quebec before making their way to Manitoba, where Gerhard F. Wiebe was born. His father was a farmer and hoped that his children would follow in the same occupation, but Gerhard became a teacher instead. On 17 July 1917, he married Elisabeth Rempel and the two established a home in Chortitz, where they had a small hobby farm to supplement Gerhard’s teaching income. Soon, however, they rented a larger plot of land just outside the town and began to farm in earnest. Gerhard hoped that a thriving farm would provide an income for his children in later years, and in addition to growing hay, grain, and various vegetables, he kept animals such as cattle and chickens.
Even while he was farming, Gerhard F. Wiebe also maintained many other interests. In addition to running the local post office together with Elisabeth, Gerhard wrote articles and letters for publications such as the Steinbach Post and Der Bote. Throughout his life, he wrote for twenty different magazines or newspapers, contributing articles in German or English. When his children dispersed to various parts of Canada, he kept up a regular correspondence with them. Gerhard also enjoyed dealing with numbers and worked for the Dominion Bureau of Statistics for six years, collecting information for submission to officials in Ottawa. He died at the age of 85 on 26 June 1974.
Gerhard F. Wiebe was a versatile person, dedicated to using his skills however he could. Together with his family, he built a successful life in southern Manitoba.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2007: #146310.
Wiebe, Helen. “Inside a Writer’s Private Life: the story of Gerhard F. Wiebe.” Preservings No. 12 (June 1998): 54-56.
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APA style: Huebert, Susan. (November 2007). Wiebe, Gerhard F. (1888-1974). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wiebe_gerhard_f._1888_1974.