Hiebert, Helena Penner (1874-1970)
Helena Penner Hiebert, the first Mennonite woman to graduate from a university in Manitoba, was born on 14 October 1874 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She was one of 11 children, of which five survived to adulthood, born to Erdman Penner (1837-1907) and Maria Eitzen (1840-1900). On 10 July 1902 Helena married Dr. Gerhard Hiebert (died 1934) of Mountain Lake, Minnesota who later became chief surgeon at Winnipeg General Hospital from 1917-1919. Together they had three daughters, Elfriede, Gerda and Catherine. In her later years Helena moved to live with her daughter Catherine Brown in Beloeil, Quebec where she died on 12 February 1970. During her early years Helena was very fortunate to have parents who believed in higher education for all their children. After attending elementary school in the villages of Tannenau, Edenburg and Gretna, she went to study in Mountain Lake, Minnesota where her grandmother lived. She was then tutored by H. H. Ewertin Gretna while taking music lessons in Winnipeg. In 1899 Helene graduated as the Silver Medallist from Wesley College (later to become the University of Winnipeg). She immediately joined the faculty but had to resign when her mother died in 1900. Helena was involved in organizing the Modern Languages Club which later became the University Women’s Club at the University of Manitoba. Of all her many accomplishments her memoirs entitled "Granny Stories" is considered one of her greatest. In these stories Helena lovingly preserves images of the virgin prairie and life as it was in the early years of settlement in southern Manitoba.
Dyck, John. "Helena Penner Hiebert (1874-1970): True Pioneer." Preservings (June 1997): 7-10.
|Left: Helena Penner, ca 1900 university graduation photo; Right: Helena Penner, 1902. Preservings photos.|
|Author(s)||Sharon H. H Brown|
|Date Published||June 2006|
Cite This Article
Brown, Sharon H. H. "Hiebert, Helena Penner (1874-1970)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 21 Apr 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hiebert,_Helena_Penner_(1874-1970)&oldid=92012.
Brown, Sharon H. H. (June 2006). Hiebert, Helena Penner (1874-1970). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hiebert,_Helena_Penner_(1874-1970)&oldid=92012.
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