January 6, 1926 – September 7, 2019
Anne Marie Koehn passed in to the presence of her Lord and Saviour on Saturday, Sept 7, 2019. Anne was born Jan 6, 1926 in Odessa, Ukraine (USSR) to Alvina Lauber and Nikolai Malinowskia.
Due to the unrest in the Ukraine, Anne, her older half-sister Elizaveta Vagner and her mother moved frequently, however Anne was able to complete Gr 6. She spoke German, Ukrainian, Russian and even some Yiddish due to the many Jewish settlements nearby. Anne’s childhood was marred by the start of the Ukrainian famine and she often spoke of the trauma of witnessing starvation and death. She endured those turbulent years of suffering during the Hitler and Stalin regimes but in 1944 she met and married Viktor Born. Together they fled Russia by train to reunite with Viktor’s mother and sisters in Germany, however 8 months later Viktor was killed in action.
Now widowed, Anne immigrated to Canada in Dec 1947 and lived with her sponsors, Viktor’s aunt & uncle in Yarrow. It was while attending Yarrow MB church under the leadership of Johann Harder that Anne became a Christian, was baptized, became a church member and embraced the Mennonite faith and culture as though she had been born in to it.
Later that year she moved to Vancouver, lived in the “Madchenheim” (girl’s home) and found employment as a domestic working for several wealthy families in Vancouver. It was here that she learned English and was schooled in cooking and the proper way to manage a household. She learned those lessons well. In March 1950 she married a widower named Peter David Koehn who had also recently immigrated from Russia. After 4 few years of living in Vancouver, they purchased a 10 acre hobby farm on Stewart Rd in Yarrow where Anne lived for the next 60 years. To the couples’ surprise, 6 lovely daughters were born to them and they were affectionately known in Yarrow as the “Koehn girls”.
As employment in the Yarrow area was scarce during those early years, Peter found employment as a machine operator for Western Canada Steel in Vancouver and spent the next 17 years commuting back and forth to Yarrow as his shifts changed. Anne was left to raise their daughters and look after the farm and she was certainly up to the challenge.
In Nov 1973, Peter died of pancreatic cancer and Anne found herself a widow once again. Now faced with the task of supporting her young family, she found seasonal employment at Reimer’s Nurseries in Yarrow and York Farms/Berryland Foods in Sardis until her retirement in 1991. Anne loved her job and was disappointed that retirement was mandatory at 65 and often said she could have easily worked another 10 years.
After retirement, Anne’s focus became her ever-expanding family, working outside maintaining her farm and garden. She was a gifted cook, fastidious housekeeper and welcomed everyone in to her home. For the last 25 years, she served homemade Ukrainian borscht, Mennonite buns and dessert to anyone who stopped by on Saturday evenings. In 2014, Anne sold the family farm and spent the next 5 years living with each of her daughters.
Over the past 2 years we watched as dementia began to slow and quiet Anne’s lively, chatty and spunky presence. Our deepest desire was to keep Mom from being placed in a carehome, and God graciously granted our request. While we will deeply mourn the loss of our courageous Mother, we are rejoicing that she is in heaven with her loved ones and her legacy of faith and family will endure.
Anne was predeceased by her husbands, Viktor Born, Peter Koehn, daughter and son-in-law Karen and William (Bill) Bell, sister and brother-in-law Elizaveta and Nikolay Yatsenko and her parents.
Anne will be deeply mourned by her daughters Lora (Ted Felker)Marlene(Dietrich)Neufeld, Julie(Ken)Scheer, Anne(Ray) Scheer, Grace(Paul)Friesen, her son-in-law Ron (Toni) Krahn, 18 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren.
Anne’s funeral service will be held Saturday, September 21 at 2 pm at the Yarrow MB Church 41995 Yarrow Central Road, Yarrow, BC. Graveside service and fellowship meal will follow.
Woodlawn-Cheam Chilliwack Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.