Jan 15, 1932 – Nov 11, 2017
Born in Frankfurt, Germany; died in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. Reverend Hellmut Mascher, aged 85 was promoted to Heaven on Remembrance Day. His life was lived with unwavering faith in God.
Hellmut grew up in Germany, often stating how wonderful it was to know six grandparents; they shaped who he later became. His parents taught him to see opportunities when others saw defeat. As a young man, his ability to do mental math faster than a calculator led him to banking.
In 1952, Hellmut and his brother Fritz left their family to emigrate to AB, Canada. Here Hellmut worked in electronics and later in psychiatric nursing. It was while he was working in the hospital that he met his future wife, Elsie.
Hellmut’s scientific mind led him to pursue interests in mineralogy, osteology, mycology and gardening. As an explorer, he searched out hidden fishing lakes and new routes, for “Why should one see the same scenery twice?” In his quieter moments, Hellmut was an avid reader, often looking at the last page of a book first to see if it was worth reading. His fascination with how things worked led to many happy hours experimenting and fixing things. Later, despite lack of formal architectural training, he learned how to build. He enjoyed singing in choirs too; he was often heard humming or harmonizing to the radio.
A deep faith and a call of God led Hellmut and his new wife to relocate to East Africa. Together, they worked in various regions of Kenya including amongst the Maasai. Though this area was closed to foreigners in those days, Hellmut was asked by the Kenyan Government to teach science in the secondary school. Many of his students later became high Government officials as well as game rangers at the world famous Maasai Mara Game park.
Hellmut loved God’s creation. He always seemed to have a collection of seeds in his pockets, much to his wife’s frustration. The more unusual the garden varieties the better. He also accumulated a little ‘zoo’ of African animals, insects, and reptiles.
Once, Hellmut was invited to take part in a science training course at Makerere University, Uganda, which he gladly accepted.
Most of Hellmut’s adult life was spent in Christian ministry. He and his wife also spent decades building churches and training local leaders in Kenya and Tanzania. At one point, the family moved an hour distance from his brother Berthold, who worked as a doctor in a hospital on Mount Kilimanjaro. Family connections meant a lot! Later, Hellmut also pastored churches in Canada and California; he was also a hospital chaplain.
Hellmut freely gave others his time and resources, believing blessings would be multiplied. Everything he did was done with great passion and vision. He received his PhD in Education to become better equipped to train pastors and community leaders, but rarely spoke of his accomplishments. Hellmut was a very humble person. He loved mingling with everyday individuals.
His outgoing personality meant he would stop to talk to complete strangers. This was a constant source of embarrassment for his young children, but something they later admired. His ability to forgive was also incredible. Hellmut promoted peace whenever he could, even when deep injustices were done to him. He was a very patient person.
In his retirement years, Hellmut still felt he had so much to offer. After learning about the limited resources available to disabled and orphaned Kenyans, he became very burdened. He said God had “re-tired” his life so, with ‘new wheels,’ he began the largest project of his life. In 1997, Hellmut started building Helping Hands Organization of Kenya as a centre of compassion and inclusion. The purpose was to empower marginalized individuals through education.
It was also important to him that people understood their eternal value. Every life mattered to him. Hellmut set an amazing example for his family, demonstrating that older individuals have worth! Though he worked formally till he was 83 years old, he still enjoyed teaching thereafter.
Hellmut is survived by his wife, Elsie, to whom he was married 57 years; also, three children Bernice, Bernard (Celia), and Barbara; grandchildren Abigail and Theon; his siblings Fritz (Lois), Edeltraud, Berthold (Eva-Maria), and Christa; and many nieces and nephews.EE
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 AM at Central Pentecostal Assembly, 9535 Williams St, Chilliwack, BC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made through the church to Helping Hands Organisation of Kenya (https://www.facebook.com/HelpingHandsKenya).