Mary Brandt (nee Klassen)

  • Mary Brandt (nee Klassen)
  • Date of Passing: May 15, 2024
  • Born: June 13, 1940


Mary Brandt, aged 83 years, of Steinbach, MB., passed away at her residence on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Mary Brandt was born to her parents Jacob and Mary Klassen on June 13, 1940, at their home just south of Rosenort, MB. She was the second child and the oldest daughter.

Mary completed her education at the local country school near her parents’ farm.

1950 was a momentous year for 10 year old Mary. In the spring the nearby Red River flooded unexpectedly. The farm was completely inundated. She and her family were evacuated, and spent several weeks in Lowe Farm, waiting for the flood waters to subside. They came back to a lot of mud and a seriously damaged house. However the land dried, the crops were planted and the silt from the flood waters brought a bumper crop.

Then a few months later, after the harvest Mary and her family loaded themselves and their possessions into a grain truck and set out for Mexico. Relatives followed them to the US border where everyone wept and sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. It was expected that the move would be very permanent. They feared that they would never see each other again in this life. However things were not perfect in Mexico, and the family made the grain truck road trip in reverse, and was back in Rosenort again in time for spring seeding.

After she finished school, Mary helped her mother with caring for her younger brothers and sisters. She worked for a time as a nanny and in a chicken killing plant.

On October 1963, Mary married Jacob Brandt at the Mennville EMC Church. Their firstborn, Randy was born a year and a half later. Shortly thereafter, Jake and Mary bid goodbye to their families. Jake got a job on a construction crew and they moved all over western Canada from one project to the next. During those years Mary and her family lived in more than a dozen places. There was a little pink house in Wawota, SK., a trailer outside Brooks AB., and an army surplus tent on the shores of Black Lake near the Northwest Territories. Thus daughter Darlene was born in Hudson Bay, SK., and daughter Michelle was born in Bassano, AB.

In 1970, Mary decided that it was time to move back home near her mother. It was time to for Randy to start school and they could no longer pick up and move every few months. Thus they settled again near Mary’s parents. Her 4th and youngest, daughter Connie was born back at the Gimli Hospital in 1972.

Raising four small children was busy. Mary had a lot of work both inside and outside the house. This included a much-repeated story one occasion when against her will and to her everlasting distaste, she acted as midwife to one of the girls’ cats.

One by one the kids moved to Winnipeg, and in 1992 Jake and Mary followed them. They worked as caretakers at an apartment building on Archibald.

This part of Mary’s life brought new adventures. She kept the apartment complex neat and clean. Sometimes she noted that she had to clean fingerprints off the windows more often that should be necessary.

Mary and Jake acted as house parents to a wide variety of colourful characters. Mary found these sometimes quirky neighbors interesting and considered them friends. She and Jake were employed in this way for 10 years.

In addition to her already busy life in Winnipeg, Mary also spent a lot of time with her older grandchildren. She acted as daycare for Jordan and Russell, watching them every day while their parents went off to university classes and to work.

During this time she and Jake went on a train trip to Churchill, MB. There they went out on an excursion in a so-called Tundra Buggy – a kind of big bus on big wheels. There she saw polar bears up close. This trip made for great memories. In her last days she pointed to the photos of polar bears on her wall, and talked of that trip.

In 2000, Mary and Jake retired and moved to a little house on Barkman, in Steinbach. This also was a busy time. Mary worked more or less full time as a volunteer at the MCC thrift shop. There she made many friends. She was well loved there for her hard work and sunny disposition.

She had a close relationship with her children in Steinbach. Every Sunday Mary and Jake visited their children and had lunch with them.

On June 2, 2007 Jake suddenly passed away. Mary was not at all certain about what she wanted to do – but she did know that she wanted to live independently and not with one of her children.

In early 2008 she moved into a newly built condo a few blocks away. This was closer to the MCC thrift shop, and so she was able to continue working there. She loved that place and her friends there.

Mary became a bit of a cruiser. She went on a number of cruises, first down the Rhine in Germany, then from Alaska down the west coast These trips involved various of her children and grandchildren, but the organizer and main push was always her daughter Michelle.

Mary loved these cruises. She loved the service, the attention, the folded animal towels, the food, and most of all the company of her loved ones. It also turned out that Mary had a natural affinity for the sea. She was never seasick, no matter the weather. She enjoyed the thrill of storms and rough weather. Her travel companion children might be alternately hugging the toilet and praying, but Mary just enjoyed the swells, the sea spray and the adventure.

In 2017, Mary moved again, this time to the Bridge Park Manor assisted living complex. There she was served meals in the communal dining room, which she considered a great luxury. Many times she described this pampering and service as “just like a cruise”.

A year and a half ago in January of 2023 Mary moved once more, to the Silver Linings Cottages. Here again Mary embraced every aspect of her new home and her new friends. She loved the friendship and companionship of the staff and fellow residents. She loved the ever present music, the food, and the open expressions of faith around her. She was always thankful for her many blessings and she was truly happy.

In April of 2024, Mary fell ill. After a few weeks in and out of the hospital she was back at her beloved Cottages. On May 15 her family gathered around her in love. As the end neared, her daughter Connie led the singing of Mary’s favourite old gospel songs, and Mary passed from this life into the next.

During her time on earth Mary experienced many struggles. At different times she experienced poverty, physical and mental ill health and other hardships. Her life was rarely easy. Through it all she kept a relentlessly positive and optimistic outlook. Above all and right through to her last breath this was all made possible by her strong faith in God. There was rarely a situation that did not have a Biblical answer, or a problem that she could not bring to Jesus.

Mary was predeceased by her husband Jacob Brandt, her brother John Klassen and by her grandson Nick Brandt.

She is survived by her children Randy and spouse Susan, Darlene and spouse Doug, Michelle and spouse Dominick, and Connie and spouse Kevin.

She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren Jordan, Russell, Jessie, Elizabeth, Hannah, Conan, Jacob, Emily and Rosie, her four great-grandchildren Jayden, Casey, Jonah and Sidney, and by eight of her nine siblings.

The livestreamed funeral service will be held on Sunday, May 19th, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB., with viewing one hour prior.

The interment will take place at Blumenort Community Church Cemetery, Blumenort, MB.

Funeral Details

Funeral Service

  • Birchwood Funeral Chapel
  • 162 Highway 52 W, Steinbach
  • Directions: (Google Map)
  • May 19, 2024 - 2:00 pm


  • Blumenort Community Church Cemetery
  • PTH 311, Blumenort
  • Directions: (Google Map)