Epp, Gilbert Edward (1926-2015)
Gilbert Edward Epp: banker and church volunteer on finance committees and boards; born 6 August 1926 in Laird, Saskatchewan, Canada, the eldest of four children born to Gerhard P. Epp (26 November 1888, Alexanderthal, Fürstenland, South Russia – 19 July 1978, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada) and Bertha (Friesen) Epp (29 July 1902, Laird, Saskatchewan, Canada – 17 February 1959, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada); the younger siblings were Edgar, Eileen and Lois (his father had three children from a previous marriage). Gilbert married Anne Ruth Nickel (27 November 1923, Blagodatnoye, Saratovskaya Oblast, Russia – 6 November 1977, Calgary, Alberta, Canada), daughter of Rev. Jacob J. and Anna (Wiebe) Nickel, on 29 January 1949 at West Abbotsford Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), Canada. They had four children: Judith, Cheryl, Brenda and James. After Anne’s death, Gilbert married Joyce Marie (Patterson) Harder on 1 December 1984. Gilbert passed away in Abbotsford, BC on 16 October 2015.
Gilbert graduated at age 16 from school in Laird, Saskatchewan. He was unable to pursue further education due to World War II, during which time he worked on his father’s farm so as to be exempt from military service. Gilbert was baptized in the Laird Mennonite Church in Saskatchewan by Rev. John G. Rempel.
Gilbert worked for a bank in Laird before beginning his career with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. He rose through the ranks, working as teller, loans accountant, branch manager, inspector, and auditor, and worked in Mission, BC, Creston, BC, Burnaby, BC, Clearbrook, BC, and Calgary, Alberta. During those years, Anne served as a Sunday School teacher, choir conductor, pianist, member of Ladies' Aids, and as treasurer of the BC Mennonite Women's Conference. Gilbert retired in 1982 in Calgary, Alberta.
In 1955 Gilbert and Anne became charter members of Vancouver Mennonite Mission Church (later Mountainview Mennonite Church). They attended Olivet Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC from 1960-1966 while retaining membership at Mountainview Mennonite Church until 1973 when they joined Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, Alberta, where Gilbert had been transferred. After Gilbert’s marriage to Joyce (Patterson) Harder in 1984, he moved to Langley, BC. He transferred back to Mountainview Mennonite Church where Joyce had also been a charter member. Later Gilbert and Joyce transferred to Cedar Valley Mennonite Church in Mission, BC and Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church in Abbotsford, BC.
Epp was involved in the life of the Mennonite Church from an early age. As an adult, he was interested in finances and stewardship. From 1959 to 1967 Gilbert was the treasurer of the Conference of United Mennonite Churches in BC. This was followed by a position as chairman of the Finance Committee for the same conference, a position he held until 1972 and one which also involved attendance in Winnipeg for meetings of the Finance Committee of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. As a result of this work, Epp became instrumental in forming Mennonite Foundation of Canada Inc (December 1973; renamed Abundance in 2016). In 1985 Gilbert Epp was appointed to represent the Conference of Mennonites in Canada on the board of Mennonite Foundation, which he did until 1988. He then volunteered as an internal auditor for Mennonite Foundation on several occasions. In 1992 Gilbert represented British Columbia on an interim board established by MCC Canada to oversee the latter’s SelfHelp operations and remained on the board for one year after it became permanent in 1994. In 1993 Epp became a member of Mennonite Foundation, representing British Columbia, and in 1995 was elected a director and Treasurer.
Gilbert also made contributions in less formal volunteer positions – he was a member of the first search committee charged with locating a suitable site for a children’s camp for the BC Mennonite Youth Organization. In October 1961, the site where Camp Squeah is now located north of Hope, BC, was purchased. During the early years of their retirement, Gilbert and Joy volunteered at Camp Squeah, building picnic tables and a play structure; repaired items to be sold at the SelfHelp store, and worked for two weeks in Cachipay, Colombia with SOOP (Service Opportunities for Older People).
Gilbert Epp was a man of great integrity, showing his faith by his honesty, fairness, and dedication in all aspects of his life, whether at home, at work, or in the church.
Epp, Gilbert. Unpublished autobiography “Eppisodes, Eppcetera” 1995, Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia Archives, Abbotsford, B.C.
|Author(s)||Judith Epp Blatz|
|Lois E. Schroeder|
|Date Published||November 2016|
Cite This Article
Blatz, Judith Epp and Lois E. Schroeder. "Epp, Gilbert Edward (1926-2015)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2016. Web. 24 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Gilbert_Edward_(1926-2015)&oldid=140926.
Blatz, Judith Epp and Lois E. Schroeder. (November 2016). Epp, Gilbert Edward (1926-2015). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Gilbert_Edward_(1926-2015)&oldid=140926.
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