George Letkeman: pastor, teacher, and craftsman; born 2 September 1918 in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, Canada, the second of 11 children of John J. Letkeman (3 May 1893 - 16 April 1984) and Margaret (Sawatsky) Letkeman (19 March 1894 - 28 August 1971). George married Susan Janzen on 8 October 1944 in the Greendale Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church. Their five children are: Ray, Dorothy, Viola, Rick and Laurie. George died of cancer on 11 November 1998 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
George attended grades one to eight in the Aberdeen Elementary School. Grade nine was conducted through correspondence. While listening to a missionary, George accepted Christ at the age of 10, and soon after was baptized in the Aberdeen Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1937 he enrolled in Bethany Bible School, studying here for two years. In later years, as time permitted, he continued his education at the Vancouver Bible Institute, Regent College, Vancouver Vocational Institute, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
After growing up on a grain farm in Aberdeen, George moved to Greendale, British Columbia (BC), where he worked for a while in trucking before taking over the management of a meat business. In 1949 he joined Grimwood Construction Company, and worked for this firm for the next 36 years, most of that time as a construction estimator.
Throughout his adult life, George was a loyal churchman. In the Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church he taught Sunday School from 1942 to 1952. Here he also worked with the young people and served as church treasurer. From 1952 to 1961 he served on the Vancouver MB Church leadership team as assistant pastor and as choir director.
In 1957 George traveled to Colombia, South America owing to the tragic death of his sister and brother-in-law, John and Mary Dyck. Two of the Dyck children, Nancy and Rodney, came to be part of the Letkeman family.
In 1961 George was a founding member of Willingdon MB Church in Burnaby, BC. He served this church as interim pastor at various times from 1961 to 1971, while maintaining his employment in construction. In 1969 the Willingdon congregation ordained George to the gospel ministry. For 21 years he served Willingdon as church council moderator. Other positions held at Willingdon included Sunday School teacher, church elder, home Bible study leader and chairman of New Horizons, a senior’s group.
After moving to Vancouver, George also found time to be involved with the larger British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. For some years he assisted in support for Bethel Girls’ Home, the home for single Mennonite women working in Vancouver. He was also active in the City Mission Committee as well as assisting the mission working with homeless people in Vancouver’s inner city. During the 1960s he was on the Board of Columbia Bible Camp (now Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre), directly participating in building the first swimming pool and gymnasium.
In 1966 he was elected to the board of the Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute located in Clearbrook, British Columbia. For nine years he served this Board as chairman. It was a highlight for him to see the merger of two denominational schools in 1970, Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute and Bethany Bible Institute, forming Columbia Bible Institute.
In 1979 he was elected to the British Columbia MB Board of Church Extension, serving as chairman for most of the six years he was on this board.
George Letkeman is remembered for his hearty handshake and love of people. He had an excellent memory, positive spirit and abundant energy. As a leader, he exercised his gift as a peace maker and mediator. He achieved his goals as a servant of Jesus Christ.
Letkeman, George. Memoirs of George Letkeman.
|Date Published||August 2010|
Cite This Article
Letkeman, Susan. "Letkeman, George (1918-1998)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Letkeman,_George_(1918-1998)&oldid=83147.
Letkeman, Susan. (August 2010). Letkeman, George (1918-1998). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Letkeman,_George_(1918-1998)&oldid=83147.
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