Ewert, Peter F. (1900-1988)

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Peter F. Ewert: church worker; born in Rosenthal, Chortiza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia on 6 October 1900. He was the son of Franz Ewert (2 January 1871, Jempka, Poland – 19 November 1957) and Eva (Tilitzky) Ewert (11 September 1880, Gerhardsthal, Chernoglas, South Russia – 9 September, 1937, Pambrun, Saskatchewan, Canada). Peter married Aganetha "Nettie" Klassen (25 July 1904, Orenburg City, Orenburg, Russia – 7 May 1994, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), daughter of Jacob Klassen (1874-1955) and Agatha (Pauls) Klassen (1877-1955), on 7 October 1928 in the Brotherfield Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church in Waldheim, Saskatchewan. Peter and Nettie had five children: Frieda, Frank, Robert, Ruth, Carol, and Dorothy. Peter died on 26 May 1988 in Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), where he was buried.

In 1904 Peter immigrated to Canada via New York with his parents and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from 1905 to 1916. Here his father Franz and Uncle Peter Ewert ran a small butcher shop and store on the corner of Talbot and Eaton near the Louise Bridge. Also pioneering in the Louise Bridge/Elmwood neighborhood were Bernard and Eva Tilitzky (Eva Ewert’s parents). This group of people met regularly for worship and Sunday school at Peter’s uncle’s place. In time this fellowship formed the North End Mennonite Brethren Church, the first MB church in Winnipeg.

When Peter was 16 his family moved to Pambrun, Saskatchewan where his father had claimed a quarter section of land to farm. A few years later, after his family had moved to the Hepburn area, Peter became a follower of Jesus at the Brotherfield MB Church.

In 1925 Peter met Aganetha Klassen, a recent immigrant from the Soviet Union, and they married in 1928. After two years of study at Bethany Bible Institute in Hepburn as a mature student, Peter’s natural interest in outreach to English speaking neighbors was reinforced and heightened. While continuing to farm, Peter served at Brotherfield as a member of the Ewert Brothers Quartet (Ben, Dave, Jake and Peter), as youth leader, and an enthusiastic Sunday school teacher.

The Ewerts settled on a McCallum Road homestead in Abbotsford, BC in 1938. Peter and his family attended the South Abbotsford MB Church until 1950, at which time he and Nettie became charter members of the Abbotsford MB Church (later named Central Heights) together with about 200 other transfers from the South Abbotsford congregation.

Peter became their first Sunday school superintendent and began outreach ministries through Sunday school extensions and Daily Vacation Bible School. Through Peter’s leadership, a number of branch Sunday Schools were served by the church on Sunday afternoons. The church furnished teachers and transportation to communities like Ruskin, South Otter, and Peardonville. As time continued, Ewert and others formed the West Coast Children’s Mission. Peter’s children would accompany him on Sunday afternoons, help clean up the often untidy sites, and participate in the worship and teaching services. Peter continued this outreach ministry faithfully for many years while staying heavily involved in local ministries at both South Abbotsford and Central Heights.

Peter and Nettie were ordained for life as deacons and Peter taught various Sunday school classes over the years. But perhaps his most enjoyable ministry came to him through the Men of Song male choir where he sang first tenor for several decades. After a Men of Song concert in Lynden, Washington, a person came up to him and said: "You won’t remember me but I was one of your students at the Ruskin Sunday School and I am following Jesus now because of your teaching."

Peter F. Ewert passed away in Abbotsford in 1988 and was followed by Nettie in 1994. They will be remembered as faithful disciples of Jesus; they loved and cared deeply for family, church, friends, and neighbors.


Dueck, Abe. "Mennonite Brethren Pioneering an Urban Environment: The Beginnings of the First Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg." Research Paper, 2006.

Ewert, Jay. "The Story of Franz P. Ewert." Unpublished, 1998.

The Lord Builds His Church: A History of the Central Heights Mennonite Church Prepared for the Celebration of its Silver Jubilee, 1950-1974. Abbotsford, BC: The Church, 1975.

Penner, Peter. Reaching the Otherwise Unreached: An Historical Account of the West Coast Children’s Mission of B.C. Clearbrook, BC: West Coast Children’s Mission of British Columbia, 1959.

Author(s) Sig Polle
Date Published October 2016

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MLA style

Polle, Sig. "Ewert, Peter F. (1900-1988)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2016. Web. 28 Sep 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ewert,_Peter_F._(1900-1988)&oldid=139636.

APA style

Polle, Sig. (October 2016). Ewert, Peter F. (1900-1988). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ewert,_Peter_F._(1900-1988)&oldid=139636.

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