Goossen, Heinrich H. (1880-1968)

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Heinrich H. Goossen: farmer, minister, evangelist; born 15 June 1880 in Alexandertal, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia to Heinrich Goossen (1 September 1843, Liebenau, Molotschna, South Russia – 17 April 1917, Alexandertal, Molotschna, South Russia) and Anna (Funk) Goossen (10 May 1848, Alexandertal, Molotschna, South Russia – 25 February 1925, South Russia). Heinrich married Katarina Koop (28 October 1883, Pordenau, Molotschna, South Russia – 27 June 1950, Manitoba, Canada) in Pordenau on 25 May 1905. Heinrich had four children with Katarina: Martha, Heinrich (Henry), Johann (John), and Jacob (1920-1998). Heinrich and Katarina also adopted two children: Bernhard Bergen and Maria Görz (Goertz). Heinrich married Elisabeth Martens (16 August 1894, Ohrloff, Molotschna, South Russia – 4 October 1981, Matsqui, British Columbia, Canada) in October 1951. Heinrich died on 25 June 1968 in Chilliwack, British Columbia and was buried in Yarrow, British Columbia.

Heinrich was born into a Mennonite Brethren (MB) family that took very seriously the message of its church. It was not, however, until 28 June 1903 that Heinrich was baptized into the MB community. The very next year, he took on the role of evangelist in Russian Mennonite communities; evangelization of ethnic Russians was forbidden by the state. Heinrich reported his satisfaction with the fact that elder David Dürksen "lay his hands" upon the younger man, thereby endorsing him as an evangelist. He was later officially ordained as a minister. Heinrich accompanied Adolf Reimer (teacher, preacher, reporter) on so-called "mission trips," (Missionsreisen) evangelizing in Mennonite communities during the summer months. Goossen also delighted in music, serving as choir leader for a total of 30 years: eight years in Ohrloff, 16 years in Alexandertal, and finally six more years in Canada.

Goossen clearly regarded education as a vital component of his life. He attended elementary school from 1887-1894, high school in Gnadenfeld, South Russia from 1894-1897, and finally normal school in Halbstadt, South Russia from 1897-1899. Goossen then taught elementary school in Ohrloff, South Russia for eight years, 1900-1908, and later served as teacher and principal in a high school for two years in Alexandertal, South Russia, 1917-1918. His latter two years of teaching took place during the tumultuous times of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Civil strife and famine ensued. Heinrich and Katarina were able to emigrate from Russia in May 1924, arriving in Mexico, where they spent two difficult years as farmers. The Goossens were permitted entry into Canada in 1926. They settled on a farm in Manitou, Manitoba, working the land until they sold it in 1950. During this time, Heinrich led the Manitou Mennonite Brethren Church and continued his work in evangelism.

In 1950 Heinrich and Katarina decided to move to Yarrow, British Columbia and bought a home there in February. The move, however, was marked by tragedy. Katarina’s death on 27 June 1950 ended a 47-year marriage. One year later, Heinrich married Elisabeth Martens from Kitchener, Ontario. She had once been a pupil of his when he was teaching in Ohrloff.

Heinrich’s second marriage lasted 16 years. On 21 May 1968, Heinrich suffered a minor stroke, and appeared to be on the road to recovery. However, after celebrating his 88th birthday, he experienced a further stroke. He died ten days after his birthday. Although Heinrich’s health deteriorated over his late years, his mind was lucid until his final days.


GRANDMA = GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 17-09 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2017: #109995.

Löwen, Heinrich J. "Pred. Heinrich H. Gooβen." Mennonitische Rundschau (31 July 1968):" 1, 3.

Warkentin, A. and Melvin Gingerich, ed. Who’s Who Among the Mennonites. North Newton, KS: Bethel College Press, 1943: 88-89.

Author(s) Robert Martens
Date Published April 2018

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MLA style

Martens, Robert. "Goossen, Heinrich H. (1880-1968)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2018. Web. 15 May 2021.,_Heinrich_H._(1880-1968)&oldid=160334.

APA style

Martens, Robert. (April 2018). Goossen, Heinrich H. (1880-1968). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 May 2021, from,_Heinrich_H._(1880-1968)&oldid=160334.

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