Heppner, Ben L. (1917-2002)

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Ben L. Heppner: missionary and minister; born in Laird, Saskatchewan, Canada on 12 July 1917 to Bernhard H. Heppner (11 August 1883, Morden, Manitoba, Canada - 29 April 1969, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) and Sarah (Loewen) Heppner (25 September 1886, Parker, South Dakota, USA - 24 June 1973, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada). Ben was the sixth of 13 children. He married Esther Edna Nikkel (5 June 1918, Laird, Saskatchewan - 7 March 2011, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), daughter of Erdman Nikkel (1893-1966) and Aganeta "Agnes" (Schultz) Nikkel (1893-1969), on 7 September 1941 in Laird, Saskatchewan. They had two adopted children, a daughter, Patricia, and a son, Timothy. Ben died on 14 March 2002 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Ben attended school until grade nine. He became a Christian in his early teens, was baptized in 1937 in the North Saskatchwan River, and joined the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church in Laird, Saskatchewan.

After his marriage to Esther the couple moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Ben worked in a sawmill and a can factory. After one year, they returned to Saskatchewan to help on the family farm in Laird. During this time Ben worked with the youth and the choir in the church as well as taught Sunday school. Ben began studies at Prairie Bible Institute in 1946 and graduated in 1949. He later earned a B.Th. degree from the American Bible College. After his graduation in 1949, Ben served for one year as pastor of Okotoks Gospel Chapel in Okotoks, Alberta, where he was ordained for the ministry.

In the summer of 1950, Ben and Esther joined West Indies Missions (later known as Worldteam). They served for 17 years in Guadeloupe, planting a church and pastoring several churches. He also taught in the Bible school and aided in the construction of homes. During the time when he was on furlough back in Saskatchewan, Ben pastored the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church for a year and the Dalmeny MB Church for two years from 1965 to 1967. Ben and Esther also served three years as a missionary in Haiti.

After Ben and Esther retired from the mission field, Ben became the first paid pastor of the East Chilliwack MB Church, serving there from 1970 to 1975. During this time their son Tim was killed in a car accident in 1971. They returned to Saskatchewan in 1975, where Ben pastored the Warman MB Church from 1975 to 1982. In 1982, Ben was appointed Conference Minister of the Saskatchewan Mennonite Brethren Conference, and served for three years.

After retirement, Ben served in several pastoral interim appointments at Hope Fellowship in Saskatoon, Gospel Fellowship Church in Foam Lake, College Drive Community Church in Lethbridge, Langham Evangelical Bible Church, and in Quebec. He also led tours to Guadeloupe and served on the Warman Housing Authority for 12 years. In 1990 they moved to West Portal Manor in Saskatoon where he passed away.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.02 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2010: #224554.

Loewen, Jennifer Wiebe. "Ben L. Hoppner GAMEO bio." Personal e-mail (8 February 2016).

Mennonite Brethren Herald (21 June 2002): 25-26; (June 2011).

Author(s) Richard D Thiessen
Date Published July 2016

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MLA style

Thiessen, Richard D. "Heppner, Ben L. (1917-2002)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2016. Web. 19 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heppner,_Ben_L._(1917-2002)&oldid=142763.

APA style

Thiessen, Richard D. (July 2016). Heppner, Ben L. (1917-2002). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heppner,_Ben_L._(1917-2002)&oldid=142763.

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