Reimer, John C. (1894-1990)

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 John C. Reimer with his mandolin. Preservings Photo.

John C. Reimer: museum founder, farmer, teacher, author and historian; born in Steinbach, Manitoba on 30 October 1894 to Johann W. and Maria T. (Barkman) Reimer, as the third of 11 children. At age 15 in 1909 his education was interrupted when he became crippled due to a severe attack of rheumatoid arthritis. As a bedridden teenager for three years, he became quite proficient on the mandolin. John was baptized in the Steinbach Kleine Gemeinde church on 23 July 1916. A little later he began teaching in the private Blumenhof village school which lasted until 1919 when the school was closed. On 6 July 1919, John married Maria D. Reimer (1897-1986) in Steinbach.

In 1920, John C. and Maria Reimer bought a farm in Prairie Rose and John continued to work towards a teaching profession.  John passed examinations for Grade 9 and began to teach in the public system, working in Ekron, Winnipeg, Blumenhof, and several other places. Taking classes in Altona, John C. Reimer attained high school level standings in the various subjects. He passed his Grade 11 courses in 1929 and attained his teaching certificate soon afterwards. John taught for another 16 years. He also helped establish a Sunday School in the Blumenort church.

John never abandoned his dream of farming. In addition to cultivating the land, John kept bees, started a dairy herd of cattle, and produced cheese. He was also the Secretary of the Hanover Agricultural Society for five years, planning fairs and arranging farm implement demonstrations. John C. Reimer was deeply involved in the community.

John C. Reimer was the chair of 75th anniversary celebration committee in 1949 of the arrival of Mennonites in Manitoba. He began to collect artifacts and information on Mennonites, which led to the official opening of the Mennonite Village Museum in 1967. From the mid-1950s until 1980, most of John C.'s contribution revolved around the development of this museum. For this service, he received a Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society in 1970, was named “Curator Emeritus” of the museum in 1974 and was given an honorary life membership in the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society in 1980.

Retirement years were still active for John C. Reimer as he cared for his wife as her health declined. She died on 20 March 1986. John died on 19 March 1990 in Steinbach.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2007: #11261.

Reimer, Arnold. “From Wells We Did Not Find: Biography of John C. Reimer 1894-1990.” Preservings No. 16 (June 2000): 112-119.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published December 2007

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MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "Reimer, John C. (1894-1990)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2007. Web. 22 Sep 2023.,_John_C._(1894-1990)&oldid=96191.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (December 2007). Reimer, John C. (1894-1990). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 September 2023, from,_John_C._(1894-1990)&oldid=96191.

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