Rempel, Dietrich "Dick" (1935-2023)

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Dietrich "Dick" and Dorothy Rempel

Dietrich "Dick" F. Rempel: teacher, pastor, conference leader; born in Osterwick, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Ukraine on 11 April 1935 to Franz Rempel (2 January 1905, Osterwick, Chortitza, South Russia – 13 July 1986, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada) and Helena (Klassen) Rempel (20 October 1907, Vasilyevka, Naumenko, South Russia – 28 June 2008, Abbotsford, British Columbia). He was the third of seven children. On 14 June 1957 Dietrich married Dorothy Anna Bergman (29 November 1937, Dundurn, Saskatchewan, Canada – 23 August 2022, Delta, British Columbia), daughter of Heinrich Bergmann (1899-1980) and Margaret (Friesen) Bergmann (1904-1984) in Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack, British Columbia (BC). They had four children, one of whom, Ken, tragically died in mountain climbing accident in 1980. Dick died on 15 May 2023 in Abbotsford, BC.

The Rempel family was evacuated with a retreating German army from Ukraine in 1943 and arrived in war-ravaged Germany in January 1945. In the chaos of World War II, Dietrich’s father survived 3 months incarceration in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. After the war, the family immigrated to Canada, sailing on the S.S. Samaria. They docked in Quebec City, Quebec, on 10 July 1949. Soon after the Rempels arrived in the Fraser Valley just in time for the annual raspberry and hop picking rituals.

Dietrich completed high school in Chilliwack, BC, and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia. After ten years of teaching in the province, Dietrich felt called to ministry. In preparation, he earned his Bachelor of Divinity (1965) and Master of Divinity (1967) degrees at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

Rempel was baptised in the Eden Mennonite Church by A. A. Harder in June 1952 and subsequently ordained in this church in 1965. Dietrich pastored for 42 years, with assignments in Germany (Berlin Mennonite Church), the United States (Evangelical United Church, Goshen, Indiana and Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, Inman, Kansas) and Canada (West Abbotsford Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC, Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack, BC, and Clearbrook Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC). He was also elected to senior conference executive positions, including Moderator, of Mennonite Church British Columbia, and also served as Conference Minister.

In 1995 Dick and Dorothy located to Berlin, Germany, where for five years they cared for and comforted Mennonite immigrants arriving from the former Soviet Union. Back home in Canada again, the Rempels accepted a part-time chaplaincy assignment at Tabor Village, in Abbotsford, a ministry that stretched to 12 years.

Characteristic of Dietrich, he was a willing volunteer. For 20 years he was on the board of the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. In retirement, Dietrich joined the book-binding enterprise at Garden Park Tower, contributing to this work for another dozen years. He and Dorothy were long-time, valued members of a Bible study group. In addition to the churches they pastored, Dietrich and Dorothy were members of Bakerview Church and later at Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church, where his memorial service took place.

The Rempels saw human need wherever they found themselves. It was not uncommon for Dietrich to carry a muffin with him on his walk about, always ready to engage with strangers along the way, which often became an occasion to offer personal warmth and something to eat for hungry souls.

Bibliography

Rempel, Dietrich. Interview by author. Abbotsford, BC (2019).

"Tribute to Dietrich Rempel." Garden Park Tower Newsletter (June 2023).


Author(s) David Giesbrecht
Date Published December 2023

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MLA style

Giesbrecht, David. "Rempel, Dietrich "Dick" (1935-2023)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2023. Web. 23 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rempel,_Dietrich_%22Dick%22_(1935-2023)&oldid=178023.

APA style

Giesbrecht, David. (December 2023). Rempel, Dietrich "Dick" (1935-2023). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rempel,_Dietrich_%22Dick%22_(1935-2023)&oldid=178023.




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