Rempel, William L. (1914-1965)

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William L. Rempel

William Leonard Rempel: minister and teacher; born 20 November 1914 in Gruenfeld, Schlachtin Colony, South Russia to Wilhelm W. Rempel (24 November 1888 - 29 October 1983) and Helena (Rempel) Rempel (18 February 1891 - 15 June 1935). He was the second of three sons. William married Tiena Thiessen (b. 5 October 1921 in Felsenbach, Borozenko Colony, South Russia), daughter of Abram I. Thiessen and Helena (Penner) Thiessen, on 17 June 1943 at Griswold, Manitoba. They had five children: Helen, Irvin, Ruth, Marvin and Karen. William passed away on 21 December 1965 at the age of 51 in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

In 1923 W. L. "Bill" Rempel and his parents migrated to Canada, first settling in Herbert and Headpath, Saskatchewan before settling in Swift Current. He was baptized 6 June 1932 by Elder Gerhard Buller in the Swift Current Mennonite Church. Bill felt called to the ministry at an early age. He attended Bible school at Herbert for 3 years and at Three Hills for 2 years. He was called to serve in the Swift Current Mennonite Church and was ordained to the ministry by Elder J. J. Nickel of Main Centre on 9 November 1941. During this time he also taught at the Swift Current Bible Institute for 3 years and served the Emmaus Church for several years.

Bill met Tiena Thiessen at Swift Current while she was a student. They were married in 1943 and attended Winkler Bible School. He was a member of the fifth year class in 1943-1944.

Bill and Tiena moved to East Chilliwack, BC and purchased a 12-acre farm. He was invited to help establish the Westheimer Mennoniten Gemeinde (later called East Chilliwack and now Eden Mennonite). Bill loved to study, pray and teach the Scriptures. While leading the congregation, he also taught at Bethel Bible Institute in Abbotsford (1944-1947 and 1951-1953). Students spoke well of his teaching style. In the early years, when the pastor was not supported financially by the church, the main source of income for Bill and Tiena was their 12-acre farm. Tiena managed the farm during the winter months while Bill taught in Abbotsford.

Bill served the East Chilliwack congregation for 12 years. He was their lead minister from July 1945 until December 1952 and January to May of 1956. During this time he introduced the Sunday morning church bulletin. He effectively told a story to the children before each message. His focus was evangelism—leading individuals to surrender personally to Jesus Christ. Bill's Conference activities included serving as chair of the BC Mennonite Youth Organization for two years and editing the youth magazine, the Messenger.

In May of 1956 the leadership of the East Chilliwack congregation was transferred to Henry H. Neufeld at the recommendation of Bill Rempel. Bill and the family remained at the church for another year and then left to become charter members of the Chilliwack Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Fellowship Chapel.

In 1963 Bill developed kidney cancer. While he was in the Chilliwack hospital awaiting chemo treatments, he passed away on 21 December 1965 at the age of 51, leaving Tiena and their children Helen, Irvin, Ruth, Marvin and Karen.


The History of Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack, British Columbia 1945-1995. Chilliwack, BC: Eden Mennonite Church, 1995.

Peters, Gerhard I. Remember Our Leaders: Conference of Mennonites in Canada 1902-1977. Clearbrook, BC: The Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, 1982.

Author(s) Richard D. Thiessen
Helen Schmidt
Date Published June 2005

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MLA style

Thiessen, Richard D. and Helen Schmidt. "Rempel, William L. (1914-1965)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2005. Web. 8 Jun 2023.,_William_L._(1914-1965)&oldid=133754.

APA style

Thiessen, Richard D. and Helen Schmidt. (June 2005). Rempel, William L. (1914-1965). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 June 2023, from,_William_L._(1914-1965)&oldid=133754.

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