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Featured Article: "Unger, Walter (1936-2018)"

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Walter and Laura Unger

Walter Unger: pastor, teacher, and college president; born 5 July 1936 to Jacob P. Unger (28 March 1899, Olgafeld, Fuerstenland, South Russia – 26 September 1958, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada) and Hilda Elisabeth (Wiese) Unger (17 July 1901, Apleck, Russia – 25 January 1970, St. Catharines, Ontario) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He was the last of seven children. On 27 August 1960 Walter married Laura Redekopp, daughter of Benjamin B. Redekopp (1904-1996) and Antonia (Kusmenko) Redekopp (1907-1992) in Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church, St. Catharines, Ontario. They had three children: Brian, Bruce, and Michele. Walter died of cancer in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada on 10 May 2018.

Walter grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he attended high school at Eden Christian College. Walter’s appetite for learning was nurtured at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he grew to love history and theology. He earned his second Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, with majors in history and philosophy. In preparation for his anticipated career in public school teaching, Walter gained his professional credentials in Hamilton, Ontario. After ten years as a public school teacher, Walter continued his studies at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in Deerfield, Illinois. His MA thesis examined the social views of Charles G. Finney. Being an avid life-long learner, Walter earned a PhD from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1982. His dissertation was titled: "Earnestly Contending for the Faith: The Role of the Niagara Bible Conference in the Emergence of American Fundamentalism, 1875-1900."

Walter spent his entire life serving in the Mennonite church. He was baptized into the Scott Street MB Church on 8 July 1951, and matured into a dedicated churchman, who strove to articulate a contemporary understanding of his Mennonite Brethren denomination. He was very involved with the congregations to which he belonged: Scott Street MB Church, from 1951 to 1964; Fairview MB Church, 1964-1968 where he was the associate pastor, and Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, BC, 1969-2018. Beyond serving in his own home church, Walter was active in the Canadian Conference of MB Churches, serving on the Board of Christian Education and the Board of Faith and Life, which he chaired for many years.

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