Henry, son of Kornelius and Katharina (Harder) Patkau, was born November 5, 1928 at Hanley, Saskatchewan. He grew up on the parental farm together with his two brothers and four sisters. Farming was a way of life and livelihood from childhood until well into adulthood. Poverty and hard work helped to shape and mold Henry’s character. Henry attended a small country school, and after completing grade nine, continued his education in segments. He attended the Hanley Mennonite Church and was baptized on May 17, 1947 by Rev. J.J. Thiessen. He was ordained as minister of Nordheimer Mennonite Church on July 16, 1972.
Henry’s pursuit in studies led him to Rosthern Bible School in 1945-1947. In 1974 he graduated from Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Winnipeg, Manitoba with a Bachelor of Theology degree. In 1982 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree (Sociology) from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and his Masters of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
On July 15, 1973 Henry and Maryann Janzen of Morden, Manitoba were united in marriage by Rev. John Friesen at Morden Bergthaler Mennonite Church. After their marriage in 1973 Mary took on the role of homemaker and stood by her husband in ministry. Mary helped Henry achieve his education goals and was involved with many aspects of church ministry. On June 22, 1974 they had a son Jonathan who was stillborn.
In 1983 Henry and Mary sold their farm at Hanley, Saskatchewan and went into fulltime ministry. This led him to serve: Grace Mennonite Church, Regina, Saskatchewan; Grace Mennonite Church, Brandon Manitoba; and Lowe Farm Bergthaler Mennonite Church, Lowe Farm, Manitoba. Henry’s work included serving on multiple committees and conferences within the Mennonite Church. His work and schooling took him around the world, including the middle East, Mexico, Ukraine, and Germany. Henry shared the workload at other churches through the years, served as a lay pastor at times, and acted as a chaplain.
Henry wrote “serving as a pastor has brought spiritual and social experience that have enriched our lives. Ministry in church has brought added dimension of getting to know people and programs of our denomination, and involvement in inter-church city ministerial programs…There have been numerous experiences in ministry that have enriched our lives. We give God the glory for being privileged to have the opportunity to belong to a great cloud of witnesses.”
In 1994 Henry retired and with Mary they moved to Morden, Manitoba where they became members of the Morden Bergthaler Mennonite Church. Come 2001 they moved to Battleford, Saskatchewan where Henry served as a pastor in North Battleford, Hope Mennonite Fellowship for five years until retiring again in 2006. In the years to follow together they went on trips to Yukon, Alaska, Pennsylvania, the Maritime Provinces, and Europe.
Henry leaves to mourn his wife of nearly 50 years, Maryann; his brother Erwin (Helen); brother-in-law Delmar Rempel (June); sisters-in-law Hilda Patkau and Sarah Klassen. Henry is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Henry was predeceased by his infant son, Jonathan (stillborn); his four sisters Tina Harder, Frieda Peters, Esther Patkau, Alice Rempel; brother Corny Patkau; and brothers-in-law Nick Harder, Henry Peters and John Klassen.
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