Classification scheme: 

Title: John P. and Marianne (Rempel) Driedger family fonds

Dates of creation: 1913-2003

Physical description: 22 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: John P. Driedger (1920-2010) was born in Ohrloff, Molotschna, South Russia. His family immigrated to Canada in 1924. Driedger was a conscientious objector, serving a term at the Montreal River Alternative Service work camp in 1943. He married Marianne (Rempel) in 1944 in Leamington, Ontario, and was ordained to the ministry at Leamington United Mennonite Church in 1970. He later preached at North Leamington United Mennonite, on a local radio station, and at the Leamington Mennonite Home. As a preacher he was self-educated; his main occupation was farming. John Driedger also served on the local school board.

Marianne Driedger (1922-2018) was born in Tiegenhagen, Molotschna to Rev. Abram I. Rempel (1895-1972) and Margarethe (Willms) Rempel (1901-2001). Margarethe Rempel, also born in Tiegenhagen, was the daughter of Franz M. and Anna (Rempel) Willms. Abram Rempel was a teacher. The family immigrated to Canada in 1925, settling on Pelee Island, Ontario, where they farmed. Abram was ordainted and served as a minister at the Leamington United Mennonite Church (1932-1970), and helped found the United Mennonite Educational Institute (UMEI). 

Margarethe Rempel's older half-brother Abram Franz Willms (1877-1957) was married to Katharina Rempel. Katharina "Tina" (Willms) Martens (1902-1979) was born to Abram and Katharina Willms in Muntau, Molotschna, South Russia, the third of nine children. The family immigrated to Canada in 1924, settling first in Manitoba, then Ontario.

Custodial history: Donated to the Archives in 2019 by Carolyn Snider

Scope and content: The fonds consists of personal family documents collected by John P. and Marianne Driedger. They include the sermons of John P. Driedger, personal records of Marianne's parents Margarethe and Abram Rempel, and a commemorative booklet about the life of Marianne's uncle Abram Franz Willms prepared by his daughter, Tina.

Notes: See also the Nicolai and Katharina (Willms) Martens fonds
Original archival description created 2020 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.

File list:

Series 1: Margarethe (Willms) Rempel and Abram I. Rempel

See also: “Shattered but not destroyed: Margarethe Willms Rempel, 1901-,”  in Unrau, Ruth. Encircled : Stories of Mennonite Women. Newton, Kan.: Faith and Life Press, 1986, 243-254.

  1. Margarethe Rempel diaries, 1957-1969, 1972-1975, 1981-1994
  2. Margarethe Rempel notebooks
    "Mein Russisch, 1995"
    Household expenses, 1976-1993
  3. Margarethe Rempel correspondence, 1992, 1994
  4. Margarethe Rempel report cards and diploma from the Ohrloff Madchenschule, 1913-1916
  5. Translation of property distribution document of Anna (Rempel) Willms, 1925
  6. Margarethe Rempel autobiography "Grandma Reminisces," 1982
  7. Abram Rempel sermon book, 1960s
  8. Translation of Friedenstimme article by Franz Willms about the Kuruschan old age home, 1918

Series 2: Katharina (Rempel) Willms and Abram Franz Willms

  1. "Abram Franz Willms: Nachruf," 1958
    Photocopy made by the Archives of a commemorative booklet by daughter Tina (Willms) Martens. The booklet includes a brief obituary and biography of her father Abram Franz Willms, and a copy of a letter recounting her father's death.

Series 3: John P. Driedger

Sermons, ca. 1970-2003

  1. Radio sermons
  2. Leamington Mennonite Home sermons
  3. Church sermons
  4. Miscellaneous
    Sermon by Gary Harder, 1968
    Notes about marriage and divorce, 1982
    Obituary and notes on the life of John Driedger, 2019, 2020


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

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