It was in this courtyard that she enjoyed
gardening her very own raised flower bed.Erna Klara Laser was the seventh of eight children born to Theodor and Pauline Werner, a German family living in West Prussia. She went to school from age 7 to age 14, learning German and Polish. At age 14 she became apprentice as sales clerk in a dry goods store. Erna supported herself with this day job in the Hohensee Family business, while attending night school. Her dream to become a teacher was never realized, however, due to the war years.
At age 14 she attended special evangelistic meetings at church with a very dynamic speaker. Through his powerful messages, she recognized her need for a Savior and came to faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized. This was the most important decision she ever made in her life!
When WWII broke out, it was the Hohensee family who took her with them to the countryside, to escape the turmoil in the city and be more protected. There she found a position with the post office. Later she trained as a telecommunications operator in the Air Force, stationed in Bialystock, Poland. During one of her vacations home, she met Heinrich Laser, who was also in telecommunications, stationed in Amsterdam. After that the two often passed the long, boring night duties with conversation getting to know one another well enough to fall in love and become engaged. They married July 3, 1942. They were only together as a married couple for 2 short weeks, and then had to return to duty. Thereafter, they only received the occasional leave to return home.
This was a difficult and stressful time. In October 1944, without her husband at her side, but the help of a midwife, Erna gave birth to their first child. When their daughter was 3 months old, Erna had to leave her lovely apartment, take the child and a few belongings and flee the enemy. Together with her sister Minna, her sister-in-law Else with her two children, these three women trekked across the country for a whole year. During that time they experienced God’s faithful protection in miraculous ways. They ended up in Germany, where their husbands’ family lived. It was in Goslar, that both women were re-united with their spouses. Each woman had her own powerful story to tell! Heinrich and Erna had two more children in Goslar, a son and a daughter.
Ten years later the family immigrated to Canada, settling in Winnipeg, MB. Erna enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom doing occasional cleaning jobs to supplement the family income to help buy their first house. Involvement in the church with the Women’s Ministries groups was a great joy in Erna’s life. She sang in the choir, was secretary of the ladies group and as deaconess faithfully visited the elderly. Later she donated thousands of volunteer hours to the Shepherd’s Care Foundation and found that to be the most rewarding time of her later years of life!
Erna visited family in Germany twice, once to be reunited with her sister Lydia, who she believed had died in captivity! You can imagine the joy! She also traveled to visit her children while they lived in various parts of the USA and Canada!
A severe bout of shingles at their 50th Anniversary celebration left her with considerable chronic pain; even a pain-management clinic could not help her to cope with the nerve damage to her right side.
When Erna’s husband died November 1998, she moved to a smaller apartment in the Millwoods Manor and carried on as best as she could with the full support of her family and many friends.
At Shepherd’s Care Erna loved to crochet, listen to Bible sermons and hymns, and attend church services, communion and anything German! She loved to sell at her Saturday craft table. She loved her garden but more than that, she loved people and sharing her life experiences with others in the hope of providing stimulation and encouragement. She gave advice freely – whether you wanted it or not; but it was to your advantage and you were wise to listen! She was a woman of prayer – always sharing how the Lord answered so many of them! She had a good sense of humor – but was often frustrated by her hearing loss. She really appreciated people who took the time to explain what was happening to her and why.
My brother Garry in Chilliwack, my sister Christina in Sardis, and I, with our families, were so thankful that our mother was placed into the Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre where her German spiritual and cultural needs were met. She loved all the staff, but especially also her ‘Polish girls’ who loved to tease with her! She had lived on this campus of care for 25 years! And it was from here that the Lord carried her home, after a brief illness, to live forever with Him. She gladly moved from time into eternity on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:10 p.m. taking no earthly possessions with her, for she had sent her treasures on ahead!
We will fondly remember you
Mom, Oma, Oma-Oma, Tante Erna, Friend and Fellow Volunteer !