Bertha “MOM” Horch
Former dorm parent at HCC
Bertha Horch (nee Mammel), beloved wife of the late Rev. Reuben Horch, a former Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB) pastor, passed on to be with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on Sunday, January 28 at the age of 93 years. Bertha leaves to cherish her memory, seven children, Philip Horch (Annalora) of Medicine Hat, Linda Friesen (Frank) of Winnipeg, Naomi Wall (John) of Winnipeg, Stanley Horch (Rita) of Winnipeg, David Horch (Brenda) of Winnipeg, Mark Horch (Karen) of Calgary, and James Horch (Shirley) of Winnipeg. Also surviving are 16 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.She has 3 surviving siblings; Anna Skaar of North Burnaby, B.C., Emma Johannson of Mission, B.C., and Fred Mammel (Agnes) of Chilliwack, B.C. Also surviving is sister-in-law Gladys Mammel of Linden, Alberta. Bertha was pre-deceased by her parents Friedrich and Anna Mammel (nee Horth) formerly of Chilliwack, B.C. and by siblings David, Louise, Lena, Arthur and Albert. Also pre-deceased was daughter-in-law Patricia Horch.
Bertha was born in Klostitz, Bessarabia, Romania in 1924 and immigrated to Canada with her parents and siblings at a very early age. She grew up on a farm in the Viking, Alberta area in the dirty 30’s.
Upon coming of age she enrolled at the Regina Bible Institute (forerunner to Hillcrest Christian College) in the early 40’s.This was shortly after this school was founded by the legendary Rev. F. S. Magsig. At R.B. I. she met the love of her life, Reuben Horch from Winnipeg, a fellow student and a future E.U.B. pastor. While a student at R.B.I, Reuben wrote the drama “The Broken Circle” which subsequently would be staged at many E.U.B. churches leading scores of people to the Lord. (This play was most recently staged at New Sarepta Evangelical Missionary Church a little over one year ago).They married in 1945 and shortly afterward entered the pastorate at Weyburn, Saskatchewan where our denomination once had a church. A couple years later they were transferred to an E.U.B. church in Vernon, B.C. Because of his preaching, piano, violin and singing skills, Reuben was then installed as the conference evangelist and preached at many E.U.B. churches over the next year resulting in many converts to the Lord. Because of failing vision, Reuben then left the pastorate and with Bertha moved to Winnipeg. That brought an end to Bertha’s role as a pastor’s wife.
There they became members of Albright E.U.B. Church where they served and worshiped for the rest of their lives. Bertha tragically lost Reuben very suddenly in 1975 while she still had 3 of her 7 children still living at home. After all the children left the nest, Bertha felt the call of the Lord to continue being a mom, the thing that she knew best. Arvid Lindley, the President of Hillcrest Christian College at the time needed a new dorm parent so mom applied and was hired. She bravely left behind most of her family in Winnipeg and moved to Medicine Hat. Now she had over 100 children!
Over the next 4 years she “ruled” the dormitory with a mixture of love, common sense, firmness and teaching. The students loved her and in no time she became “MOM HORCH”. Many of the students at that time found her to be a sympathetic listening ear, full of wise counsel, and an inspiring Christian role model. If a student was homesick, Mom quickly made them feel at home! If they were just plain sick, she had lots of good home remedies that perked them up! President Lindley often said he had far fewer student issues to deal with while mom lived in the dormitory.
Upon Bertha’s return to her home in Winnipeg in 1984 she continued to be a mom, taking in out of town University students who needed cheap room and board and wanted a home-like place to live. One of those was a former Hillcrest student who was pursuing seminary studies and had previously lived in mom’s dorm.
Bertha passed away quietly at age 93 after a bout of pneumonia surrounded by her Winnipeg family members. Scattered throughout our western Canadian Evangelical Missionary Churches today are dozens of former Hillcrest students whose lives have been touched by a very special MOM. We will all miss her.
A memorial celebration of Bertha’s life will be held at 1:00pm on Friday, May 11, 2018 at Albright Church located just on the outskirts of Winnipeg at 3400 De Vries Ave, East Saint Paul, MB.