Elfrieda Ruth Loewen


Elfrieda Ruth (Regier) Loewen, 100, died June 27, 2023. She was born June 21, 1923, the daughter of David A. and Barbara (Epp) Regier, and grew up on a farm near Mountain Lake, Minn. Her father was a pastor in the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church. She was baptized at age 10 and joined the EMB church, where she remained a member.

She attended Mountain Lake Bible School and high school, Mankato State University and Wheaton College, where she graduated after studies in German literature and science. During a visit to Goshen College, she met Mel Loewen, a Canadian from Steinbach, Man., at an ice cream party. While he was finishing his senior year at Goshen, she taught high school science in northern Minnesota. They were married in August 1949.

While Mel was teaching high school and taking graduate classes at the University of Minnesota and Elfrieda cared for her first babies, missionary friends came visiting and mentioned the need for educators in Africa. Mel and Elfrieda applied for service with Congo Inland Mission and were soon off to Congo with their three children.

During their first furlough in 1959, the family – by then with five children — stopped in Belgium for a year for Mel to finish his residency for a Ph.D. The ’60s were turbulent years in Congo. The family had to deal with a rebel occupation of their city lasting four months. Throughout, Elfrieda was reassured by God’s presence. Her sixth child was born shortly after paratroopers rescued the family.

Among her fondest memories were the many women she worked with and studied Bible with in Congo, California, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Washington, D.C. Wherever she could find a garden spot, in their 36 moves around the world, she would grow vegetables and plant flowers.

She is survived by Mel, her husband of 74 years, and her children, Barbara, Margaret, John, James and Lisa, and by her sister, Mary Regier. Her eldest child, Jacob Gerard, predeceased her. Interment was in Steinbach, Man.

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