It is with great sadness and much love that the Kern Family says goodbye to their beloved mother and grandmother Meraleen Kern who passed away April 2, 2019 at the age of 89.
Meraleen Elizabeth Kern was born on January 7, 1930 in Artas, South Dakota, to Philip and Louise (Wenz) Huber. Times were difficult growing up in the 1930s on a South Dakota farm, but Meraleen answered the call to Christian ministry at a young age and decided to leave home and get a degree in Christian Education from Sioux Falls College. As a student and pianist at the college, she ended up meeting her husband-to-be while accompanying one of the college’s musical groups. Meraleen married Edwin Christian Kern from Millet, Alberta on August 28, 1953 in Bison, South Dakota.
After much prayer and consideration, the young couple decided to leave the comforts of their life here and move to Japan as missionaries for the North American Baptist Church. Now pregnant with her first child, Meraleen boarded a Japanese passenger ship on Nov. 25, 1955 at the port of Seattle, Washington for a slow 15-day, seasickness-filled voyage across the Pacific Ocean. Their missionary adventures in Japan began in the historical capital city, Kyoto, where they began to study Japanese language and culture while setting up their new home and planning to start their first new church. Meraleen and Edwin spent 17 years as missionaries in Japan in 3 different cities before moving to the Edmonton area. Four of their five children were all born in Japan.
Meraleen was kept very busy taking care of her family, but in Edmonton, she also worked as a substitute teacher for Edmonton Public Schools and as a Recreational Coordinator at the Shepherd’s Care home in Millwoods. She continued to pursue her love of music by playing the piano, vibraphone, and singing at Central Baptist and other churches in the community. She was also very active in supporting the Edmonton Japanese Christian Church. Appreciating the challenges of getting settled in a foreign country, Meraleen made time to volunteer teaching English to many new immigrants coming to Edmonton and helping them get established.
Meraleen will be sadly missed by her sister Ruth Anita Baxter, brother Reuben Edwin Huber; sons Timothy, David, Joel, Nathan and their wives Keiko, Brenda, Dawn and Patti; grandchildren Salina, Moye, Jonah, Naomi, Adam, Brodie, Jacob, Cameron, and Kendra; step-grandchildren Dane and Jade and their father, Ron Kullman (widower of Deborah Kullman); members of the extended Kern family; many church family friends and residents at Shepherd’s Care Millwoods.
Meraleen was predeceased by her parents Philip and Louise, husband Edwin (1926 – 2001), and daughter Deborah Lynn Kullman (1965 – 2009).
The Kern family would like to extend a special thank you to the wonderful staff and residents at the Shepherd’s Care Home in Millwoods who cared so lovingly for Meraleen over the years.
A memorial service to celebrate Meraleen’s life will be held at Terwillegar Community Church,1751 Towne Centre Blvd. NW on April 10 at 1:00 PM. A public viewing will be held at Serenity Funeral Services, 5311 – 91 Street NW from 7:30 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday April 9..
Memorial donations can be made in Meraleen’s name to the Shepherd’s Care Foundation, or in recognition of the heart-felt compassion she had for refugee and immigrant families, donations can also be made to Refugee Bridge through Terwillegar Community Church (designate as “Refugee Sponsorship”) or online at http://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34173.