Paul was born November 18, 1916, the oldest son of Paul Gerhard and Helena Poetker in Millerowo, Don Region, Russia. Because of the economic and social chaos triggered by the Russian Revolution, his family sought refuge in Alexandekrone, Molotchna, in Southern Ukraine. Paul had vivid and golden childhood memories of that time and place. Here he first attended Sunday School and learned the Bible stories he loved.
The family was able to emigrate to Canada in 1926 eventually settling on a farm in Luseland, Saskatchewan in 1928. In the years 1933 to 1936, the family homesteaded in Fairholme and then moved to Coaldale, Alberta. In Coaldale Paul completed his high school and after attending Normal School in Calgary, began his teaching career. This was interrupted by alternative service during WWII. After the war, he continued his studies in education at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta, pursuing his keen interest in linguistics. Paul finished his long teaching career facilitating distance learning for the Alberta Correspondence School. With his wife Mary he also established a school for the children of Old Colony Mennonites near Durango, Mexico. After retirement Paul volunteered, teaching English to refugees and immigrants at the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers in Edmonton.
Paul and Mary Dueck were married in Coaldale in 1948. They lived in the Fraser Valley and then Prince George, BC before moving to Tofield, Alberta and finally settling in Edmonton in 1962. God gave them seven children, four girls and three boys as well as some fine in-laws of whom they were justly proud.
Paul and Mary enjoyed sharing their cabin with their family and friends. They traveled extensively in Canada, the US, Mexico, South America and Europe.
Paul became a Christian when he was about 15 years old and was baptized and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church in Speedwell, Saskatchewan. Paul and Mary were charter members of both the Lendrum and Mill Woods Mennonite Brethren Churches, where they served as deacons and taught Sunday School. In 2010, Paul and Mary joined the Greenfield Baptist Church. Paul loved the Bible and the fellowship of believers. More than anything, Paul truly enjoyed his faith in God and Jesus Christ.
Paul was predeceased by his wife Mary, and leaves to mourn his seven children: Sharon (Jamie), Clarence, Albert (Pam), David (Monika), Corinne (Manfred), Katherine (Brian) and Lillian (David), as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also leaves to mourn his brother Henry Poetker and his sisters Emily Baerg, Nellie Lepp, Betty Esau and Edith Toews.
A Memorial Service for Paul will be held at Greenfield Community Church, 3712 114 St NW, Edmonton at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.
Donations in Paul’s memory may be made to the MB Mission.
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