Godfrey Gerald Epp was born on August 24, 1939, to Reverend Edward and Mary Epp of Hepburn, SK. At the age of one, Dad was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was left at The Sanitorium in Saskatoon to die. God was gracious and answered many prayers for healing and Dad was released back to his family after two years.
Doctors told Dad that he had only ten percent lung capacity and that he should never run, but he loved to compete in sports and played a wide variety, even excelling in fastball and badminton. His diminished lung capacity never seemed to slow him down as he completed his Red Cross Life Saving accreditation and was successful in meeting the requirements of University of Saskatchewan Bachelor of Education specializing in Physical Education.
Dad completed grade 12 in Waldheim School. He then spent one year at Bethany Bible Institute, and after that completed the one-year Teacher’s College program in Saskatoon.
It was during Teacher’s College that Dad met his future bride, Ruth Miller, who was also enrolled in the school. Their courtship included inexpensive activities such as long walks and 25-cent bus rides. This continued while Dad taught at Golden Acres and Mom taught at Glenbush. They were engaged on the last day of school before Christmas, 1959 when Dad came to Mom’s boarding house. The happy wedding took place in Saskatoon on July 2, 1960 at Mayfair Mennonite Church with Dad’s father, Rev Edward Epp officiating.
In the spring of 1960, they applied for teaching jobs at a two-room country school called Hopefield. They received conditional employment based on them getting married. The teacherage was right on the school yard and Mom continued teaching until Beth was born November 7, 1961. Terry was born June 24, 1963, and Dad continued to teach there until the house and living conditions became more of a struggle with two little kids and no running water.
Dad accepted a job as a teacher in Waldheim starting in the fall of 1964. Tim was born May 17, 1969. Dad was taking University of Saskatchewan courses by correspondence and summer classes to complete his Bachelor of Education degree in 1971. Dad taught a wide range of classes including high school German, Typing, History and Industrial Arts. He was also the vice-principal of the school. He had a desire to instill his love of learning and reading in his students. In total between teaching and working as a substitute teacher he taught for 50 years.
Dad was very involved in spiritual life at Salem Church. He sang in and directed the church choir. He led congregational singing. He was a Christian Service Brigade leader. He participated in church leadership as a board member, Moderator, conference delegate and served as the President of Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches.
As part of his love of competition and his desire to make a difference in the lives of those around him, coaching became a huge part of his life. He coached a wide range of high school sports including volleyball, basketball, curling, hockey, badminton and softball. It was our great pleasure that Dad was able to coach all his children in a variety of sports. Dad expected his athletes and students to give their best effort all the time. Dad was also involved in coaching fastball in Waldheim and area as he was the coach for the Valley Merchants leading them to the Western Canadian Championships four times and winning it twice.
In retirement, he played badminton and pickleball and enjoyed watching sports on tv. His physical health began to challenge him more and more. He developed Diabetes, and the tremors turned into Parkinson’s Disease which made it difficult for him to move around. His kidneys stopped functioning as well and he had to go on dialysis. Eventually he needed to go to the hospital for care. He entered the hospital on October 28 and died in wonderful Palliative Care at St. Paul’s Hospital on November 30.
Dad is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Ruth Epp; children Beth Epp, Terry (Rebecca) Epp, Tim (Shelley) Epp, Kathy Armitstead; grandchildren Lauren (Shane) Smith, Michelle Epp, Alexis (Luc) Epp, Nathan (Kalyna) Epp, Christopher (Kezia) Epp, Jesse Epp, Jordan Epp; great-grandsons Weston Smith and Carson Smith. He was predeceased by his grandson Evan Epp, parents Rev. Edward and Mary Epp and stepmother Eliza Speiser.
A come and go viewing will be held on Sunday, December 3, 2023,
at Funk’s Funeral Home Chapel
1010 7th Street, Rosthern, SK
7:00 – 8:00pm.
Interment will take place at Salem Cemetery at Monday, Dec. 4 @ 11:00am.
The Memorial Service will be held on Monday, December 4, 2023