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Obituary of Martha Regina Scheck
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Martha was born on June 6, 1932 in the German village of Grosswerder in Soviet Russia (present day Ukraine). She was born to George Massold and Katharina Simon the youngest of four children. She had two sisters, Maria and Katharina; and a brother, George. It was a wonder she survived as in the year 1932 there was a severe famine in the Ukraine, with an estimated 8 million dead. As a child, Martha was fluent in Russian & German. She went to school for 2 years in Grosswerder and was only 9 years old when the German Army invaded Russia in June of 1941. She and her parents hid in a dirt cellar in the Russian village of Temruk not far from the village of Grosswerder and witnessed the battle between the German and Russian Army. As the German Army approached the Russians hauled out the rest of her family by train in cattle cars to Siberia, including her brother and two sisters, aunts and most other Germans. There were a few family members that escaped. Aunt Anna Wagner escaped being loaded on the train when she took Anatoly (Tony) Scheck age 2 from his mother Maria. Another was an orphan Sophie Scheck when her mother sent her back to get tomatoes left on the kitchen table for the train trip. Martha and her family lived under German occupation for 2 years and her father George Massold became the last Mayor of Grosswerder. After the debacle at Stalingrad the German Army started to retreat. In October of 1943, as the retreat neared Grosswerder they deserted their home by horse drawn wagons and headed west. After a difficult 6 month winter journey they arrived in Welun, Poland in April of 1944. They were made citizens of Hitler’s Third Reich because they were Germans and father George was drafted into the German Army as an interpreter for Russian prisoners of war. In January of 1945, they had to flee once again in front of the advancing Russian Army. They found refuge in Kirchsteitz a small village in eastern Germany. The war ended in early May of 1945 and her father was reunited with the family. In July of 1945, the Russian Army took over the newly created East German Zone and immediately started hauling refugees back to Russia by train. Martha and her parents along with Tony and Sophie again had to flee for fear of being deported back to communist Russia. They escaped across the border in the middle of the night into the American Zone. They found lodging in the small town of Koberg in northern Germany in the British Zone and lived in occupied Germany for 3 years where Martha was able to attend school again. In 1948, they emigrated to Canada sponsored by Philip Scheck. They found passage across the Atlantic Ocean on the ship the Beaverbrae and landed at Quebec City. The train to Denzil, Saskatchewan took 3 days. Martha was only 16 years old when she arrived in Canada. It took 15 years before they learned what happened to family members. Martha said she was able to learn English by reading comic books. At the age of 17 years, she married John Scheck. Her first question after saying yes to John’s proposal of marriage was “Will we have enough to eat?” They lived and worked on the family farm at Bodo, Alberta, and raised 7 children. She was devoted to her family and farm life. In 1981 they decided to retire and move into their new house in Provost, Alberta. John passed away on February 10, 2006 and Martha lived as a widow for 15 more years. She moved to the Hillcrest Lodge in May of 2017 and Long Term Care in January of 2018. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 9, 2021 at the age of 89 years surrounded by her family. Martha loved to read German magazines and romance novels. She loved to play cards, and especially a German card game called “Buck” (Sheep’s Head). She was a wonderful cook and made many ethnic German recipes like Klasse and Peroski. She had a well developed sense of humor and loved to joke. She was also quite outspoken and her favorite saying was “Well don’t be so Stupid!” She was an avid Catholic and went to church faithfully every Sunday. She said she prayed for everyone every day. Having lived through hard times, Martha experienced hunger, and having lived through the trauma of war as a child she knew what it was like to be afraid. She did not need many material possessions. She was thankful for the freedom and security she found in Canada. On her gravestone she wrote “To Love and Be Loved is the Greatest Happiness”. Martha is survived by her children, Bernard “Ben” (Loretta) Scheck of Provost, AB and their children, Benjamin (Phyllis), Matthew (Joelle):Theodore and Eliza and Michael (Erica): August; Mary (Jim) Knowler of Calgary, AB; Irene (Myron) Ganser of Provost, AB and their children, Emmett (Serena), Michelle (Parker) Pellegrini: Levi, Piper, Quinn; and Simon (Zoe): Monty; Robert Scheck of Bodo, AB; Angela (Kirk) Sutherland of Ardrossan, AB and their children, Jason (Julia) and Tyson (Sofia); Kathy (Doug) Reichert of Cactus Lake, SK, and their children, Megan (Kevin) Carter: Kaleb, Kate; Tyler (Kelsey): Luke; and Bailey; Ron (Lori) Scheck of Provost AB, and their children, Laine, Cade; as well as many friends and neighbours. Martha was predeceased by her husband, John Scheck; her parents, George and Katharina Massold; her brother, George; and sisters, Maria and Katharina; and nephew, Anatoly “Tony” Scheck.
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