Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.
Lorna Lucille Shantz 

Lorna Lucille Shantz

Female 1921 - 2009

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  • Birth  1921  [1
    Gender  Female 
    Interesting Life Story  public service, education 
    Public Service  Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation, , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation member 
    Name  Lorna Lucille Bergey 
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-40003 
    Died  22 Mar 2009  Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID  I40003  Generations
    Last Modified  6 Nov 2018 

    Family  David Dalton Bergey,   b. 6 Feb 1916, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Apr 1980, Toronto, York Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  20 May 1940 
    Family ID  F41302  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    Lorna Lucille Shantz
    Lorna Lucille Shantz

  • Notes 
    • BERGEY, Lorna Lucille (nee Shantz) - Died peacefully at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, on Saturday, March 22, 2009, in her 88th years. Lorna was the loving wife of the late David D. Bergey who predeceased her in 1980. Survived by sons, Edward (Karen Rudy) and Robert (Linda Penner) both of Brampton, Grandchildren Christopher (Lisa Moretti) Bergey of Woodbridge, Suzanne (Jeremy) Stacey of Brampton. Fondly remembered by eight great-grandchildren. Also survived by siblings, Jean Culb (Vineland), Kenneth and Marie Shantz, Wilbur and Kay Shantz, Joanne Hunsberger, Beth and Paul Good all of New Hamburg and Kathryn Leatherman of Elkhart, Indiana and sister-in-law, Vaughn Waddle. Predeceased by Clyde Shantz. Lorna was a resident of Fairview Suites, Cambridge and formerly resided in Eastwood Community (Kitchener), Haysville and New Dundee. In 1988 Lorna retired form Bergey's Cheese that she and her husband David had operated for 38 years. She tirelessly volunteered her time and held leadership positions throughout her life in a variety of Mennonite Church and Community organizations. These include Mennonite Women's Mission Service Commission, New Dundee Public Library, Doon Pioneer Village, North Waterloo Cancer Society, Waterloo Historical Society, Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church of North America, Mennonite Archives of Ontario (Conrad Grebel), Pennsylvania Folklore Society of Ontario, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Bi-Centennial Commission, MCEC Historical Committee, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario and Ontario Mennonite Credit Union, in many of these organizations Lorna pioneered as the first woman to hold leadership positions. Lorna was a fervent supporter of the Mennonite Church through the Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Foundation, and Mennonite Economic Development Association. Her encyclopedic knowledge of Mennonite History allowed her to assist many history writers over several decades. In addition to her long list of historical articles and sketches she has also been an acknowledged source in many local histories. At the time of her death, Lorna was a member of the First Mennonite Church, Kitchener. Relatives and friends may visit at Ratz-Bechtel Funeral Home and Chapel (621 King St. W., Kitchener) on Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Services will be held at First Mennonite Church (800 King St. E., Kitchener) on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 10 a.m. As expressions of sympathy donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee by calling the funeral home at 519-745-9495.

      The Waterloo Region Record - Mar. 24, 2009


      A lover of local history

      As one of Waterloo Region's most respected Mennonite historians, Lorna Bergey was honoured many times. Academics called on her vast knowledge when writing books, yet such attention made her uncomfortable. "To her, she was just a farm wife with a Grade 8 education," said her son, Ed Bergey of Brampton. By her late 60s, Lorna was finally feeling confident and deserving of the respect, but it would never be anything she'd brag about. Her Mennonite upbringing of humility meant the work was important, not the accolades. Ed said that Lorna was both "happy and mortified" at every new award.

      Lorna was born the eldest of eight children to a Mennonite farming family near Baden. In Grade 8 she passed her high school entrance examinations but dreams of an education would be dashed by responsibilities at home caring for siblings and an ailing mother.

      In a 2001 Record interview she said, "Can you imagine, I was only 12 years old? From this experience, I learned that girls and women were expected to serve their appointed homes, but I also learned when something needs to be done, you do it." Lorna lived up to those responsibilities even though she would also fill every free moment absorbing books and information, particularly related to her heritage.

      She once said, "I don't think I ever thought of it as being interesting to anyone else. I don't think that the generation of my parents felt too comfortable exposed to the public view. For my generation, I sort of feel that credit should be given where credit is due."

      Lorna's life had been about caring for others, until she met David Bergey at a church function and fell in love. Her father, however, dictated there would be no marriage until she turned 19. "On May 29, on her 19th birthday, she got married," Ed said. The couple raised two sons, Ed and Robert, while running a farm, though due to poor financial returns David sold his cattle, did contract work for other farmers and expanded a cheese-making business at their farm, started as a sideline by his grandmother in 1872.

      In 1954 David was seriously injured after plunging 14 metres from a silo. He spent the rest of his life in and out of hospital. It was up to Lorna to take charge. According to her sons, she did a splendid job. She built Bergey Cheese into a profitable business by closing down their own small cheese-making operation and selling selected products from other companies. Eventually Bergey Cheese ran stores in Toronto and Hamilton as well as vendors' stalls at five farmers' markets.

      "There was no health insurance in those days," Lorna once recalled. "So two years of mounting medical bills made it a sink-or-swim proposition. It was our bread and butter."

      In 1988, eight years after David died, Lorna closed the successful business, which gave her time to pursue historical research.

      In 2001, she was part of a documentary produced by the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario and she was a veteran volunteer archivist at Conrad Grebel University College, largely responsible for creating the Mennonite collection.

      "She was very gifted at getting people to donate things," said Sam Steiner, now a retired archivist at the college. He talked about how Lorna stayed on to help him after he was hired in 1974 and how her rich, detailed stories gave vibrancy to historical facts. She was "the person who helped to gather the building blocks for people writing about history."

      Lorna was also the first woman to serve in leadership roles in numerous Mennonite historical societies. Sam remembers her as a serious woman, plainly dressed and never without a hat. Ed added that while his mother was not the soft, cuddly sort, she was a good mother, one they admired for her resilience, her toughness and honesty. "She took life as it came and lived her faith," said Ed.

      The Waterloo Region Record 14 Apr 2009 Valerie Hill RECORD STAFF

  • Sources 
    1. [S602] News - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - The Waterloo Region Record (March 2008- ), Obituary of Lorna Lucille (Shantz) Bergey - Mar. 24, 2009.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsPublic Service - Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation member - - Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation, , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 22 Mar 2009 - Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
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