Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Johann Herman “John” Enns (1889-1974)


Born in southern Russia on 8 April 1889, he worked as a teacher and, in 1924, was ordained as a minister in the Mennonite faith. After the Russian Revolution, he emigrated with his family to Canada in 1925 and settled at Ste. Elizabeth. He served as minister to the Lichtenau Mennonite Church until 1933 when he moved to the First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, which he served for 32 years as assistant minister and minister-in-charge. He retired in 1964.

He was involved in the founding of the Concordia Hospital, Bethania Personal Care Home, Elim Bible Institute, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, and Westgate Mennonite Collegiate. He served for many years on the Mennonite Board of Colonization, on the Greater Winnipeg Ministerial Association, and was a life member of the Canadian Bible Society. His contributions were recognized with an honorary doctorate from United College [now the University of Winnipeg] (1964), Medal of Service (1967), and Order of Canada (1970).

He and wife Agathe Unruh (?-1978) had eight children: Ernest John “Ernie” Enns, Siegfried John “Sig” Enns (1924-2020), Selma Enns (1926-2018, wife of Peter Enns), Marlies Enns (1928-2005, wife of Horst Friesen), John Johann Enns (1929-2020), Harry John Enns (1931-2010), Henri Enns, and Johanna Enns (1940-1940).

He died at Winnipeg on 1 September 1974 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 September 1974, page 39.

Obituary [Agathe Enns], Winnipeg Free Press, 20 November 1978, page 45.

Obituary [Marlies Friesen], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 September 2005.

Obituary [Ernest John Enns], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 September 2006.

Obituary [Selma Enns], Winnipeg Free Press, 15 December 2018.

We thank Gary Filmon for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 January 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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