Hans Friedrich Mendel

Hans Friedrich Mendel

Hans Friedrich Mendel was 103 when he passed away on May 25, 2014 in Bulkley Valley District Hospital. He leaves behind four children; Rika (Mel) Lyne, Uli (Norma), Eckard (Darlene), Dirk (Lois), nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Gisela, his wife, predeceased him in 2008.

Opa was born in Lunen German in 1911. His father was an Evangelical minister in Lunen and his mother was from Dutch nobility. Opa entered the colonial school in Witzenhausen in 1932 after high school and began working in November 1936 on a coffee plantation and later a sisal plantation, in East Africa (Tanzania). At the start of WWII he was returned to Germany and was sequestered to the army, first in France and later driving truck to support German troops on the Russian front. During leave in December 1944 he married Gisela Heimbach whom he met through letter exchanges on the eastern front. In March 1945 he was interned in an American POW camp in France until being released in June 1945. WWII was now over and Opa returned to Germany and Gisela. Three children were born between 1946 and 1949. In 1952 the family immigrated to Canada with very little money. After a brief stay in Corunna, Ontario, the family moved to Penny, B.C. for higher wages and bigger mountains. Dirk was born in the small sawmill town of Penny in 1954. After a sawmill fire and several moves the family ended up in Kitimat in 1956 where Opa was employed by Alcan until his retirement in 1973. Opa and Oma moved to Smithers in the early 80s where they lived until their death.

Opa enjoyed hiking, kayaking, motorcycle riding and visiting friends, but most of all he liked skiing, which he did until he was over ninety years old.

A special thank you to the special people of Home Care Services, Meals on Wheels volunteers who delivered many meals to Opa through thick and thin, and the nurses and Dr. Flynn who looked after him during his hospital stay. He had a good long life and you were all part of it! He will be missed by family and friends.

A celebration of life will be held at the Smithers Legion on June 7th at 2:00 p.m.

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