.It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Gerhard Wiedmann. He died on Tuesday June 29th, 2021 at McCarthy Place Stratford at the age of 91. He is lovingly remembered by his two daughters, Marianne Kelly (and son-in-law Dennis) and Christine Hendricks (and son-in-law Kevin), and his four grandchildren Brendan, Dominique, Connor and Maddie.
Gerhard was born on October 4, 1929 in Radycza, a German-speaking community in Poland, the son of Johann and Olga (Vogel) Wiedmann. He was the eldest of five children. In 1947 he fled Poland with his brother Hans and was reunited with his mother and brother Ewald in Dungelbeck, Germany. He often enthralled his family with stories of his daring escape from Russian authorities to the refugee camp in Stettin, Germany. Although he loved his time in Germany, he heard stories of opportunities in Canada, so in November 1950 he set sail. Like many immigrants before him, he boarded the ship “Beaverbrae” carrying only a cardboard suitcase filled with a few items of clothing, shoes, a toothbrush, his papers, and $3 (CAD). From Pier 21 in Halifax, N.S., he boarded the train for Ontario where he would join a number of his relatives.
Gerhard started working for E. Gronau and Sons Meats until he had enough money to start his own meat packing business with two partners. They purchased a property on Lorne Avenue in Stratford, and opened Stratford Packers Meat Packing Plant in 1952, selling cold cuts, sausages, and hams at the Kitchener Farmer’s market to the growing European immigrant community. Gerhard met his wife Gabriele Lock in a German deli in Toronto, and they married in 1960. They operated the plant and a German deli on Wellington Street known fondly as “The German Store” until 1992.
In 1966, he helped form the Teutonia Choir which became the center of an active German Club that hosted many events throughout the year including Octoberfest each fall. He enjoyed singing in the choir, trips with his family to the Pineries on weekends in the summer, and traveling to Germany to visit relatives. His wife Gaby passed away in 1999. In 2008, he married Edith Endemann (nee Krebber) and they enjoyed traveling together to Mexico, Florida and Germany, until her death in 2018.
A private family graveside service was held this week and a public memorial service will be held later this fall.
As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice through the W. G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford. 519.271.7411. www.wgyoungfuneralhome.com
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