WITZKE, Henry (Heinrich)
With hearts full of sadness, we say “Auf Wiedersehen” to Henry (Heinrich) Witzke, who passed away peacefully at Kelowna General Hospital, at the age of 97 years, surrounded by his family. He was born August 25th, 1919 in Wiontchemin, Poland and died January 19th, 2017 in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He was predeceased by parents Heinrich and Paulina, and siblings Berta, Eduard, Emmi, Paulina, Hedwig, Michel, Amanda, and Juliane, all of Germany. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Else, children Karl Heinz of Vancouver, BC, Anneliese Leinemann (Otto), and grandchildren Petra Leinemann and Stephanie Stanley (Budd), all of Kelowna, BC, and numerous nieces and nephews in Europe.
A solider since the age of 19 during World War II, he survived being shot on four different occasions. He wed his sweetheart Else on his birthday in 1944 and was finally released from the army in 1945. His wife and her family had fled Poland before the war was over and he reconnected with them in Germany, where they then lived for seven years. After their two children were born, they brought their young family by boat to Canada in 1952, eventually ending up in Kelowna, BC.
Henry put all his effort into everything he did, and he did many things, from farm labour to orchardist and sawmill worker, tile setter, floor layer, carpenter, and was a passionate gardener. He prided himself on growing the best tomatoes, beans, and more, which he loved to share. In his 80s, when his wife’s health started to fail, he even learned how to cook, keep house, and to can preserves.
His favourite role, though, was bartender. Whether at an event, around town, or at home, he always had a joke and a smile on his face for everyone. He loved the German Canadian Harmonie Club where he made lifelong friends, and in addition to tending bar, he helped with everything from planting flowers to cutting grass and plowing snow.
Henry also loved his cars – during his lifetime he had 19 various vehicles. VW beetles were his favourite, as was anything that was red, especially if it had chrome.
The family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses and support staff of 4West at Kelowna General Hospital for their care and compassion during his last days, and his close neighbours who always looked out for him. A viewing will take place on Thursday, January 26th from 6-8pm at Springfield Funeral Home (2020 Springfield Rd, Kelowna, BC) and a Celebration of Life is being held on Saturday, January 28th at 11am at the German Canadian Harmonie Club (1696 Cary Rd, Kelowna, BC). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Kelowna General Hospital Foundation at 2268 Pandosy Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1T2 or through www.kghfoundation.com. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.springfieldfuneralhome.com, 250-860-7077.