Passed away peacefully at Kenny’s Pond Retirement Residence at age 93, Gisela Elisabeth Sann; predeceased by her husband Gunter in 2015.
Mom came to St. John’s in 1952 with 2 small children to join her husband who had arrived the previous year to be involved in industrial development initiatives in Newfoundland after Confederation.
Life in St. John’s in the early ‘50’s was appreciably very different from what she had known in Germany, but she soon felt at home here. The wonderful neighbours on Appledore Place welcomed her, gave her advice and information on everything she needed to know about life in the city, and became life-long friends.
She loved the Newfoundland outdoors, the ocean, the woods, the many inlets and bays and she eventually found a beautiful spot on the Southern Shore where she designed and built her little log cabin overlooking the ocean. For decades, she and the family spent wonderful weekends there, hiking the trails, picking blueberries, kayaking on the nearby pond, and just relaxing.
One of the passions of her youth had been mountain climbing in the Austrian Alps (she scaled the Matterhorn!) and skiing. Skiing remained a favourite activity of hers, with regular trips to the Swiss and Austrian Alps and also to Marble Mountain until well into her 70’s. Mom loved to travel. She took extended trips to Europe to visit family and friends and vacationed in Bermuda, Hawaii, Jamaica and Florida. In later years, they travelled throughout Eastern Europe, parts of Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore. She was always very happy to return to what was now “home” by choice – St. John’s.
Mom was also an accomplished cook and consummate hostess, as many who were entertained at 22 Poplar Avenue would confirm. Over the years, she and Dad, an Honourary German Consul for 40 years, welcomed guests ranging from local friends and business associates to NATO fleet commanders and German dignitaries and officials to Canada, and all were most appreciative of her wonderful dinners and the atmosphere she created.
World War ll had interrupted her education, so Mom went “back to school” in the late 60’s and obtained a BA(Ed) from MUN, then a Masters degree, and finally a Doctorate from McGill. She taught French and German at Holy Heart, until the arrival of grandchildren gave her life a different focus. She adored her four granddaughters and they adored their “Oma”. She gave them unstintingly of her time and attention, taking them on outings, teaching them to ski, treating them to ski holidays in the Laurentians, travelling with them throughout Europe and introducing them to their German heritage and relatives. Christmas Eve at Oma and Opa’s house was a beloved tradition for many years, complete with candles on the tree, German Christmas songs, gift giving, and a delicious meal. Sleepovers at Oma’s always ended with a hearty breakfast of cream of wheat, topped with exactly 5 FrootLoops of dubious vintage, much to the girls’ great amusement. She leaves her daughters and granddaughters with a wealth of warm memories, her shared and much-appreciated wisdom, truths and common sense.
Left with loving memories of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are her daughters Brigitte Godden (Steve Peterson) and Ingrid Stokes (Paul); her granddaughters Kyra Tuff (David), Andrea Stokes (Phil Kellett), Erika Stokes (James Fisher) and Jessica Stokes (Simon Wilbee); and great-grandchildren Roman and Ryann Tuff, Madeleine Kellett, Jack and Isabelle Fisher, and Axel Wilbee.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation at Carnell’s Funeral Home on Sunday, March 17, 2019 from 2-4 pm. No flowers by request.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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