Born in Wichita, Kansas to parents Dorothea and Lester Kurt, Tonya was a remarkable lady with numerous talents, interests, and community contributions. After spending a year at the University of Vienna, in 1961 she met future husband Gerhard at University of Kansas, where she received degrees in Personnel Administration and Political Science, belonged to sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, and was awarded membership into the honorary national academic society Phi Beta Kappa. She passed the US Foreign Services Exam and in 1964 she and Gerhard married. The next year they moved to Newfoundland and she loved her life here. Intelligent, energetic, and social, while raising four children she edited eight of Gerhard’s books, co-founded the German Saturday School at MUN (Memorial University of Newfoundland), and co-founded WAMUN (Women’s Association of MUN), serving as President several times from 1968 to 2009, chairing the Scholarship Committee, and acting as convenor for the art appreciation and fiction book groups. She and Gerhard were self-taught organic farmers in St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s Bay and she became skilled at cheese and butter making, German cuisine, knitting, quilting, and sewing. When her children were older she received her B. Ed. at MUN and taught Adult Basic Education and then English as a Second Language, serving as president of TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language Newfoundland). Tonya encouraged a strong love of music in her family and was an avid supporter of the arts, including the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Kiwanis Music Festival, where she volunteered for years. Loving, creative, and organized, she was admired and loved by many people in countless circles.
She loved her large family very much, and they adored her: husband Gerhard; children and spouses – Elisabeth Bassler and Karl Hammond; Heidi Bassler and Todd Newman; Christine Aubrey-Bassler and Kris Aubrey-Bassler; Paul Bassler and Sarah Bassler; 11 grandchildren – William, James, and Emma Hammond; Adam and Anna Newman; Maggie, Charlotte , and Kurt Aubrey-Bassler; Julia, Timothy and Alex Bassler; her brother Tom Kurt and wife Carol Kurt; nieces Johanna, Gretchen, and Erika Kurt; brother-in-law Juergen Bassler and wife Marianne Bassler. Tonya leaves more family and friends in the United States, Canada, and Germany.
Resting at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road on Friday, December 29th from 7 – 9 pm and Saturday, December 30th from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 pm. Funeral Service will be held on Monday, January 1st, 2018 at 2:00 pm from St. David’s Presbyterian Church with interment to follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Terry Fox Foundation for Cancer Research or the Palliative Care Unit, L.A. Miller Centre, St. John’s.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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Interment - Mount Pleasant Cemetery