Gerhard “Gerd” Haensel, beloved husband of Brunhilde Haensel, departed a long, full life on March 11, 2020, passing peacefully at the Elrose Health Centre, at the age of 97 years.
Gerd was born in Berlin, Germany, the eldest son of Johann Wilhelm Hänsel and Klara Emma Auguste Borchert. He spent his childhood and youth there, apprenticing as a landscape gardener.
Conscripted into the German army in 1940, Gerd fought in North Africa, was captured by the Allies and sent to Canada as a prisoner of war. He spent time in prison camps at Lethbridge and Wainwright, Alberta.
Gerd and Brunhilde married on April 23, 1947, in Kiel, Germany. Gerd began to work as a landscape gardener. The first of their children, Regine Gisela was born there in 1948. This was also the year that the Soviet Union blockaded road and rail traffic to West Berlin. Gerd fearing the outbreak of another war, considered emigration. The Berlin airlift, June 24, 1948 to May 11, 1949 confirmed Gerd’s plans. The birth of their son, Knut Gerd Walter, in 1953 made their determination stronger.
In 1954, Gerd sailed for Canada. He worked briefly in Manitoba, and then on a farm near Hawarden, Saskatchewan. Brunhilde and the two children joined him there in 1955. In 1956, the Haensel family moved to the Campbell farm near Elrose. Robin Michael was born in the Elrose Hospital in 1956, completing the family. Gerd worked for Lorne “Sandy” Campbell for several years Both families developed strong ties that last to the present day.
In 1962, the Haensels moved to Elrose and Gerd worked as a custodian at the Golden Years Lodge. They became members of the United Church and Gerd later became a Cub/Scout leader.
Gerd is survived by his wife Brunhilde “Hilda” and his three children Regine, Knut (Janice) and Robin (Katherine); grandchildren Meshon Cantrill (Brittany), Leif (Tracy), Erik (Brandi), Keith (Melanie), Jonathon (Tiffany), Julie-Anne Sparkes (Ryan), along with 10 great grandchildren.
A Graveside Service was held on Friday, March 20, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at the Elrose Cemetery with Mr. Jim MacNaughton officiating. A Memorial Service will be held later this year.
Donations in lieu of other tribute may be made to the Elrose Health Care Auxiliary, P.O. Box 593, Elrose, SK, S0L 0Z0.
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