February 11,1930, Michelstadt, Germany - January 9, 2022, Toronto, Canada
Ann died peacefully at home with her cat Owly and daughter Wendy at her side.
In her unique style, Ann dictated her obituary:
“I had the most wonderful life that I ever could have imagined. First and foremost, my thanks go to my parents, especially my father who took all us children on walks through nature and explained things, plant life, trees, and having respect for nature. He was the most wonderful tolerant man I ever knew, and that’s the only regret in my entire life, that I did not spend more time with him.
I’m leaving behind three wonderful children. Although each has her own wonderful qualities, the youngest turned out to be my never-tiring helper, not only my “caretaker”, she was my lifeline. Without her, I would not have probably lived as long as I did. With her partner Robin, my “go-to” person who cleaned out the eavestroughs amongst other house chores, I don’t know what I’d do without them. All in all, I consider myself a really fortunate woman.
I had a wonderful, adventurous, never-boring life. One of my best experiences was volunteering at the zoo, taking school classes around, telling them to ‘Breathe!’ when we walked through the Core Woods: ‘Stop and breathe! See what trees can do for the air! Stop and breathe!’ My favourite animals were the polar bears, especially Hudson, all orphans. If the polar bears could speak for me, they’d say: ‘We remember Ann talking to us and thinking of us and remembering, yes, and loving us, and trying to do things for our survival. We are threatened and she was very concerned about that.’
All in all, I had the most wonderful life anybody could ask for. One major point is being able to still live in my own home, surrounded by trees and plants and birds and bunnies and squirrels, and, well I can’t mention a whole zoo... I was very fortunate. I don’t know how I deserved that. Because not everything I did in my life was good and proper. And I apologize to anyone I hurt. Oh, my life was never dull!
My recommendations for youth: travel. Get to know other people and appreciate their cultures. Travel. Learn. Keep learning, never-ending learning. Very Important. Don’t dwell on mistakes. It doesn’t help anybody. Everybody makes mistakes in life, whoever they are. No point dwelling on them. Keep going. Keep learning. My father learned until almost death. He learned the English language when he was in his eighties.
I once attended an open-house at a mosque and they showed their funeral preparations, and it really impressed me: plain pine box, and wrapped in a white sheet, and that’s it. What impressed me was the materials used, instead of these heavy things with brass handles because none of that stuff enriches the earth. I’m looking at my crab apple tree right now. Use a branch of that, depending on when I die...if I die in the middle of winter, forget it...just keep it simple.
I’m looking forward to enriching the soil.”
Due to pandemic protocols, daughters Paulette and Carolyn visited their mother “through glass” armed with flowers, food, and good cheer.
Predeceased by parents Paula (nee Hillerich) and Adam Koenig, husband George James White, brother Walter and sister-in-law Jutta. Survived by brother William and sister-in-law Mary in Ottawa; brother Werner and sister-in-law Marianne in Michelstadt; daughters Paulette, Carolyn and partner Alex, Wendy and partner Robin. Ann was Oma to Milan and Zoe; Step-Oma to Wakelin (Emily) and Casey (Doron); Great Oma to Hunter and Lilith; second mom to Blanche Francoeur; Tante to Beate, Wolfgang, Suzanne, Hans Peter, and Thomas. Ann leaves behind her beloved people in Balsbach, along with friends in Germany and across Canada, including her Metro Toronto Zoo friends Sonia, and the polar bears, and her CIBC colleagues Richard, Ordene, Helena, Bill and Eleanor, and many more.
The family has deep gratitude for Ann’s supports: wonderful Maria Theresa Monsalud, “personal support worker” for 2 1/2 years; NP Lisa Nadurata and Dr. Raymond Barry, palliative care team; Dr. Seda Rafilovich, geriatrician GAIN Clinic; Laura Furdas, pharmacist Medicine Shoppe.
Please consider donating to a cause of your choice: Ann generously supported multiple humanitarian and ecological causes, being most concerned with animal and nature conservation efforts. She would be thrilled if you are able to plant a tree or any pollinator plant on her behalf.
Info: Due to COVID-19 all attendees must adhere to local health restrictions including physical distancing and encourage anyone attending an outdoor service to wear a face covering. Interment time is approximate.