May 22, 1937 – August 15, 2020
Dietrich Elias May 22, 1937 - August 15, 2020 It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Dietrich on August 15, 2020. He died peacefully at home of stage four Parkinson’s Syndrome. Dietrich is survived by his wife Jeanette, his former wife Linda and their two sons Arndt-Torben (Michele) and Andreas Karsten, his grandchildren Kevin, Kayla, Andrew, and Ayn, his great grandchildren Henry, Charlotte, and C-Jay, his nephew Mark (Stacey) and their daughters Sydney and Ava. He will be missed by his mother-in-law Esther Lunn, his brother-in-law Russell (Margot), and nieces and nephew Hope, Brittni, Demi, Rowann, and Keegan. Dietrich was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) to parents Elizabeth Charlotte (Penner) Elias and Paul Elias and was the older brother to sister Marlis and brother Berndt . He was a child of WWII on the Eastern Front. His family was forced to flee to western Germany during the Russian advance. After many trials, the Elias family was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee and came to Canada. They settled in Yarrow, B.C. near Chilliwack. Dietrich learned English and completed his secondary education while he also supported his family through jobs including work at the Ocean Falls Pulp Mill, as a night watchman for the CNR, and as a sleeping car porter for the CPR. Education was Dietrich’s calling. Dietrich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC and a master’s degree at the University of Oregon. He and his young family settled in Prince George. Dietrich started his teaching career at Duchess Park Secondary School. One cold January day he marched with a large teaching staff to the newly opened Prince George Secondary School where he became one of the first generation of PGSS teachers. He taught World History, Social Studies, and German for thirty-three years. Dietrich founded the Reach for the Top programme at the school and was proud to compete with and win against Saint George’s School in Vancouver . While teaching, Dietrich founded the Canada- China Friendship Association and led tours to China in the late seventies and eighties. He was the vice-president of the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society for many years and was active in the Rheingold Club. He was an active traveller and loved to explore where others feared to tread! While pursuing the above activities, he took up beekeeping and eventually established Elias Honey Ltd., a successful family endeavour. The honey business kept him busy well into his retirement from teaching. In his later years Dietrich battled various health issues including open heart surgery and Parkinson’s. Even when his health was failing, he pushed himself to exercise and visit with family. Dietrich’s gentle manner and sly wit will be greatly missed by his former students, colleagues and friends, and especially by his wife Jeanette and his loving family. Dietrich was fond of jokingly saying: “No pig ever gets to be that old!”. Well dearest Dietrich, you had an incredibly full and blessed life! We thank Dr. Rachel McGhee and the whole palliative care team most sincer ely for their compassion and quiet, good-natured professionalism . We are also grateful to the Red Cross for their loan of the hospital bed. They are angels in disguise. We cannot thank them enough for their care. Because of Covid19 no church service or memorial will be held at this time. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Mennonite Central Committee, the Canadian Red Cross, or the Parkinson’s Society of British Columbia . “Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (Shakespeare)
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