Christoph Alexander von Niebelschütz passed away peacefully at La Verendrye General Hospital in Fort Frances, Ont. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 with his three children at his side. He was 87 years old.
His life spanned nine decades over two continents, and he touched the lives of many along the way with his memorable quirks and love of knowledge, language, music, and nature.
He was born Feb. 5, 1926 in Gleinitz, Germany to the late Ernst von Niebelschütz (25.09.1887–14.09.1961) and Ilse “Irmingard” Klopfer (26.11.1890–03.02.1981) and spent his early years on the country estate his family owned from 1446-1945.
Chris first came to Canada in the early 1950s, when he spent three years in Sudbury, Ont. working in the nickel mines. He then returned to Europe and worked and studied in Germany, France, and Switzerland, where he met and married Rose-Marie von Niebelschütz (née Currat).
In 1959, the couple arrived in Montreal, Que., where their eldest daughter, Solange, and twins, Alexander and Nathalie, were born.
During those early years in Canada, Chris continued his university education during the day while working nights to support his young family. He graduated from Sir George Williams University in 1967 and continued his studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. during the next few summers.
In 1968, the family settled in Fort Frances, where “Monsieur von Niebelschütz” taught French to elementary and secondary school students until retiring in 1987.
Ever the do-it-yourselfer, Chris then built his own retirement home in the country near Pinewood, Ont., where he lived with his second wife, Katheline von Niebelschütz (née Peterson) and her daughters, Simone and Sabine Laser.
He later spent several years in Winnipeg, Man. before returning to Fort Frances to be closer to his family.
He greatly enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing in the Canadian wilderness, accompanied by his beloved dogs who were his faithful companions.
His other love was music–which to him meant great compositions such as Die Winterreise by Schubert–and this became a great solace in his later years.
Chris had many other interests, including gardening, cooking, carpentry, and shopping around for the greatest bargains.
Most of all, he enjoyed the closeness of his grandchildren, and took great pride their accomplishments and performances. Education, achievements, and talents were of great importance to him and won his admiration.
Left to mourn him in Canada are his three children and four grandchildren, Solange Busch (Ray Spencer) in Victoria, B.C., with daughters Sarah Busch in Victoria, B.C. and Laura Busch in Yellowknife, N.W.T.; Nathalie von Niebelschütz (Ken Fedoruk), with children Peter and Greta Fedoruk in Fort Frances, Ont.; and Alexander von Niebelschütz (Lisa Rossi) in Toronto, Ont.
In Germany, he is survived by his sister, Gabriele von Hodenberg (née von Niebelschütz) in Berlin and brother, Harald von Niebelschütz in Flechtingen.
He was predeceased by his parents; as well as his eldest brother, Hans von Niebelschütz, who died at an early age in 1944, and later by his sister, Rosmarie von Davier (née von Niebelschütz), who passed away in her 80s.
Out of respect for his final wishes, there will be no service.
A family celebration of life will be held next summer at Chris’ favourite fishing hole on Crow Lake, Ont.
We love you. Rest well.