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Gerhard Schickedanz

March 6, 1926 - June 24, 2011

Following is the eulogy delivered by Gary Schickedanz at the funeral of his father, our founder. It is provided here at the request of the family, with the hope that you might better know and understand him as a person, and remember him as he was to those closest to him.

Good Morning!
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
There are many people here that are better qualified to speak about Papa, but probably no one who is a more consistent recipient of his patience and understanding than I. I know I caused him more grief than anyone of us when we were growing up.
Please keep your stories about Papa in your hearts and share them with us as he did – often – unfortunately we don’t have time to recount them all here. After all, they took him a lifetime to accumulate.
“Ein Mann des Friedens” to all who know him. Papa’s whole life was a story. A story he shared with everyone he knew. His family, his God were the essence of his life. He was a simple man with uncommon common sense and wisdom shared with many. A man of faith, a very strong faith. He led by example. A horseman at heart, a cattleman , a farmer. A stone mason and builder by nature and always a soldier…a soldier for peace. He was a teacher and said many times he could have been a preacher.

Born March 6, 1926 in Neustadt, Lithuania to Gustav & Maria Schickedanz the seventh of ten children. Ella, Emma, Eva, Gertrude, Walter, Kurt, Gerhard, Dorothea, Gustav, Adelheid. Married Elma on June 27, 1953 his life, his true love for 58 years, Mama, he gave his heart to you. He showed us children and grandchildren & great grandchildren what true love and passion for his Mamushelchen. Everyday even until the very end his love and concern was for you first, Mama.
Together they had 5 children:
    Charlotte - married to Tom,
    Arthur - married to Jane,
    Manfred - married to Robin,
    Gerhard - married to LeAnne, and
    Waldemar - married to Gail.
His 5 children gave him 20 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
40 years ago he built a pool at home for his “family”. Over the years no one used that pool more than Papa. He swam lengths, one for each grandchild, and great grandchild where he would recount their names, and birthdates in order:

  • Helena Susanna - November 28, 1979
  • Maria Elizabeth - August 30, 1981
  • Gerhard Daniel - February 18, 1982
  • Adeline Elizabeth - May 5, 1983
  • Katarina Ruth - March 23, 1984
  • Kristin Mary - February 21, 1985
  • Tara Ann - July 13, 1985
  • Kurt Albert - February 27, 1987
  • Rebecca Ann - March 27, 1987
  • Alexander James - December 21, 1987
  • William Joseph - April 11, 1989
  • Karin Cora - October 12, 1989
  • Gustav Alexander - November 13, 1995
  • Hannah Elsie - October 29, 1996
  • Emma Dorothea - June 8, 1998
  • Caroline Charlotte - April 20, 1999
  • Arthur Xavier - August 24, 2000
  • Adrian Thomas - August 1, 2003
  • Grace Margaret - December 10, 2003
  • Maximillian Manfred - July 21, 2008
6 Great Grandchildren:
  • Alexander Allman - November 10, 2007
  • Aidan Antonio - June 20, 2008
  • Abigail Chelsea - June 17, 2009
  • Elise Katlyn - March 5, 2010
  • Benjamin Kurt - August 17, 2010
  • Gerhard Elliot - May 25, 2011
To you grandchildren and babies - you were in his heart and on his mind every day. Each of you have your own stories of Opa. Each of you has experienced his warm heart. Each of you has experienced his warm giving hand. You have all had your times with Opa - treasure them as he did. From the Heart with all his soul. That was his true spirit and essence.

Papa liked:

  • Hot coffee with cream; Cold water – no ice; Eggs; A firm handshake; Hot peppers
  • Shined shoes; Mama’s brown eyes; A good sermon; A new foal; A warm ripe tomato
  • Hockey; Summer rain on the corn; Linden trees; Mama’s kringel;His Stetson
  • Reading the newspaper; Roses; A good joke; Ordnung; Potatoes;PEACE
  • Fresh air; His People; A job well done; Old hymns; New babies
  • Real candles on his Christmas tree; A juicy steak; Good plumbing
  • A good mare; A sip straight from the bottle; Fresh bread
  • His soccer team was Schalke 04
Simple things for a simple man!

Papa lived with a bullet lodged by his spine. It had been there since 1941 – 70 years ago a cousin had found an old gun and while playing with it accidently shot Papa in the back. Papa’s mother took him to an old 1st World War surgeon who had handled every imaginable injury. The doctor told her, “your son is still alive, and God obviously will keep him so. I don’t want to disturb what is there or I might kill him.” So it was left as it was, a constant reminder of God’s grace and power. (Do you think maybe God had a purpose for him even then.)
As a young 17 year old soldier, his mother gave him a New Testament to take with him. On Christmas Eve he was in a barn reading the Christmas story in Luke. He was asked by other soldiers repeatedly why? Don’t you know the Nazi’s don’t like you reading a Bible? Much pressure was put on soldiers to throw the Bible away. “Why would I throw something away that my mother gave me? He did not throw the bible away, he did not lose or change his faith.
After the war, with the country being in upheaval, food was in short supply and there was much suffering. Papa prayed every day for work and a job. His prayers were answered. He worked on the farm where they lived with a family named Rehm. At this time, he also trained to be a stone mason. The prayers continued when he immigrated to Canada, where he worked as a stone mason. He worked in the business that he and his brothers built. The business continued to grow over the years and still the prayers for work continued every day. Recently, he told me that, “the good Lord and your mother saw to it that I always had work and never lacked for a purpose.”

Papa was a family man who had a special relationship with his brothers, Kurt, Gustav and Dani. They worked together for over 60 years. They had many serious and significant battles in their younger years. Apparently, Onkel Gustav and Onkel Kurt each had their own opinions and knew how to express themselves! Always with deep feelings. Papa’s mother Maria, asked him early in their career, “Gerhard, wie helst Du die zwei zusammen?”, shaking her head in wonder. She knew her boys and she knew her Gerhard. He is and always will be “Ein mann des Friedens” - A man of Peace.
When describing his partners, his brothers, Papa, used to say that the true measure of love and loyalty, honesty and integrity was illustrated by an old saying. “Mit Ihm kann mann gehen Pferde stehlen!” - “With him I could go steal horses!” - With my “partners” I can go steal horses!! Onkel Gustav, Onkel Dani, you know he was your biggest supporter. Just as he was Onkel Kurts. You are in his heart and in his soul, and thanks to your faith in each other, you four were able to withstand anything and everything.
It was the essence of the man. A man of heart and a man of peace!!
To those who know him, in whatever capacity you may have dealt together. Whether in farming, horse business, or the church, or in politics, or in family affairs, he always had a PEACE PLAN, and he always pushed them hard. It was the essence of the man. “Frieden Kinder!! In diesem Haus haben wir nur Frieden!!” Just before he passed away he spoke to all five of us and asked that we just get along…keep the peace.

Until the very end of his life he was happy. Happy in the knowledge that he was going to a better place. A place where God had prepared a room in his house for his child. In Jacksonville, the night after we found out he had cancer, he told me all was well. He had had a long talk with “Brother Butchie” who said it was OK to come with him. Here in God’s house, Butchie said, “you won’t need your stick, and we won’t feel any pain.” (Komm mit mir Junge, der brauchst keinen stock und wir haben hier keine schmartzen! Ja Ja teurer Bruder ich komm schon “bald”, sagte der Papa.)

The past few months, while difficult for Dad, were actually a wonderful time for our family. We were all able to spend good time with him. Which some of us hadn’t been able to do for many years, living so far apart. The last few weeks Dad spent in the hospital in Markham were spent visiting with family and friends. Our thanks to everyone who came and made Dad’s stay there more enjoyable. He appreciated the company so very much. It was the nourishment he needed to sustain him through his final days.
No matter the difficulties encountered in life he gave of himself, his thoughts, concerns, and love were with you Mama.

This is his moment, his time to say Auf wiedersehen, but not Goodbye.

Papa Wir sind heute mit dir zusammen. Ein Herz und eine sehle!! One Heart one Soul!!!