October 15, 1933 – October 29, 2018
With heavy hearts, we would like to share that Helmut passed away at KLH, on Monday, 29 October. He was surrounded by the family he loved.
Helmut was born in Rosche, Germany, to Ernst and Emma (Schulz) Liebenow. He was the third of four children; oldest sister Irmgard, older brother Ernst-Adolf, and youngest sister Marianne.
As a young child, his family moved to the neighbouring town of Uelzen, where he spent his youth. He grew up during WWII and as an adventurous and mischievous boy he got through these times with good memories. In his youth he developed a passion for building and flying model airplanes. He was also very social, enjoying going to dances on the weekends, adventures through the model airplane club, and road trips on his Vespa with his buddies.
He started his apprenticeship as a Cabinet Maker at 14 years of age. He moved to Hannover where he worked on the railroad for a short time, and then as a journeyman Cabinet maker he worked on several jobs making and installing cabinets, doors and wood workings for businesses and pubs. Here is when, in 1958, a beautiful brunette named Gerda Hoeger caught his eye. In 1960 he married the love of his life and he started his journey as a family man.
In 1968, together they made the adventurous decision to immigrate to Canada with their 2 young daughters, Beate & Katrin, to fulfill his dream of building his own home and providing a better life for his family. They moved directly to Nelson BC, where their family continued to grow with the addition of another daughter, Annette, in 1976. He worked at Kootenay Forest Products, in the Plywood Plant, until it closed in the early 80’s. He did build 2 homes – including his dream home on Nasookin Bay. Helmut lived in Nelson during all of his time in Canada.
In 1984 he survived being badly burned due to an electrical accident, resulting in a year of healing, therapy, and having to learn how to walk again. His first of many cancer surgeries started in 1991. As time went on, he developed kidney failure and it was this challenge that he could not overcome and eventually ended his life. He always dealt with these challenges with determination and courage, and the way Helmut dealt with his accident and health issues was an inspiration to many.
He was proud to be part of the team that restored Streetcar # 23, which currently runs along the Nelson Lakefront. He enjoyed many social events through his membership in the IOF, the Catholic parish, the German singing group, and cherished the many German and Canadian friends that he made during his life in Nelson.
Helmut was predeceased by his father in 1957, his mother in 1990, his oldest sister in 2009. He is survived by is wife of 58 years, Gerda, brother Ernst-Adolf (Lottie), sister Marianne (Helmut), daughters Beate (Wayne), Katrin (Brian), Annette (Josh), and 6 grandchildren; Dara, Cullen, Mason, Brendan, Mia, Kye.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to the BC Kidney Foundation, or the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation.
The funeral will be held at the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, 813 Ward Street, Nelson BC, on 09 November, 2018 at 10:30 am. Helmut will be interred at the Nelson Cemetery after the service. The family invites friends to join the reception at the St. Joseph’s school hall after the funeral.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.thompsonfs.ca.