Elfriede Knote (nee Uzat)
January 3, 1925 – August 5, 2016
It is with deep sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our mum, Elfie, in her cosy room in the Mt. Stevens neighbourhood at Joseph Creek Care Village, Cranbrook, BC. Both her loving daughters were by her side, each holding one of her hands.
Elfie, the first of four children, was born in Goldap (East Prussia, Germany), a small city where many of her large extended family lived nearby. She had an idyllic childhood, where she roamed at will among the homes of her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Her parents, Karl and Frieda, owned and operated a butcher shop there. Eventually the family moved to a smaller village, Buddern, and set up shop once more. As a child, Elfie often accompanied her dad on delivery rounds, riding with him in the horse cart, and learned the business by helping out whenever she could. Fond memories of these years remained with her throughout her life, a source of strength and comfort.
WWII brought much heartache. As the tides turned and the German army began to retreat, Elfie’s family fled their home and became scattered. She never saw her mother or her home again but years later Elfie was reunited with her father and brother, Horst. She took a perilous journey by ship over the war-torn Baltic Sea, and found her way to the village of Eddelak, in northern Germany, where her father had taken refuge.
It was here that she met the love of her life, Gert. Elfie and Gert were married five years later, on May 12, 1951 and moved to nearby Hamburg, where there were better opportunities for work. They lived in a single room and soon had their first child, Helga. Post-war Hamburg was in ruins and it was difficult to find suitable accommodations for even a small family. Food was scarce and costly and the future appeared bleak. The young couple had few options, but one of those was to emigrate to Canada. In May 1954 Elfie and Gert arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba with, as the family legend goes, a chesterfield bed, a steamer trunk carrying everything they owned and $8.00 in cash. And so began a new chapter. They had a second daughter, Ursula, and, as the years passed, the family thrived.
Elfie embraced Canada the way she did everything else – with passion and conviction. She learned English and taught herself to read and write it fluently. She was a consummate homemaker and an excellent cook. The kitchen was her domain. Our home was never without freshly baked cookies and cakes, which were often shared with family and friends. Elfie delighted in children and animals. She loved sunsets, Strauss waltzes, conversation, gardening, nature and so much more. She was an avid non-fiction reader, an enthusiastic follower of current events and politics and had an intense curiosity about almost everything. She loved learning. Most of all, though, she loved her family. Her love was unconditional, non-judgmental and steadfast. She was the glue that bound us together.
Elfie was always a glass-half-full kind of person. She saw the positive in almost everything. She loved to laugh and had a goofy side that kept us laughing, too. Her empathy for others, especially those most vulnerable, was legendary. She hated injustice and was an outspoken advocate for those who she felt had been treated unfairly, never hesitating to help when help was needed. She was kind and caring, funny, honest and wise.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease over a decade ago, but even when her memory dimmed and her world grew steadily smaller, Elfie lived these last years with the same enthusiasm and good cheer as always. She never stopped loving life. She never stopped loving.
Elfie was predeceased by her husband, Gert; parents, Karl and Frieda; brothers, Alfred and Horst; sister, Brigitte and brother-in-law, Hans Joachim Rakow.
Elfie will be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by her daughters, Helga (Andy) and Ursula (Les); grandchildren, Holly and Eric (Jill); sisters-in-law, Inge Rakow and Helga Uzat; niece, Karin Crouch (Ted) and nephews Frank Rakow (Leslie) and Rodney Uzat, as well as by her extended family and many friends.
We would like to thank the staff of Joseph Creek Care Village for their competent, sincere and compassionate care. We are profoundly grateful.
There will be no formal service at this time, but we will have a family gathering at a future date to remember and celebrate Elfie’s life.
Should you wish, a donation to the Alzheimer Society, or any charity of your choice, would be welcome. Please include “In memory of Elfie Knote”.
Arrangements entrusted to McPherson Funeral Service.
Condolences for the family can be offered at: