Peacefully surrounded by love, and just shy of her 94th birthday, Alina Barth (nee Kopczinski) passed away on April 25, 2023 at Grace Hospice.
Missing her already are her children and grandchildren, Marion (Chris Downey), with Lauren and Kendra, Armin Barth (Joanne), with Kyle and Brittney (Kevin), and Andrea (Glenn Buffie), together with Ryan (Lindsay), Kaitlynn (Jeff), Mitchell and Nicole. She is also survived by her sister Lilly Kiefer (Seppel) in Germany and her special aunt Tante Wanda Marten in Winnipeg.
Alina was predeceased by her husband Willi in 2020. Also predeceased by her sister Daniela Schmitt and brother Manfred Kopczinski in Germany.
Mom was born on May 17, 1929 in Gründen, Germany. As a young girl during the war, she fled Poland travelling on foot with her family. Eventually they settled in Ober Olm Germany and in her twenties, she met Willi and married in 1955. Together they immigrated to Canada in 1960 to start a new adventure in Winnipeg.
It wasn’t easy but with determination, they eventually bought a home and offered room and board to help pay the bills. Mom cooked, cleaned and even darned socks for a few lucky tenants. Alina went to school in order to learn English and better communicate in her new country. She did well but never lost her accent. We believe she eventually developed her own language… half English and half German. We all understood what mom meant when she said “Give me the Waschlappen” or “It’s in the Speisekammer”.
Soon after, they moved to their forever home in East Kildonan, where they met new friends and neighbours and enjoyed many good times together. Alina had a green thumb and was able to plant a huge garden with flowers and vegetables. She grew everything from carrots, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, to kohlrabi and pumpkins. She was so proud to be able to serve meals with veggies “straight out of the garden”. And, Mom was a great cook and always made sure there was plenty to go around. We often savoured Rouladen und Roht Kohl at special family dinners. And, who could deny Oma’s soups which were lovingly prepared from scratch.
After many years of camping with friends and relatives at West Hawk and Brereton Lakes, mom and dad eventually built their family cottage at Lester Beach. She enjoyed being at the lake planting trees, picking blueberries, and foraging for mushrooms, especially chanterelles. Many happy summers were spent at the beach and in the bush.
Alina stayed at home to raise her children, but as they got older, she worked preparing meals for the children and staff at the Stars of Promise day care. She loved her job and in her own way, nurtured them all. In retirement, mom volunteered at the MCC Thrift store sorting and pricing items. She fondly called it “The Boutique” and claimed to find many treasures.
Oma was very proud of each of her 8 grandchildren and embraced them with support and love. She thrived on their stories and enjoyed bragging rights for all they accomplished no matter what their passion.
None of us escaped Oma’s “Schwedenbitter” treatments. It was her answer to anything that ailed us from sore muscles, to cuts and scrapes, to toothaches and even teenaged zits. If it hurt, mom always insisted “put Schwedenbitter on it”! She also said that laughter was the best medicine and practiced what she preached in her own mischievous way.
Alina was kind, caring, generous and especially wise. She shared her wisdom and taught us to be humble, have empathy for others, but still be strong, stand-up for ourselves and be proud of who we are. She was a good teacher.
In later years, she moved to Concordia Village and enjoyed assisted living during the next phase of her life. She often spoke fondly of Ilona, Mandy, and Gabby as her friends in the village.
Special thanks to mom’s palliative care nurse Anita for her compassionate care at home, and to Janine, Patricia, Jim and all the wonderful staff at Grace Hospice during her final days.
Cremation has taken place and no formal funeral service will be held. Her wish was that the kids all get together one day, order Chinese food, and drink some wine in her memory. Will do!
Willi and Alina will be laid to rest in the Lasting Tribute Chapel at Chapel Lawn Memorial Garden on a later date.
Oma, we will miss your sense of humour, candor, kindness, and love. We will always love you and forever miss you.
Rest in peace sweet Mamma. Give a big hug to Opa too.
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