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Wilhelm Ridke

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Wilhelm Ridke

August 2, 1924 - November 6, 2011


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved father, Wilhelm Ridke into the arms of our Lord on Sunday, November 6, 2011. Dad is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 61 years, our mother, Lydia Ridke, children Gabriele Bysterveld, Erda (Gerry) Walsh, Klause (June) Ridke and Rosemarie Wilson.
Dad was born on August 2, 1924, in Puchawa, Poland. He set sail in June 1953 from Bremerhaven, Germany and bravely immigrated to Canada with our mom, Lydia, Gabriele and Erda. He was a loyal and respected employee with the City of Cranbrook for 35 years, until his retirement. Dad was a proud Amateur Radio Operator with call letters VE7BMW, and was affectionately known by many on the air, as ‘VE7Big Mighty William’.
Dad was devoted to his wife and family, his love of his home, his city, his music and nature was captivating. His ham radio operator status allowed him to connect with thousands of people throughout the world and he did this with brilliant passion. Dad was a founder and enthusiastic participant in the East Kootenay German Canadian Club, where he also held the office of President for 4 yrs. They sang, danced and provided the Community with many joyous festivals.
Dad is survived by his brothers Adolf Franzmann (Inge), Waldemar ( Elfriede) Franzmann and sister, Lydia (Detlef) Feistel, sister-in-law Berta Goldbeck, brother-in-law, Oscar Renner and many nieces and nephews in Germany. In Canada, our beloved Opa is cherished and loved by his grandchildren Gerald (Deborah) Walsh, Lydia (Neil) Lindsay, Kristopher (Nicole) Toijonen, Curtis Toijonen, Delon Ridke, Megan and Tammy Ridke and Jaimie Parnell. Great grandchildren Samantha Walsh, Alan and Faith Lindsay, Ava Toijonen and Madison Norman. Also surviving are cousins Rose (Stewart) Mackenzie, Inge (Doug) Kidger, Edel Tuson, Heinz and Werner Zier, Veronica (Terry) Matheson, Garry (Judy) Bettcher, Jim (Jane) Bettcher and their respective families.
Dad was predeceased by his parents Emil and Holdine Ridke, sister Elsa, mother-in-law Pauline Renner, brother-in-law Adolf Goldbeck, sister-in-law Elli Renner, Olga and Paul Zier, Olga and Theo Bettcher and son-in-law Bob Bysterveld.
We will forever miss our Dad’s wisdom, strength, humour and passion for life and have been truly blessed by the love he so freely gave to each of us.
We wish to thank Dr. Pieterse for his great compassion and empathy (dad always called him his friend), Pastor’s Fraser and Dave from Mount Zion Lutheran Church for standing with our family throughout this difficult time, the kindness and love from our dear friends and extended families who have enriched our lives.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Cancer Foundation of your choice.
Prayers are to be held on Friday, November 11, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Cranbrook.
Memorial Service and Celebration of life on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Mount Zion Lutheran Church, 11th St & 11th. Ave., Cranbrook.
Dad we felt you rise on the wings of the angels, to go home in peace into the arms of our Holy Father and our loved ones that have gone before you.
Condolences may be left for the family at


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From: Mark Memorial Funeral Services Staff

Mark Memorial Funeral Services Staff send our condolences to family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: Laura and Peter Kirkhope and family
Relation: Friends

We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: Curtis Toijonen
Relation: Grandson

I will always remember your wisdom as I grew up. As well, I always admired your love of life and your stories of bravery and courage of your survival through World War II. I will miss you and love you forever.

From: Jeannie and Joanne (Nitz)
Relation: Friends

We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family

From: Barrie and Charlene
Relation: Co-worker

Erda, Gerry and family,
We are sorry to hear the news of your beloved father. It is never easy. We hope the comfort of others will help you through this difficult time.

From: Anne Edwards
Relation: Friend.

My deepest sympathy to Lydia, Erda and all the other members of your family. Wilhelm always seemed a quiet rock amidst so much of the political action, and I am sorry he is gone. The community has lost a fine person.

From: Monika & Hermann Brand from Germany
Relation: ham operator

Wir sind sehr traurig und werden Willi sehr vermissen. Er war uns seit
fast 30 Jahren ein guter Funkfreund. Wir werden den täglichen
Funkkontakt nach Canada mit VE 7 BMW vermissen.

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
November 12, 2011
Beginning at 11:00am

Mount Zion Lutheran Church
920 - 11th Street South
Cranbrook, BC Canada

920 - 11th Street South
Cranbrook, BC Canada


Date & Time:
November 11, 2011
Beginning at 7:00pm

Mount Zion Lutheran Church
920 - 11th Street South
Cranbrook, BC Canada

920 - 11th Street South
Cranbrook, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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