Articles in Category: Tributes

Amazing Good Samaritan Miep Gies Dies At 100

Miep Gies, shelterer of the Frank family, died on January 11th, aged 100

BY HER own account, Miep Gies did nothing extraordinary. All she did was bring food, and books, and news—and, on one fabulous day, red high-heeled shoes—to friends who needed them. It was nothing dramatic. But she also bought eight people time, and in that time one of her charges—a teenage girl called Anne Frank, the recipient of the shoes—wrote a diary of life in the “Annexe”. In these four rooms, above the office of Anne’s father, Otto, where Mrs Gies worked as a secretary, eight Jews hid for 25 months in Amsterdam in 1942-44.

miep-gies.jpgOn the warm summer evening when the Franks went into hiding, Mrs Gies took charge. In subsequent months she and her trusty bicycle often carried so many bags of vegetables, bought with forged coupons, that she looked like a pack mule. No one suspected.

Every weekday morning she would climb two flights of stairs to the Annexe and get the grocery list. Every afternoon she would deliver the shopping and stay a while to chat—after composing herself and putting on a cheerful expression. In the cramped, stuffy rooms, made dim with lace curtains tacked across the windows, everyone had to whisper. She kept back the worst news: truckloads of other Jews sent to the camps, shot and gassed, and old friends killed. On their side, the four Franks, three van Pels and a dentist called Dr Pfeffer tried to conceal their tensions from her. Nonetheless, she could often feel “the sparks of unfinished conflicts left sizzling in the air”.

Anne, restless, curious and outspoken, was often the cause of these tensions. But Miep (as they all called her), was something of a soulmate: a teasing office girl who craved sweets, relished independence, loved to dance, drank ten schnapps at an engagement party—and, as a teenager, had also filled up notebooks with her private thoughts. Anne grilled her about her clothes and her hair and, on the one night Miep stayed in the Annexe, insisted that she slept in her bed. Miep found it small and hard and too heavy with blankets. But it was the fear in the place, “so thick I could feel it pressing down on me”, that kept her awake.

Click here to read the complete obituary in The Economist

A Tribute to Auntie Flo

Posted by Tricia Evans
February 28, 2010

My wonderful role model ‘Auntie Flo’ died last week at the grand old age of 99 years & 7 months...she would have been 100 on 1 July. 
It shouldn’t be a shock when someone dies at 99, but it somehow was, as Flo always seemed so totally invincible!!  It’s not bad though, as she’s had a fantastic life, & had been fit & well, & leaping on planes to Jersey & Scotland to see her family until well past her 99th birthday.

She’d only been ill for 2-3 months, & even then it totally infuriated her that her body was letting her down!  She was comfortably "well off" & wore fab designer clothes her whole life, & she certainly had ‘tales to tell’, so this week’s funeral will be a real celebration of a very long, interesting & happy life.  She was in a home for a few weeks before she died, & died in her sleep in hospital.  Way to go I guess....hope I do the same!
flo.jpgThis photo of her was taken in Madinat Jumerah 2 years ago when she was 97.  We told the salesman how old she was just after she’d just bought 2 rather fab designer floaty evening tops from him (telling him she’d get loads of wear out of them, & she did!)...& he was so amazed, that he insisted on having his photo taken with her!!

That was on the ‘3 Graces’ tour when my mum aged 84, with her younger sister Maureen aged 83, & big sister Flo at 97 all went ‘on tour’ for a month to Dubai, Singapore & Bangkok to visit the ‘kids’ abroad!! Good eh?
So please drink a toast to Flo...she was great!
PS. When you see the female role models I’ve had in my life, it sort of explains me a bit doesn’t it...& I’ve got them on BOTH sides of the family!!

Gertrude Dyck (Nurse/Missionary/Author)

Posted by Patricia Schmidt
October 21, 2009

gert_camel_close-up.jpgGertrude, otherwise known as Gert, or as Doctora Latifa, enjoyed seventy-five years of life filled with a variety of rich experiences, mostly in a culture foreign to her own. She lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) taking on various roles, giving her heart and life to serve Arab people under the auspices of TEAM--The Evangelical Alliance Mission. For thirty-eight years she worked as a nurse/midwife for the Oasis Hospital in the city of Al Ain.

Gertrude was a prairie farm girl, born to Henry and Olga Dyck on April 2, 1934 in Dunelm, Saskatchewan during the depression years. She was the sister to Ernest, Anne, Henry and Helena.  Having grown up during those years of the depression was good preparation for the beginning years in the UAE, when the lifestyle was extremely basic. Gert's parents were from a Mennonite background and Gert said that her mother, a praying woman, strongly influenced and shaped her future.

Gert became a committed Christian at the age of twelve and realized early that she wanted God to use her in some way, even to be a missionary. She attended Prairie Bible Institute in 1957, followed by training to be a nurse at the Calgary General Hospital. It was there that she grew to love babies. In 1962 God led her then to join the staff of Oasis Hospital in the Arabian desert of the UAE. Incidentally, her belongings that were shipped on her first trip to the UAE did not arrive until the following summer. Her dad had made her a huge plywood box for shipping which was big enough to hold the ironing board that she wanted to take along, and she was teased about her taking her coffin with her. That ironing board lasted her all of those thirty-five years.

Gayatri Devi, Maharani of Jaipur

gayatri_devi.jpgGayatri Devi’s beauty was astonishing, praised by Clark Gable, Cecil Beaton and Vogue, but liner or lipstick had nothing to do with it. She had a maharani’s natural poise and restraint. From her grandmother, she had learned that emeralds looked better with pink saris rather than green.

From her mother, she knew not to wear diamond-drop earrings at cocktail parties. A simple strand of pearls, a sari in pastel chiffon and dainty silk slippers were all that was required.

The fact that she looked equally good in slacks, posing by one of the 27 tigers she personally eliminated, or perched, smoking, on an elephant, merely underlined the point. She was a princess, and a princess could make Jackie Kennedy appear almost a frump.

Click here to read the complete obituary in The Economist
Photo @ Rex Features

A Tribute to Muriel Duckworth, Canadian Feminist And Peace Activist

Posted by Magnus Isacsson
August 23, 2009

Susan notes: Magnus Isacsson is a Montreal-based documentary filmmaker. He specializes in following social, political and environmental conflicts over long periods of time. He also lectures and leads workshops on documentary filmmaking. I learned of Isacson from a long-time family friend Joan Hadrill who has been a Raging Granny peace activist for many years. (Go Grannies Go!)

Coincidentally, Muriel Duckworth had a cottage on Lake Memphremagog where my family has lived for 40 years. Duckworth was an aquaintance of my Mom Patti, who is also an activist, primarily with respect to environmental issues.

muriel_duckworth.jpgMuriel Duckworth, pioneering Canadian feminist and peace activist, passed away Saturday, August 22, 2009, at the venerable age of 100, she was a Canadian pacifist, feminist and social and community activist. She was also a practising Quaker, a religious faith deeply committed to non-violence.

Duckworth was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women, a provincial branch of the Voice of Women (VOW).

She served as the National President of VOW, now called the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, from 1967 to 1971.

She also helped establish the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, a coalition of about 100 Canadian organizations working for the elimination of poverty in Canada and around the world...