Herbert Schafrick (94), passed away in his sleep on May 21, 2021 at the North York Seniors Centre in Toronto. Herbert was born March 21, 1927 to Henry and Linda Schafrick in Piaszki Poland, a large village of German-speaking people near Warsaw.
When Herbert was 17 (1944) he was living in Poland but was drafted into the German army. Most of his army service was spent as an American prisoner in France. After the war, he lived for 6 years in Bohlsen Germany, a village that had many Polish Germans including Martha Gatzke, who had been a few years behind him at school in Poland. Herbert and Martha immigrated to Canada and married when he was 24 and Martha was only 18. They were married for 69 years and had 4 children. He is predeceased by his son Michael (Kim), brothers Vladimar and Horst and leaves behind his wife Martha, children Marilyn (Roger), William, Wendy (François), 11 grandchildren – Alan, Eric, Carl, Sara, David, Julia, Evan, Erika, Nicole, Robert, Justin and 3 great-granddaughters – Dawn, Claire, Emma. He also leaves his siblings Erhard (Olga), Gustav (Emily) and Ursula (Joe).
He was endlessly proud of his children’s and grandchildren’s careers and education. “Opa/Papa” would carry his grandchildren around the house tirelessly. He was a trickster too who often weighted his gift boxes with soup cans so we couldn’t guess the present. One memorable Christmas, Martha was sure that the heavy box was just a trick and was surprised and disappointed to find that the box really did contain a big steel tomato juicer! But tucked inside the juicer was a beautiful amethyst ring that is still one of her favourites.
Herbert was devoted to his family and was determined to provide for them. He worked so hard that he earned the nickname “overtime Herbie” in his 45 years at General Motors. His passion was fishing, a hobby he shared with his brother Erhard. They spent many hours together in Port Colborne in his boat and on Lake Simcoe on the ice. Who can forget Oma Gatzke’s pans of smelt in winter, and perch, pike and pickerel in summer? In the early 1970s, he mounted two of his biggest pikes. Those fish had a special place in the 27 Eastdale rec room for over 50 years and now hang on the walls of his son and grandson. His fishing gear continues to be used by his son William and his grandchildren who have inherited Herbert’s love of fishing.
Memorial donations can be made to your local Alzheimer society. There will be a memorial service in summer 2021 when his ashes will be buried at his mother’s plot in Welland.