Konrad 10/14/31 – 3/19/15

My father passed away last week after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. He has lived in a nursing home for 2 years and was afflicted for several years before that. Although I am extremely relieved and grateful that he won’t suffer any more in his body, nothing could have prepared me for this moment of losing a parent. Here I am in China, far from my family. For various reasons, we are not holding a memorial service until late April or May. I have spoken with my siblings, my mother, my dad’s partner Lyn and other friends and also had a lot of support here in Shanghai from Bob and my friends. I have been alternating between despair, relief and overwhelm. I know it will all fall into place.

 

Here is an obituary of sorts:

Konrad was born in Hamburg, Germany the sixth of seven children. During the war, his family sent his mother and the smaller children to Bavaria to ride out the bombing in Hamburg. They returned to Hamburg post-war where my father learned the trade of diesel mechanic. In the mid 50s, he spent some time working for their family import/export business in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. Following his younger sister, who went to Canada to become a dairy farmer, he immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1957. He briefly owned a Peugeot dealership there. He met and married my mother in 1962 and my sister was born the following year. The family moved clear across the country to Moncton, New Brunswick, where I was born. My father began a 20 year career with Volkswagen and was transferred to New Jersey in 1967. My brother was born shortly afterwards. In the mid 70s, he bought his first sailboat: a 20 foot sloop called Calypso and moored it at the Nyack Boat Club on the Hudson River.

In the mid 80s, he left Volkswagen and set up a successful yacht import business. He was the sole importer of a line of sailing yachts from Denmark called X-Yachts. He worked at this business until his retirement in his mid 70s. My parents split up in 1989 and my father moved to Nyack, New York where he lived for almost a decade. He met his next-half-of-life partner, Lyn and after some time they moved to Annapolis, Maryland, the sailing capitol of the Eastern Seaboard. From the 80s until just a few years ago, he owned a series of attractive X-Yachts all named Fortuna, after the Roman Goddess of luck. His passion was for racing and he was often out on the Hudson River and then for a long time on the Chesapeake Bay, spinnaker proudly flying.

My father is survived by his loving partner Lyn, his brother Heinrich, his sisters Eleonore and Christiane and by his children Katrina, Carl, and Danielle.

Konrad and his sister Nono in Hamburg Summer 2011
Konrad and his siser Nono in Hamburg Summer 2011
with sister Nono, nephew Erdmann and his wife Susanne
with sister Nono, nephew Erdmann and his wife Susanne
In front of his birth house in Wohltorf, near Hamburg, Germany
In front of his birth house in Wohltorf, near Hamburg, Germany
Selfie on the way to Germany 2011
Selfie on the way to Germany 2011
in Blankenese 2011
in Blankenese 2011
Konrad and Lyn 2013
Konrad and Lyn 2013
Grandpa with Sydney ca 1993
Grandpa with Sydney ca 1993
Dad's 80th birthday celebration in Annapolis
Dad’s 80th birthday celebration in Annapolis
St Patricks Day 2015 :(
St Patrick’s Day 2015 🙂

38 Responses

  1. Danielle, I am so sorry to read about your loss. No matter the circumstances, it is so hard and disorienting to loss a parent. My heart goes out to you. I loved seeing your dad through the photos. What an extraordinary life. Sending warm thoughts.

  2. I am laughing at myself because I forgot to write about his time in Africa in the 50s before he came to North America. He worked for the family import/export business called C. Woermann in the Cote D’Ivoire. Grief is making me brain dead.

  3. Danielle,

    This is a wonderful tribute to your father and his journey. And yours. You will write again. And we will read and share your grief–we are connected.

    Love,
    Kay

  4. Thanks for sharing more about your dad, and the process you’re going through from his loss. I understand only too well the journey of self-inquiry following the first death of a parent. You’re riding waves that elevate you, then slam you down. Take comfort knowing that the ride does becomes more gentle. Take care of your tender spirit during this time and know you are loved.

  5. There is no way to prepare for or understand losing someone you love. Holding you in my heart as you sit with all the feelings and memories. Sending much love.

  6. Thank you for this post, Danielle. I imagine being so far away really complicates the process of figuring out what your father’s death means in your life. My condolences to you and your family for the loss of your dad, Konrad.

  7. Danielle, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family. I wish I could give you a big hug (I’ll save it for next time I see you in San Ramon). I remember commiserating with you a few years back when we found out both our father’s were suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia (My father passed away last week on the 16th). You wrote a beautiful tribute to Konrad, he had such an interesting life! Take care, we miss you at Nia.

    1. Christine, thanks for letting me know about your father and I, too, am very sorry for your loss! I hope you can express yourself at movement class. take care 🙂

  8. You have our heartfelt condolences on the death of your dad. I was so happy to have met him briefly and now to learn about his full, creative life.
    We embrace you. Bea and Stan

  9. I was pleased to know Konrad and I will always remember him at the helm of Fortuna;competent and in charge and elegant in his ease.

    Rest in peace my friend.

  10. What a beautiful tribute to your father and his life. I am proud to offer my friendship and support to you in this time of loss. You supported me so well through the loss of my father and most recently the loss of my grandmother, who raised me. I agree that the loss of a parent is the strangest feeling. Writing about my grandmother in my blog and speaking her name fondly and often has been a great comfort to me, and I hope you find this to be true for you.

  11. Daniella Thank you for writing this tribute to your father Konrad. You have been in my dreams and I was wondering this story. I see you are Konrad’s daughter living adventures in foreign lands, the pictures you posted bring home the fullness of your fathers life and I see that energy even on St Patrick’s Day. I wish you well, there are soo-many lesson to work through with each and every day. Please remember to take time off with laughter and your wonderful smile. I hold you in my heart during this challenging time for you and your family…. Robb

  12. Danielle, your brain sounds great. I wish I could send you flowers. It really makes one feel better. Buy some and say they are from me. I wish I could see you and hug you. Peace be with you!

  13. Danielle we are sorry about you dear daddy. I Know that is really sad. our condolences to you. You written beautiful memories about him. Love Haydee and Rob

  14. You have illustrated his life so well. Thank you for sharing what a wonderful man he was. He truly followed his passion. I know how hard it is to suffer such a loss & yet feel relief too. My heart is with you. Sending you and your family Love and Light.

  15. Jack and I had the privilege to meet Konrad and Lynn on a cruise through the Fjords of Norway. We send our condolence to you Lynn and unbeknownst to his family. May he rest in peace.
    Anna

  16. Thought I left a comment when I first read it. It is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man. He is missed by everyone.

  17. Dear Danielle, Katrina and Carl,
    Thank you so much for sharing these stories and please know that Cheryl and her family, our dad and Carole, and I and Rick are all thinking of you! The pictures of your dad are beautiful and they bring back many memories. I will never forget the twinkle in his eyes. I know our extended family is not the closest, but we share our love with you at times like this and always. With love, – Rhonda.

    1. Thank you dear Rhonda, it was so nice to hear from you. We all send our thanks and love in return! Blessings, Danielle, Katrina, and Carl

  18. Ms. Woermann,

    My condoleances and deepest sympathies for the loss of your father. Over 15 years ago, I used to sail on the Chesapeake and crewed on your father’s boat. I had never raced previously but he and Lyn gave me an opportunity to join their crew on Wednesday evenings, as well as one of the overnight Solomons Island races, working the bow. So I am well acquainted with that spinnaker.

    I lost track of your father and sailing, having started my own family. I recently ran into an Annapolis sailor and talking of those days prompted me to try and locate your father again. I am so sory to find out that he passed away. He was an inspiration to me and he also introduced me to your grandmother’s pea soup, Hamburg style, which is still the best I have ever had.

    Sincerely,

    Juan Negrin.

    1. Hi Juan! What a lovely letter to find here on this blog. I am so glad my father touched you and you enjoyed sailing with him on the Fortuna. It is very nice to hear from you and I appreciate so much that you reached out. Blessings, Danielle

  19. Dear M. Woermann,
    It was just a folly idea to tipp Konrad`s name into my computer
    and thus to read that also Konrad passed away already a couple
    of years ago
    Actually I was a friend of Conrad in olden school-times on the
    Sachsenwald-Schule in Reinbek (where I now live again), together we were confirmed in the church of Wohltorf. You mention his summer-trip to Seeshaupt/Bavaria in July/August.
    His mother allowed me to also come along with them and thus
    we stayed there for 2 ,months, instead of 1 month, because
    we were told that due to severe bombing of Hamburg we could
    not return. Luckyly our home places Wohltorf and Reinbek wre not bombed. Christiane and possible Eleonore were also there.
    My younger brother years ago bought a house abt. 200 meterrs
    from Woermann`s which was important for Conrad and me, because
    we had to go through that garden to come to the river Bille for
    paddling. If you would like to know more abt. model-ship building in the cellar or the m odel-train in the garden just reply. My nickname by then was Archie.

    1. Hello dear Mr Lau
      How nice of you to reach out here and comment about my father. I shared your comment with my brother, sister, Tante Christiane and cousin. I would love to know more about the model ship. Please feel free to contact me at info@floramotion.net
      Danielle

  20. Dear Danielle (if I may call you by your surname),
    As to the Gloucester-schooner I can say, that – as I remember it it had the lengthe of abt. 1 mtr. resp. abt.2’6″. it was lacquered in a medium-bron colour and it stood on aboard on the wall.Mostly fascinated me (then a boy of 12/13 years) the tiny
    wooden figurines of abt. 1 inch height carved (and even painted).
    There was the captain, leaning on the edge of a hedge looking through his glass and the african cook with a tiny spoon in his
    hand climbing up the stairs from the galley. Most impressing the sailor beating with a tiny rope the bachside of a boy.
    Apart from this model Apart from this model, they built quite
    a few other model-ships, but as far as I remember they were exclusivela sailing-vessels and I think they wre mostly made by Karl (who dies during the war on a war-ship in the Skagerack (between Jutland and Norway+ But the sails got tanned by Eleonore oputside the house on the lawn. Konrad however also participated in this shippbuilding (and to a tiny part I as well) A pitty we could not meet in 2011 when he was here

    I remember that fairly shortly after Konrad passed away I read the death-announcement of Karl, who aparently died a few months after Konrad. I wonder how Eleonore is doing.
    Regards
    Archie

    1. My Tante Eleonore passed away at the end of 2015, and Onkel Heinrich just a few months before that. I spoke with my Tante Christiane (the last sibling still living) last week after I forwarded her your message and she was delighted that you reached out. She remembers you well. Carl passed away in 1945 as you say. Regards, Danielle

  21. Dear Danielle,
    on one side it of course is nice to hear resp. to read your mails on the other side however a bit depressing to learn that almost all of old friends and relatives passed away and Christiane now is the only member of the Woermann family I remember from olden times. I enjoy remembering the times when in summer we set up
    Konrads modeltrain-plant in their garden behind the house inclusive rails, signals etc.. Only the locomotives and waggons wehad to take back into the house in the evenings. The rest stayed outside onto harvest time.
    Regards
    Archie

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