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.