Edna Mary Beatrice Rotter [nee Owen]
Born June 18, 1937 - Runcorn, Cheshire England
Passed Dec 5, 2023 - 86 years of age
Single child of Edna [nee George] and Eric Owen
Edna married her late husband, Erhard Rotter on December 22, 1962
Mum to Debbie [Diego] & Erik [Heather]
Nana to Jon, Hugo, Maaike, Harvey, Viggo, and Roman
Edna’s start in life was born into war-time tragedy. Runcorn in Northern England was industrial & bleak - men had been called away to serve while the women became the foundation & sole support for their families at home - and country. Edna often recalled as a small child, the frightening sound of the air raid sirens, the darkness of the blackouts and the rush to the bomb shelters during the German blitz. She recounted the fear of the gas masks and their horrid smell. At the end of the war she shared stories of a street party and being introduced to her father for the first time. Later, as a child she was an avid swimmer and report cards revealed she was a good student, paving the way for her time at commercial school.
Edna graduated from Gill's Commercial Collage in Widnes, UK as professional secretary. A specialist in Pitman Shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping, it was documented that Edna “was to be one of the best shorthand writers we have ever had.”
Her accomplished skillset landed her a job at the U.S. Burtonwood Royal Air Force Base in Warrington, England - the largest aviation command centre in Europe throughout WWII. Working in the ‘incoming division’ and earning a ‘restricted’ data classification designation, Edna was exposed to the various comings and goings of the newly deployed airmen. She was shy, but enamoured. Growing up in grey, with a bleak northern England town, Edna was now exposed to the outgoing & vibrant ‘American way’. Edna was extremely proud of her time at ‘the base’, often recounting stories of her first experiences at the onset of her career. Later in life as dementia began to erode her memory, she would often gravitate towards her Burtonwood yearbook, knowing it held importance in her life.
At the age of twenty-two, Edna began a new adventure alongside her best friends Pat, Winnie, & Barbara, as they departed England on May 20th, 1959, for a week-long voyage across the Atlantic bound for Canada. She was forever taken by the adventure of the voyage - exposed to the magical diversities of the world for the first time. Disembarking the ship, Edna fondly recalled squealing with joy as boaters and folks on water-skis zipped by - something she had never seen, nor experienced.
Mum & friends settled in an apartment in the Danforth area of Toronto. She was quick to use her administrational skills and easily found work - plying her craft at various industries before landing a job at Ford Motor Co. Weekends were spent with the girls, attending vibrant dance halls and dinner clubs of the day. It was at the German Harmonie Club on Sherbourne St. (later to become as the Diamond and Phoenix night club) where Edna met her husband-to-be, Erhard Rotter.
Edna & Erhard married in 1962. They welcomed their first child Deborah one year later, and shortly after, moved from a small apartment to their first home. The Rotter family grew once more in 1979, when the couple welcomed the surprise arrival of their second child, Erik.
Taking immense pride in her small family, Edna immersed herself in the homestead.
With a dishcloth seemingly attached to her hand, the house was always spotless. Days were spent pruning and tilling the pristinely kept flower garden. Her modern taste in interior design was impeccable, spending hours in wallpaper stores and redecorating often.
Known as the life of the party amongst their growing circle of friends, the pair often attended functions or hosted their own. Erhard often described our mum as “a real firecracker”
Although Edna did not find cooking enjoyable, she was a superb baker - whether it be her rum marble bundt cake, fresh fruit flan, chocolate chip cake or rice pudding.
A few months following the passing of her own mother, Edna experienced panic attacks and became afflicted with anxiety disorder. Panic attacks spurned agoraphobia - preventing her from venturing far from the safety of her home. With little medical understanding of mental wellness at the time, she and her family faced a life-long battle.
Despite Edna’s affliction, she never lost her quick wit, dark humour, and sharp awareness of the ways of the world. She taught Debbie and Erik to be self aware, strong and to never back down. Her sense of determination and unwavering fortitude were some of the skills that she passed onto her two children as they embarked on their own adventures - beginning prosperous careers and starting families of their own. Some of her happiest moments were spent as “Nana”, initially to Jon, then to Hugo, Maaike, Harvey, and finally to her youngest grandchildren Roman and Viggo.
Edna found comfort in animals of all sizes, and held a special place in her heart for our hurt four-legged friends. Stray cats, injured racoons, squirrels, sparrows, and even possums could always find warmth and nourishment under the carport of 20 Langfield. She worked tirelessly with multiple volunteer animal rescues & organization to rehabilitate injured animals, and find them forever homes full of much-deserved love - often adopting them herself. Whether it be “Lucky”, the lone survivor of an abandoned family of kittens, feline cancer afflicted “Alex”, or “Sunny” - the sickly and forgotten adoptee from a pet store. Innumerable stray pets found a better life solely thanks to Edna Rotter.
Music was also a big part of Edna’s life, artists such as James Last, Mario Lanza, Dame Vera Lynn, Boney M, Alfie Boe and her all-time favourite ‘guy’ Engelbert Humperdinck. Because of Edna’s agoraphobia, she was never able to attend any concerts or events, but with Debbie's help, was able to have a virtual zoom date with her favourite crooner Engelbert.
She loved the Toronto Blue Jays - a passion beginning when her son Erik first began playing competitive baseball. Through good seasons and bad, she would rave about the triumphs of the ’92/93 back-to-back World Series, and bemoan the “clueless” umpires and bench managers alike. Her satirical impression of coach John Gibbons was absolutely unmatched.
Edna was an avid football fan (English, not American), and maintained a fanatic support for the English national soccer team. European Championships, and particularly World Cup tournaments were times of great nervous excitement for Edna, who often downright refused to watch big games out of fear she might “have a heart attack and not make it to see the next one”. Those games she did watch, were spent pacing around a room full of rival Germans and Italy supporters - St Georges cross flag draped over her shoulders and a pint of Guinness in hand. She adored David Beckham (who doesn’t) and Wayne Rooney alike, while finding great joy in Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s personable demeanour and star player Mohammed Salah’s dazzling maneuvers.
In November 2019, mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia. This became a new challenging journey for everyone - uniting a group of truly selfless, caring individuals learning to navigate this continuously evolving illness together. Thanks to ‘Nana’s Angels’ - Camelia, Sandra, and Debbie, Edna was able to remain in the family home for as long as possible. With the need for assistance ever-increasing, Edna transitioned to Malton Village Long Term Care home in August 2022. Her angels never left her side. For the past year and a half, she received attention with unconditional care and love - often treated to day trips, outings, or out for her favourite McDonald’s vanilla milkshake. She was a lively member of the 3rd floor McKechnie community and a staff favourite, known for her flirtatiousness, love of music, and infamous dancing, earning her the title of ‘Dancing Queen’.
Unfortunately, a battle with pneumonia was too much for our 86-year-old warrior. Sadly at 4:00 am on December 5th, 2023, Edna took her last breath with Debbie and Sandra by her side.
Debbie and Erik would like to thank the entire team at Malton Village Long Term Care Home, friends Penny, neighbour Brigette and angels Camelia & Sandra for all their love and care. Mum will be missed by the entire family, including her dear cousin Pam & family “back home” in the UK.
As per her final wishes, Edna’s ashes will be spread in a garden, beside her favourite statue of St Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of all animals, big and small.
Donations in memorandum can be made to:
Forgotten Ones Cat Rescue:
Click Here to Donate to Forgotten Ones Cat Rescue
Home At Last Rescue:
Click Here to Donate to Home At Last Rescue
Cremation has taken place. A private service and scattering of Cremated Remains will take place at a later date.