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Hedi Hefele

July 5, 1935 — February 18, 2024

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Hedi [Hedwig] Auguste Hefele [nee Rotter]

Born on July 5, 1935 - Lauterbach, Mähr Schönberg, CSR 
Passed February 18, 2024 - Alliston, Ontario Canada - 88 years of age 
One of 7 children to Karl & Hedwig Rotter [nee Bittner]

 Predeceased her husband, John Hefele, who passed March 1, 2018 and her late sons, John Frederic Hefele [Oct 21, 2018] and Christopher Jason Hefele [May 3, 2005]. As well as siblings Hilda Lack [nee Rotter], Karl, Erhard, and Franz Hedi is survived by her younger siblings Gerda and Fritz, in Germany - together with nieces and nephews in both Canada and Germany. 

Hedi was a demure, gentle, and kind soul. Resolute in the face of unimaginable hardships, she maintained an incorruptible air of decency and grace - never allowing adversity to spoil her view of a world filled with beauty. 

She was extremely proud of her Sudeten German heritage. Born amidst WWII, Hedi's childhood was plagued in conflict. Though the war came to its long-awaited end, peace failed to follow for young Hedi and the Rotter family. On October 11th, 1946, the Rotters were expelled from their ancestral homestead, along with 1.3 million Sudeten Germans living on the now redrawn border of Czechoslovakia allocated for resettlement. Loaded onto dank, cold cattle cars, Hedi began a 10-year journey of forced relocation - moving from refugee camp to refugee camp before finally being assigned to the Kornwestheim ‘shoe factory’ refugee settlement.

 Despite Hedi’s early hardships, she never expressed anger or bitterness, instead finding resolve in her family. She often remarked that they were among the most fortunate as they as a family survived, while many did not. She most likely never realized it, but being a refugee was forever a strong part of her identity, valuing the one thing that couldn’t be taken - her family name. Conversing about challenging situations, she would often say “you are a Rotter”, which to her meant strength, determination and perseverance. 

On March 12, 1955, a young 20-year old Hedi departed for Canada to join her brothers Karl in Nova Scotia and Erhard in Toronto. She adapted to her new surroundings as she had done so many times before. It was through her brother Erhard that Hedi met the ‘gentle giant’ who would become the love of her life - Johann, or John Hefele. Married on July 17, 1965 they soon welcomed their first son John Frederic on July 17, 1967, and six years later, Christopher Jason on January 5, 1973.

 Taking immense pride in her first home in Bramalea, Hedi immersed herself in the homestead - leading a humble yet fulfilling life as a beloved wife and mother. The house was always spotless & pristine, and her baking prowess was second-to-none. She volunteered at her sons' schools, and plied her impeccable sewing skills tailoring ever-coveted fur coats at a local furrier. Hedi was a skilled ‘green thumb’ and had the ability to take even the smallest sprig or cutting, and morph it to a vibrant, healthy plant. Years later after moving to Alliston, she would proudly point out the large Sumac in her backyard explaining how that massive shrub started from a small clipping from the side of the road. Nothing made her prouder. She was more than happy to share her green skills, tips and expertise in a kind, humble manner. She was a patient teacher - non-judgmental, nor condescending, just truly excited to share her talents with whoever expressed interest. 

Over the years, Hedi was plagued by a series of health challenges and misfortunes, each time overcoming adversity with a pragmatic and down-to-earth temperament. Always the gentle warrior, she overcame a bout with breast cancer requiring a mastectomy. She endured two knee surgeries and a burst fracture to her spine, while fighting the effects of Parkinson's disease. What proved her most difficult battles were those faced by her family - losing both her children following lengthy healthcare complications. Hedi said goodbye to 32-year old Christopher in 2005 and in 2018, 6 months following the loss of her beloved husband and best friend of 53 years - her first child, 51-year old John Frederic. No parent should ever have to bury their child, let alone 2, and no one should have to face the toughest tests of life without their life partner. 

While many would be consumed with self-pity, Hedi took each hardship in stride and never sought sympathy. It simply wasn’t in her DNA. She will always be admired for her courage and bravery in the face of adversity, and her inner fortitude to remain so gracious and kind in light of tragedy. 

She was curious, and ever-inquisitive even through age. She loved nature - sturdy brown oak trees, crisp yellow fallen maple leaves, and clear blue skies, embodied by the colour of her eyes. We will miss those beautiful blue eyes and that soft smile. When complimenting her wearing one of her many scarves, and stating she looked good - she respond: “Do I? Everyone tells me that, but I’m not sure”. Hedi was the epitome of humility and graciousness. 

Hedi was blessed with a gentle and peaceful passing. She has been reunited with the ones she loved most - those from whom she found light through darkness, and fortitude through adversity. Her family. May she now rest in paradise with her guys. The Rotter/Hefele family would like to thank the entire team at Good Samaritan Long Term Care Home for their care, Norla from Seniors for Seniors, friends Hubert and Elizabeth and Warren who checked in on Heidi often. Hedi will be dearly missed by her entire family.

 In honour of Hedi’s wishes, her cremation has taken place and a funeral mass will be held on May 16, 2024 at St Paul the Apostle Church in Alliston, followed by a burial at St Paul’s Cemetery, where she will be reunited with her husband and two sons. Following the burial, there will be a small luncheon to celebrate her life. Details of the luncheon will be shared when determined. To send flowers to the family in memory of Hedi Hefele, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Memorial Service

Thursday, May 16, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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