In Celebration of

Hans Juergen Kumberg

August 6, 1925 -  January 30, 2019

On the 30th January ,Hans Juergen Kumberg one of the last survivors of the Green Devil Paratroopers passed away in his sleep at St Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario at the age of 93. He was a decorated veteran of the Italian Campaign during WW2 having fought at Ortona, Monte Cassino, the Adriatic and Po River campaigns. Hans was born in Windau, Latvia on 6 August 1925 and emigrated to Canada from Germany in 1952, where he married Ortrud Hasenfuss in Toronto on 1 July 1955. He ran a successful business as a landscape gardener and never lost his love for the outdoors. He strove in the latter part of his life to bring about reconciliation between those who had fought at Monte Cassino. Over the years he attended many of the memorial events there and extended his hand to Canadians, New Zealanders, Americans, Poles and British veterans. He said he owed it to those of all Nations forever young left behind, who did not enjoy the life he had. He was a loving husband and father who always gave sage advice to those who needed it. Ortrud passed away in 1991 and he leaves behind 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. As an expression of sympathy donations may be made to VETS Canada at


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jay Kerr (Friend)

Entered February 4, 2019 from Toronto Ontario

I'm sorry for your loss. I knew Hans and his family many years ago and have many fond memories of the times I spent with all of them. I was a good friend of Rudy Snider, his son.

Ron Berkis (neighbor)

Entered February 4, 2019 from Toronto

to Engel (sp?) and his siblings; please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your father.
Hans was a good neighbor, easy to laugh, thoughtful and kind.
I will always remember him climbing that tree to string Christmas lights well into his 70's and his war story was mesmerizing.

with sympathy

Roy Coward (Friend)

Entered February 7, 2019 from Chesley

So Sorry to hear of your loss. I did not know Hans very well but knew Rudy and Wolf through the 75th Cubs and Scouts.

Life Stories 

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Wolf (Son)

Entered February 3, 2019 from London, England

An Adventure in Living

There is a moment in every life when we reflect on what has been and how it came about. Life is an adventure and we make the best of what comes along. Few personified this better than Hans Juergen.

Born into a violent world between the two great wars. A German in Latvia, a new country striving for its own identity. Yet he loved Windau, the place he was born with a passion. I will never forget joining him and Ingo in the early morning of his 90th birthday as he insisted walking past the garden of his birthplace (the house itself had been replaced by a modern building) to the beach and ice cold Baltic Sea where he plunged into the water. This was Hans, intrepid, pushing himself to the extreme and seeking adventure.

His life was not static but always active. From boyhood he and has sister Gerda roamed the beaches of the Baltic, during the holidays not coming home until late in the evening. When war called him it was not the life of an ordinary soldier, but that of the Green Devils, who threw themselves out of aircraft and parachuted towards the waiting enemy, that drew him. Time and again during the War he risked his life, he said it was like playing boyhood games. The medals he earned showed his bravery, but he also came very close to death at the age of 19, when a shell fragment hit him in the stomach. Yet he survived to return to his Grandmother's home in Heidelberg, where his Uncle painted a picture of defeated youth. Yet in that face we see something else, determination. He picked himself up again and moved forward, in 1952 leaving all he knew behind for a new life in Canada. It was not easy for him. He had been destined to become a pharmacist like his grandfather and great grandfather before him, but now he made his way first as a lumberjack, then butcher, then landscape gardener. He never looked back. Life from an early age was a struggle and his faith and determination gave him the strength to make the best of what he had been offered.

He loved the outdoors and always ensured that we had a chance to enjoy them too. From our earliest ages we were camping, swishing down ski slopes or swimming at Wasaga Beach. Well into his seventies he was bungie jumping as if still parachuting out of an airplane. How well I remember skiing with him in the Swiss Alps, where 30 years my senior he would still beat me down the slopes. Canada became his adopted home and he loved it passionately. In the end it was Canada that personified him and gave him the freedom to create a life he would perhaps have never enjoyed anywhere else.

Hans was a good husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He lived by a strict moral code, that often made him come across as harsh, but in reality gave him inner strength that set him apart from others. He was a disciplinarian and expected others to be the same. We strove to emulate him, but in time life shows how difficult that is. He had a strong belief in God, but without the trappings of formality. He always supported St George's Lutheran Church, of which he was a founding member. His faith has carried him through to the end.

Hans lost his wife, Ortrud over 25 years ago. Their plans for retirement together never came to pass, but he was true to her memory, tending her grave with the roses she so loved in life and knowing that they would be together again in the end.

Over the past decades as Hans became the most senior member of our family and congregation he took on a new role. He was always there to speak to, his character mellowed, as if time served to blunt the edges. He spoke more about the past. We travelled together 3 times to Cassino, which was the formative event of his young life. We relived family memories, studied the family tree discovering all kinds of interesting characters and visited the place of his birth, for his 90th birthday. None of us will ever forget it and I know that Krystel and Alexander will treasure that experience and his memory as a result. Children rarely get to know who their parents really are, because to us they are larger than life figures. We have been fortunate to at least get a glimpse into who Hans was. Not a superman, but a genuine, solid man.

So we his family, relatives and friends gather here today to remember a man who has touched us all in some way. We will carry that memory with us and so pay fitting homage to a remarkable person. I remember standing with him in the German cemetery in Cassino, as he looked out over the sea of grey crosses. He told me that he had been granted a life that these young men had been deprived of and that somehow he always felt that he had to live their lives for them as well. What a heavy burden to carry, but one that he carried out with great humility, dignity and strength to the very end.

Dad you lived a life of adventure until the very end. Now a new adventure awaits you.


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