passed away peacefully on August 29th, 2020, at the age of 90, with family at her side.
Therese was born on November 25, 1929 in Garwarz, Poland, on a farm where she played happily among the milking cows, cats, dogs, fields and gardens, on the banks of the Wkra river. She was the youngest of 3 children-- a brother 15 years senior and a sister 10 years older. Her family was part of a German community that had farmed in Poland for many generations.
In January 1945, Therese and her family fled westward in a horse-drawn coach and wagon as the war front approached from the east; and her life changed forever. After the painful loss of her mother and brother--and miraculous reunion with her father--she lived in post-war Germany and studied nursing. Then she immigrated to Canada in January 1955 on the MS Stockholm.
Therese worked in a nursing home in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She began corresponding with a pen pal who she met through a German-Canadian newspaper Personals section. She travelled to Kapuskasing, Ontario, to meet Helmut Steinecke in November 1955 and he went to Medicine Hat in December to visit her. Early in 1956 she returned to Kapuskasing, and married Helmut on March 12.
In northern Ontario Therese dealt with long winters, black flies, ice fog, learning her fourth language, chimney fires, market gardening, chicken farming; while she raised three children and ran two successful businesses. By the time she and Helmut moved to southwestern Ontario in 1982, she had a thriving flower shop on the Circle in Kapuskasing.
Therese and Helmut lived in Mount Brydges and Strathroy until 2016. During those years she owned and operated a local flower shop, welcomed five grandchildren, grew enough food to sustain an army, filled a room with homemade preserves, filled a greenhouse with bedding plants, and played a board game called Upwords every day.
In 2016, when Helmut passed away, Therese moved to a retirement home in Toronto to be closer to her children. Visits to Therese always included a game of Upwords and an account of life and farming on Garwarz. The busy shuffle of books on her card table included a Grisham novel, Reader's Digest, and the Bible.
Therese's health deteriorated from the physical isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. She was admitted to hospital in June with a series of acute health problems. When her children asked her where she wanted to go next: back to the retirement home or to a nursing home, she replied that she was ready to go to heaven. On her last day with us, she opened her eyes, responded to our questions, looked at some photos of her newest great-grandchild, and then fearlessly embarked on her next journey.
We give special thanks to all the staff at The Annex retirement home as well as Bridgepoint healthcare. Therese is predeceased by her parents, Lydia Mueller and Otto Truderung, her brother Richard, sister Liesel, and husband of 60 years, Helmut.
Therese is dearly missed by her son Richard (Donna), daughters Ellen (Theo) and Julia (Michelle). She is warmly remembered by her grandchildren, Laura, Joel, Peter, Carolyn and Rebecca. Stories about her will be shared with her great-grandchildren, Ellie, Francis, Aaron, Luke and Caleb, all of whom she met, greeting newborn Caleb online.
We will never forget Therese's hard work, warm smile, firm faith, free food, business acumen, excellent gardening advice, storytelling, creative Upwords playing, sweet tooth, faithful letter writing, prayers, and deep love for family and friends.
Cremation has taken place. We will celebrate Therese’s life on Saturday October 3, with an in-person service for immediate family occurring at the same time as a Zoom event. To receive information about joining the Zoom event, please contact Julia Steinecke firstname.lastname@example.org.