News

Son reflects on father's life

A LOCAL man, who had a passion for the outdoors, a great love of family and fought for himself and his neighbours, passed away suddenly earlier this month.

Wolfgang Weidner, 68, went out on a fishing trip in the Prince Rupert area for a few days and was found dead in the water of Union Inlet near his boat, July 20.

“At the time of his death, he was doing what he loved and he was happy,” said his oldest son Wayne, who didn’t want to divulge specifics of how his father died but did say he went very quickly.

Wolfgang was born in Germany in 1943, and in 1944, escaped with his family as part of the mass exodus from eastern to southern Germany as the Russians were marching through Poland, taking back land they had previously lost to the Nazis.

He grew up in Gorlitz, which is on the border of Germany and Poland, and became a journeyman mechanic in 1965.

Later that year, he landed in Canada in Montreal, intending to travel to the Yukon.

But he would end up settling in Terrace for almost 50 years, said Wayne.

Wolfgang met his wife Silvia in Terrace and they had two sons.

In the 1970s, he became a carpenter.

In the 1980s, he worked on the construction of every Overwaitea store in B.C., a record only a few people can claim, said Wayne.

“It was a good time of his life,” he added.

Wolfgang had to travel for his work and spent a lot of time away from home but it was a sacrifice he made for his family, said Wayne.

After a divorce and after his sons were grown and had left home, he travelled to the US and Mexico, preferring to drive to Mexico rather than flying there, said Wayne.

In the 1990s, he and his youngest son Neil worked as guides and he spent time teaching Neil how to survive outdoors, how to hunt and fish.

From 2000 to 2010, he worked in B.C. and Alberta for Ledcor, including a large project in High Level that he worked on with Wayne.

In 2007, after he had been living in Dutch Valley for 17 years, he and his neighbours began the fight to get flooding protection for their property, all of which was on the edge of the Kalum River, which flooded Dutch Valley, Old Remo and parts of the city that summer.

He loved the outdoors, shooting, fishing and hunting, liked tinkering and collecting rocks of value.

“He was a passionate man, a private man,” said  Wayne, adding his dad was strong, determined, a good father and he did whatever he put his mind to.

The day he died, Wolfgang fished for halibut and caught one, using a harpoon to “seal the deal,” said Wayne.

He pictured his father smiling and thinking it would be a good day.

A service for Wolfgang was held at Zion Baptist Church last weekend.

 

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