Hedy Elizabeth PIPER

Hedy was born in Danzig, Germany August 10, 1928 to Fritz and Elizabeth Klutentreter. As a point of interest Danzig no longer exists. After the war, the borders changed and the location is now in Poland. The family immigrated to Canada in 1930 when she was one year old. After crossing the Alberta plains in a covered horse drawn wagon which converted to a sleigh in the winter (possibly one of the first convertibles in Alberta), they settled in Flatbush. The family managed to eek out a living on a small sheep farm and her father Fritz also worked as a Blacksmith. He told the grandchildren his stories of working a forge, fixing wagons, greasing wagon wheel hubs and such things we now only imagine from the wild western tales of old.

Hedy had two brothers; the younger was Morris Klutentreter from Edmonton who predeceased Hedy by a few years, and the elder 81 year old Kurt Klutentreter. Kurt moved from his farm a number of years ago, (which is currently run by his son), and still resides in Toronto.

Hedy married Donald Louis Piper in Faust, Alberta on the 12th day of July 1947. This was the beginning of a long and interesting life raising eight children. The list of children beginning with the eldest starts with, Donald Wayne Piper (wife Gloria), Ronald Dale Piper (deceased), Linda Doreen Ronningen (husband Raymond), Garth Len Piper (deceased), Brenda May Fountain (husband David), Michael Stephen Piper, Gerald Blake Piper (wife Coleen), and the baby of the family, Sandra Lorraine Saunders (partner Harry). The eldest children were born at various locations in Alberta, the middle children in Vanderhoof, B.C. and the youngsters at the old hospital in Burns Lake, B.C.

Don, Hedy and family moved to Vanderhoof where Don made a living as a cat skinner for Alcan working at Kenny Dam. They then moved to Ootsa Lake around 1956 and worked on the construction of the Ootsa Lake Spillway. Their first home was the upper floor of the three story Hudson Bay building, located at the bottom of the Ootsa Lake hill (near the school house). No electricity, indoor plumbing, or running water. Washing clothes was with a scrub board. It wasn’t an easy life but it was the same for everyone and considered normal.

After the Spillway was completed, Alcan gave Don a job operating and maintaining the Spillway gates, monitoring the lake level and weather for approximately 24 years. When telephone finally came to the Ootsa Lake area, many may recall a party phone line where the Piper home was summoned with one long ring and three short rings cranked out on an old wall mounted phone.

After many years involvement with the Wisteria and Ootsa Lake recreation organizations, school board representation, guiding, fishing and visiting with the neighbors, the Pipers became very settled and an integral part of the community. The close friends they made remained soul mates for years to come.

Hedy was diagnosed with cancer years ago after all the children were born and when she went for surgery, her mother came from Alberta to look after the children. Thankfully the surgery was a success and life returned to the abnormality of eight children. Hedy was known for her Avon sales, work for the March for Dimes and as a fantastic camp cook when the Spillway needed concrete repair. The Piper home was also a central location for meeting friends for more than a few drinks of whisky and beer, poker, and usually a massive vat of chili. After a dance the continuing festivities usually ended with an early morning feed of bacon and eggs.

After Donald’s retirement from Alcan, they moved to a home near the Bald Hill Road area and also maintained an A-frame cabin on the shores of Francois Lake down Tatalrose Road. To supplement retirement income, Hedy took on the mail delivery contract from Burns Lake to Ootsa Lake and all points in between. This continued for five years until taken over by a new contractor. After Don’s passing on September 27, 1995, Hedy moved into Ron and Debbie Shively’s guest house, she then bought a small home beside the creek on Sixth Avenue. In 2006 Hedy moved into Tweedsmuir House where she enjoyed the company of many people she knew over the years. She truly enjoyed the entertainment and socializing as well the down home cooking and personal care she experienced.

Hedy was the mother of eight children and enjoyed a family spread of approximately 23 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

If a successful life is measured by a giving, loving soul with never a self serving thought, Hedy filled to overflowing, a very large measuring cup.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to the St. Paul’s United Church, doctors, nurses, people of Tweedsmuir House, the Royal Canadian Legion, and all the warm, sympathetic caring and assistance provided by her many friends.

Hedy will be missed by many, and forgotten by few.


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