Sirkka Kuntzemann passed away in Burns Lake on Friday, November 30, 2007 at the age of 81. She showed unbelievable strength and courage in the months following her April diagnosis of lung cancer.
Sirkka was born Airi Sirkka Annele Huhtala on June 5, 1926 in Alaharma, Finland. Her young life was not easy but Sirkka was always strong in character and values. That strength served her well as a new immigrant to Vancouver, Canada in 1951 and through difficult times in later years. Sirkka married Heinz Kuntzemann in 1956 and they blended their families (Sirkka’s daughter, Liz-Anna, and Heinz’s son, Ralf). Barbara-Jean was born in 1960. In 1963, the family moved to Nakusp from New Denver. Heinz and Sirkka separated in 1971 so in 1974, at 48, she returned to school to complete her grade 12 education and to train as a bookkeeper. She was a valued employee of the Heritage Inn (Hume Hotel) in Nelson, BC until she retired in 1995.
Sirkka was a talented and creative woman. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. She could make delicious meals out of whatever was on hand and turn hand-me-down clothes into stylish dresses for herself and her daughters. She continued to design her own clothes and sew for family until this past year. She designed wonderful gardens, including a monumental rock garden in New Denver, and painted and stitched beautiful décor for her home. She would admire a piece of needlework and knit, crochet or sew her own version, usually lovelier than the original.
In 1999, Sirkka moved to Burns Lake to be closer to family. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and was always ready to show her love with a cup of tea and something fresh from the oven. The birth of her great granddaughter in February gave Sirkka much joy in these last months.
Sirkka was loved dearly and will be sadly missed. She leaves her children, Liz-Anna (Bill), Ralf (Michelle) and Barbara-Jean; her grandchildren, Alistair (Valerie), Airi (Shane), Justin, Michael, Cameron, and Christine; and her great granddaughter, Birch.
A service to honour Sirkka’s life will be held at St Paul’s United Church in Burns Lake on Saturday, December 22nd. In lieu of flowers, donations to support the Pines Rambler in Burns Lake would be appreciated. She loved the access this seniors’ service gave to her community. Cheques should be made payable to Northern Health Authority and sent to NHA c/o Tanya, Suite 700, 299 Victoria St., Prince George, BC, V2L 5B8 – Pines Rambler/Sirkka Kuntzemann in the subject line.