Photography

Gerhard Otto Richard Walter

February 7, 1938 ~ November 7, 2020 (age 82)

Obituary

Gerhard, 82, went home to be with his Lord on November 7, 2020 at Nanaimo Regional Hospital. His wife and daughter were by his side.

Gerhard was born to Heinz (Leo) and Helene Walter in the town of Jannewitz, Kreis Schlawe, Germany (present day Poland). In the waning months of WWII, when Gerhard was 7 years old, his father was conscripted into the German army and his family was displaced from their farm by the Russian army. With her husband in a POW camp, Gerhard's mother, who was pregnant at the time, took her 6 children by horse and wagon on a harrowing journey across a war zone to Karlsburg, West Germany. Gerhard's father escaped the Russian POW camp and eventually reunited with his family where they resettled on a small farm in Rethwisch, Kreis Schleswig-Holstein, West Germany.

Gerhard completed his peacetime mandatory military service in the West German army and went to agricultural college. In 1961, to satisfy his sense of adventure, Gerhard and his good friend Jurgen Koehler travelled by ship, train, bus and VW Beetle to Alexis Creek, BC to take jobs as cowboys on the C1 ranch. Gerhard indeed had many adventures in Alexis Creek but, most importantly, discovered the love of his life, Doreen Kinkead. They were married in 1963 and true to his German heritage, Gerhard built the only cement block house in the entire Chilcotin for his wife and young family. His sons Richard, Wesley and Martin were born during their time in Alexis Creek. Gerhard became a Canadian citizen in 1971.

In 1974 Gerhard moved his family to Hazelton, BC to operate the Salmon River ranch for his brother-in-law Stan Kinkead. His only daughter Heidi was born in Hazelton. After the ranch was sold, Gerhard worked in the logging industry and in 1987 built their dream house on an acreage on top of Call Mountain in Smithers, BC. In 2017, Gerhard and Doreen moved to Qualicum Beach, BC to be closer to family and escape the northern winters.

Gerhard's passion was horses and he owned and raised several including his prized stallion Tulpenprinz. He was an active member of the Northern Saddle Club and heavily involved with the Canadian Trakehner Society where he was a director and inspector for many years. He was also a pilot and owned two airplanes that flew him many miles over the Chilcotin and Hazelton countryside.

Following the tragic death of his youngest son, Gerhard chose to profess, in a public way, his personal faith and trust in Jesus by being baptized. He served his church community by using his handyman skills to help construct the new Smithers Alliance church building.

He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Doreen; children Richard (Carolyn), Wesley (Linda), Heidi (Peter); grandchildren Eric (Ashley), Kyle, Esmeralda, Melissa (Corey), Sarah (Wesley), Branden, Brayden (Christine), Helena, Evangeline; great-grandchildren Arianna, Elliott, Logan, Charlie; siblings Ilse, Christa, Karin (Harold), Martin (Conny) and step-sister Annette. Gerhard is predeceased by his son Martin, sister Erika and brother Hans Georg.

No service is planned at this time.

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