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ZESSNER, Gertrud (nee GRIMM)  -  Our beloved Oma died on April 10, 2023, at the age of 100 in Toronto.


Gertrud was born in Hamburg, Germany, on September 8, 1922, and was predeceased by her parents Otto (1928) and Gertrud (1974), her husband Walter (2012) and her siblings Otto Grimm (2007) and Anne-Marie Heiberg (2016).

She will be greatly missed by her son Michael, her daughter-in-law Deborah Maw and her grandchildren Sarah, Laura, Robert and Emily.


Gertrud was a survivor, a member of a generation on both sides of the Atlantic that managed to rise above difficult circumstances.


She and her siblings survived a difficult childhood after the death of her father at a young age, leaving her widowed mother to cope as best she could.


She survived the death of her close friend Herbert Kruger, who died on the outskirts of Leningrad in the German invasion of Russia.


She survived the unprecedented firebombing of Hamburg in the summer of 1943, as well as a first marriage to an erratic artist. She became an excellent seamstress during an apprenticeship following the Second World War, even though her left-handedness was greatly frowned upon.


She subsequently married Walter Zessner, and they established a new life in Canada in 1952 with their only child Michael.


She was an independent spirit and sometimes referred to as "tell it like it is Gertie".


Even though her hearing failed her in the final years, she was lucky to retain her mental agility until almost the end. We shall miss her tremendously!


Many thanks to the staff and caregivers at Briton House.