SCHROEDER, Erika (née DREWS)
February 3, 1940 – March 18, 2014
With great sorrow the Drews family announces the death of Erika, eldest child of Edmund and Martha, on March 18, 2014, at St, Joseph’s Hospice in Edmonton. She passed away peacefully with close family at her side. Her very sudden illness will astonish many but the indomitable courage, unwavering faith, and inspiring good humour with which she faced her final days were her familiar hallmarks. Erika was an uncommonly energetic, dynamic, and outgoing spirit whose care and generosity touched people of all ages and backgrounds.
Predeceased by her parents and by her husband Heinrich, Erika is survived by her sisters Olga (Carl) Christiansen of Bluffton, Irma Lefevre of Calgary, and Margit Kadosh of Edmonton; nieces and nephews including Garth (Karen), Neil (Sherry), and Hal (Tommi) Christiansen; Tanya (Tony) De Leon, Janelle Batonyi, Ellie (Roland) Cadrin, Jesse Kadosh, Gill Kadosh; and countless friends who loved her.
Born on February 3, 1940, in ILów, Poland, Erika and her family survived harrowing conditions as the Second World War blazed around them. In 1950 they made their way to Ravensburg in Southern Germany. In 1951, following a sea voyage on the legendary refugee ship Beaverbrae, they arrived at Quebec City’s harbour and to a new existence in Canada. A long, dusty train journey brought them to the Canadian West, and they created a life farming west of Ponoka.
In 1964 Erika graduated as valedictorian of her class with combined qualifications as both a registered nurse and a psychiatric nurse while based at Alberta Hospital in Ponoka, and she enjoyed her two years affiliated to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. In September that year she married Heinrich (Henry) Schroeder and moved to Edmonton, where they remained until Henry’s death in 2003. She spent several years nursing at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Erika maintained a high standard of performance and sought to apply her training in the community. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the University of Alberta in 1973, which launched her long career as a public health nurse in Edmonton’s Glengarry, Woodcroft, and Millwoods clinics. Erika’s professional life was integral to her identity, and she made many lifelong friendships through her training and practice.
Erika advocated passionately for the marginalized and for the needy, working incredibly hard on their behalf throughout her life. She greeted each day with enthusiasm and was excited to embark on almost any new adventure. Erika and Henry traveled widely, exploring thoroughly the South Seas, the American continent, Europe, and the Middle East, acquiring numerous new friends on their way.
In the last decade Erika filled her days with volunteering and with travels to destinations ever further afield, including South Africa, Australia and, in November 2013, China. Erika returned from a cruise off Florida the night before she entered hospital, using every moment fully to the very end.
The family thanks the University Hospital nursing staff on Unit 5-3C along with Drs. Mah, Hanna, and Bain; we also send special thanks to the kind staff at St. Joseph’s Hospice for their attentive care. Erika supported several charities, and asked that donations in her memory be made to the Evangelical Fellowship Church (780-439-5533) for distribution. Visitation will be held at Serenity Funeral Service at 5311 – 91 Street, Edmonton, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., on Friday, March 21, 2014, and at church from 12:00 noon on Saturday, March 22, 2014. A traditional funeral service will be held at the Evangelical Fellowship Church in Edmonton at 10511 – 79 Avenue on Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. Interment at South Haven Cemetery will be followed by a gathering of family and friends for refreshment back at the church.