Freda von Hahn passed away December 25th, 2021

Her family wrote this obituary:

It is with deep sadness and a great sense of loss that we inform you of the sudden passing of Freda von Hahn in the early hours of December 25, 2021.

On the night she died, Freda greatly enjoyed hosting a Christmas Eve dinner for 23 of her descendants including a large group of her children and their spouses, her grandchildren and their spouses, and her great grandchildren. She had spent the previous days shopping for groceries with her grandsons, setting up the house with its many dining tables, and finishing her customary bouillon for that night’s dinner.

Freda Meta Barbara Baronin von Hahn was born Barbara Meta Baronesse von Roenne on September 17, 1923 in Riga, Latvia, the youngest child of Irene and Alfred “Fredy” von Roenne. After the early death of her father, she was renamed Freda. Her early years were spent in Latvia until the advent of the Second World War saw the exodus of the Baltic nobility to Poland and eventually, Germany. She was deeply affected by the loss of her brother, Karl Ewald “K.E.” Baron von Roenne who died at Stalingrad, and stepbrother Erwin von Bruemmer who also died on the Russian front, both tragically young at the time of their deaths. During the war, Freda attended Humboldt University in Berlin. She stayed at the Alte Kommandantur, Unter den Linden 1, in the residence of her uncle Paul von Hase, who was later executed for his involvement in the Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler. As the Russians advanced, Freda and her mother fled westward.

After the war, Freda reconnected with her childhood friend, Heinrich Baron von Hahn, with whom she had been corresponding. They were married on September 20, 1947 in Bad Driburg. In 1948, their first child Andrea was born in Kirchenoedenhardt, Bavaria, followed by Beatrix in 1950 in Bischofshagen, Westfalia. At the time, life in Germany was difficult and the perceived threat of the Russians led to the young couple’s plans to emigrate to Canada.

In 1951, Freda, Heinrich and their two young children arrived in Canada at Saint John, NB via the SS Beaverbrae. From there they travelled on by train to Penticton, BC. Their first residence was a picker’s shack in the heart of fruit farming country in Osoyoos BC, where they were under contract to a local farmer to work the tomato and peach harvest.

In July 1951, Freda’s mother Irene “Immi” joined them in British Columbia. By the fall, Heinrich had secured employment as an accountant at Western Music in Vancouver, where the family moved that year. Their son Patrick was born in Vancouver in 1954, followed by their daughter Kristin in 1956, and their youngest child Thomas in 1959. In January 1962, the family moved into a larger house on West 49th Avenue which was Freda’s home and the centre of the family’s activities until her death this week. She instilled in her descendants the importance of Baltic German traditions despite spending much of her life in Canada. 

Predeceased by her husband Heinrich in 1995, Freda leaves behind the following family:

Her daughter Andrea Thomsett and her husband David Thomsett

Jane and Steve Vorbrodt with two sons, Henry and Fredrik Vorbordt; Mia Thomsett and her husband Oliver Janousek with two daughters, Matylda and Phaedra Janousek

Her daughter Beatrix Hahn Grant (husband Peter Grant 1949-2010)

Madeleine Grant, Evelyn Grant and Alexander Grant and his wife Carolina Arriaga  

Her son Patrick von Hahn and his wife Carola von Hahn

Nicholas von Hahn

Her daughter Kristin von Hahn and her husband Douglas Coutts

Owen Coutts and Lilian Coutts

Her son Thomas von Hahn and his wife Karen von Hahn

Sophie von Hahn and her husband Harris Kuemmerle, and Philip von Hahn

We are thankful that our mother, grandmother and great grandmother Freda was able to live a full life on her own with dignity, independence and her customary fiery spirit for 98 years. We will fondly remember her sharp wit, keen interest in people, and her ability to hold intellectual debates until the day she died.   

We will have a private memorial with immediate family before the end of the year. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Freda’s favoured charities and organizations: the MS Society of Canada, the German-Canadian Care Home in Vancouver, or the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021