Arthur Volker

Arthur Ernst Volker

Sunday, November 29th, 1925 - Saturday, November 9th, 2019
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Arthur Volker curriculum vitae

Arthur was born in Loerrach on Nov.29,1925. He was the younger of two children of Ernst and Mathilde (maiden name Guggenbuehler). His sister, Ingeborg, was 13 months older. Loerrach is located in the extreme south-western corner of Germany, just across the border from the Swiss city of Basel. His father was a bank employee, which during the bad years of inflation and depression allowed the family a comfortable middleclass life.

Arthur attended high school where he was not very popular with the teachers. A lazy student, he concentrated on subjects he liked, such as literature and sports but neglected others that did not appeal to him, especially mathematics. He bucked the authoritarian milieu. So in spite of misgivings about the war and the Nazi regime, misgivings which resulted mainly from influences in the home, it was almost a blessing when he was drafted into the German Army in 1943 at the age of 17 years. Although there should have been two more grades at school, draftees were given their Senior (“Abitur”) papers as if they had completed the whole curriculum. He soon learned to dislike the Army even more than school. After a much too short period of training he was sent to the Russian Front which by this time had begun to crumble. As a soldier he endured the deprivations and sufferings that are the lot of a beaten and retreating military force. In the summer of 1944 he became a prisoner of war. Shortly after the war ended he was released. The camp in which he had spent over one year was reduced from 6000 men to 1500 emaciated survivors due to malnutrition and diseases.

Unsuitable for work, 1200 men were sent home, 300 who were still reasonably healthy were sent to Siberia. Arthur was among the fortunate, unhealthy 1200. (Many years later he reconstructed his war experiences from letters home which his sister had collected and from diary fragments that he had sent home for safekeeping before he became a PoW).

The years between the end of WWII hostilities and the beginning of the cold war between the former allies were very difficult in defeated Germany as the victorious occupation forces followed a policy of stifling the German economy. This meant insufficient food, heat and clothing. Living accommodation was controlled because of the severe shortage caused by years of allied bombing and the displacement of 15million people in the eastern provinces which were taken away from Germany. The Allies called it 'Population Transfer', to-day we would call it 'ethnic cleansing'. There were no jobs either.

The Senior Matriculation which had been given so generously three years earlier was declared invalid in 1946. Arthur went back to school and then managed to study in Basel due to the generosity of Swiss sponsors. In 1948 he married Magda Troesch. In 1949, as all of his parents savings had been wiped out by the introduction of the new D-Mark currency, he took a job in a textile dyehouse. There was no future to this career so in April 1952 he emigrated to Canada. Magda and son Michael, now 3years old, followed in September of the same year. The family first lived in Ajax, Ontario, then in Whitby while Arthur worked for small companies in the area. In 1959 he landed a job with General Motors in Oshawa. Daughter Audrey was born in 1954.

In 1965 a career move transferred the family to Windsor and another move in 1977 to London.
Art retired from General Motors in 1986 . His last position with GM was manager of the TITAN plant, which manufactured diesel electric trucks for the mining industry.

The first seven years of retirement were very happy ones with extensive vacationing and travelling. At that time, Mike and Audrey had completed their University education and had families of their own comprising seven grandchildren, and at the time of his death, eight great-grandchildren.

In 2001 Magda passed away after 6 years of illness with Alzheimers. In 2002 Arthur married Gwenyth Laine-Bailey who had also lost her spouse by the same disease. Several years of renewed happiness followed until Gwen’s death. Arthur moved to West Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2008.

Arthur loved the West Coast. He made new friends, played a lot of tennis, walked the sea wall often and travelled many times with family members. He also enjoyed spending time with the growing crew of great-grandchildren.
In 2011, he moved into a penthouse suite in West Vancouver with Anne-Marie Hersey whom he met at his previous apartment. They had a wonderful year together. However, in late 2012 Arthur moved to Summerhill, a retirement residence in North Vancouver and Anne-Marie moved into the Amica residence. When it became clear that he required more care, he moved into Amica as well and in 2018, he moved to the new Amica assisted living residence in West Vancouver until he passed away on November 9, 2019. Audrey, Mike and their spouses Blaine and Jany along with most of his grandchildren and great grandchildren – were by his side. He’ll always be remembered as intelligent, charming, caring, loving, kind, youthful, energetic, adventuresome, generous and much more. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Society London-Middlesex would be appreciated:
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Todd McCann

Posted at 03:27pm
My life was more fulfilled having met him and the world has lost one of the best. He was intelligent, brave, adventurous, charming, funny and witty. A salt of the earth kind of guy.

Roy Gardner

Posted at 09:00am
Condolences to the Volker family. I met Art when when he worked for Diesel Division General Motors of Canada in the Terex Operations. My memories of Art were that he was a strict manager running things with a firm hand. As I read his distinguished back ground I can understand him more for the person that I knew. May he Rest In Peace.
Roy Gardner


Posted at 05:07pm
I will never forget my uncle Turi from Canada. He was always super nice, charming and such a great character.
My deep sympathy


Posted at 11:28pm
i love him and miss him too.😢

Vanessa Posted at 06:07pm

BTW, Finley wrote this comment


Posted at 11:23pm
i miss him. love jack

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