Renate Anna Gertrude Ida (Brall) GEISTJanuary 16, 1937 ~ October 13, 2014 (age 77)
1937 – 2014
Renate Geist, nee Brall, passed away in her home on the morning of October 13th 2014 after a lengthy, courageous battle with breast cancer.
Renate was born on the 16th of January 1937 in Fulda, Germany, the first child of Irmgard and Karl Brall. Five brothers and sisters were to follow. The family came to Port Alberni in 1953, where Renate attended grades 11 and 12 at the local high school. She was raised in a strict, hard-working family who had known very hard times. She entered the University of British Columbia in 1955, but worked in the plywood mill during summer breaks. Renate blossomed in the university settings; receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Bacteriology and Biology in 1959.
In her third year she met her future husband Valerius Geist. They married on May 20th 1961. They had three children, Rosemarie born in Port Alberni, Karl born in Banff and Harold born in Calgary. The family went 1967 to Germany on a post-doctoral fellowship awarded to Val, and returned to Canada in 1968 where Val accepted a position at the University of Calgary. They stayed 27 years. Renate obtained a Bachelor degree in Education, and taught German, among others at Mount Royal College. She became a certified translator, and translated, among others, volumes 3 and 10 of Grzimek's Animal Encyclopedia into English, the “bible” in every zoo in the world. The summer holidays, however, were spent in Port Alberni with Renate's parents.
This tradition continued with Rosemarie who married Dr. Alain Deschamps, a renowned medical physiologist and anesthesiologist, and their daughters Raeven and Saxxon. Renate chose in 1995 a place in Port Alberni as Val took early retirement. What followed were golden years, despite Reante's battle with breast cancer beginning in 1999. Karl became an artist and teaches at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Harold married Alana Miller, a gynecologist; they have three children, Finnian, Ariana and Kael. We have nothing but the highest praise for the medical, institutional, but above all the Home Care that Renate and our parents received here. Despite her deteriorating condition Renate continued with household chores and translation work. She stayed sharp and mentally alert to the last day of life. Renate's wonderful character and intellect, widely appreciated, were summed up by a friend “... an amazing and steadfast combination of grace and intellect, courage and decency - unwavering and resolute, yet collegial rather than confrontational...” How we miss you, our dearest Renate.
Donations in honor of Renate should be sent to: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS, B3H 4P7