Chapman (née Wünsche), Helga Marie

Helga passed away Sunday, September 4, 2022 at age 94 at the Meaford Long Term Care Centre, after suffering a stroke from a fall in March 2021. She had already been starting to suffer from dementia, but had been enjoying life until her fall.

She is survived by husband Donald (90), sons Peter & Chris, and brother Harald (in Germany).

After Helga & Don retired to Thornbury from Toronto in the early 1990’s, she became quite involved in local clubs like Probus and the Bruce Trail Association, hiking the trail end-to-end in her early 70’s, and would also meet up with local friends with German backgrounds.  She downhill skied until age 70, and did cross-country for years after that. Her earliest trip to the Blue Mountains was with a special ski train from Toronto to Craigleith in the late ‘60s.

Helga was born in Dresden, Germany. During the 1945 bombing of the city, her family escaped her burning home & neighbourhood, survived the partial collapse of a building in which basement they sheltered, and became a refugee. (As a teen, she had been pressured by authorities into being a member first in the girl’s equivalent of the Hitler Youth, and after a change of management, the Communist Young Pioneers!)  Her family escaped from the Soviet zone of occupation by various means, with Helga travelling by train to the west with forged Russian occupiers’ papers in 1947. Almost all of her 1947 high school classmates remained in the east, although Helga met some again at a reunion 50 years later.

As life became more normal over the years, Helga eventually went to college in applied bio-chemistry, and worked in a dairy lab. While her relatives including two brothers remained in Germany, she thought it would be interesting to visit the USA, or failing that, Canada. Applying by mail to the University of Toronto on a co-worker’s recommendation, she got a job as a Faculty of Pharmacy lab technician, where she worked for many years after flying over in 1964. She settled down in this country after meeting husband Don later that year. Later she ran a consignment used clothing store with a friend for a decade.

Helga did volunteer work, becoming VP or President of the Home & School associations where her sons went to school, and was a 40-year counselling & fundraising volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society after her own bout with breast cancer. At home, Helga made crafts for the kids, and always had a neat home and well-tended garden that she could putter around in even in her later years.

A service celebrating Helga’s life will be conducted on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 11 o’clock at the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford.

As your expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Bruce Trail Association through the Ferguson Funeral Home, 48 Boucher St. E., Meaford, ON   N4L 1B9 to whom arrangements have been entrusted.



Wednesday, September 14, 2022 11:00 AM
Ferguson Funeral Home, Meaford, ON

Make a donation in memory of Helga Marie Chapman (née Wünsche)

Donations: Bruce Trail Conservancy
Donate securely through Ferguson Funeral Home

Memories & Messages of condolence

  1. Doris Lajoie
    Wednesday, September 7, 2022

    My sincere condolences Don, Peter and family. Helga will be missed by all that knew her, she always had a smile on her face and loved speaking with my mom Ursula MacKenzie when she came to the Collingwood Airport as they came from the same town. Helga also did skydiving in her later years, brave girl I always said. It was a real pleasure to know her.

  2. Janet and Bruce Leigh
    Wednesday, September 7, 2022

    Helga was a great role model. She energetically participated in hiking, swimming,gardening ,and entertaining friends. She was always kind hearted and up for a challenge.

  3. Sue Parsons
    Thursday, September 8, 2022

    My deepest condolences to Chris, his wife Tracy and son Logan on the passing of your mum and Grandma to Logan, along with all of her family and friends. May she rest in piece

  4. Carolyn moerschner
    Thursday, September 8, 2022

    I Have many wonderful memories of times shared with Helga and Don. I am very sorry for your loss Don and am thinking of you at this sad time. She was a great lady of many talents and a pleasure to be with.

  5. Elsbeth Wright
    Friday, September 9, 2022

    My sincere condolences to you Don and families.
    Moving from Toronto in 2009 to Thornbury I left all my friends in the city. The Casual Dining group with the Probus Club gave me the opportunity to meet new people. I remember so many fun evenings with both of you around a table, great conversation and a lot of fun. Helga’s “Schwarzwaelder Torte” often crowned the evening. Yes, I have the recipe, but, never mastered her baking skills.
    Elsbeth Wright

  6. Sallie Kedwell
    Saturday, September 10, 2022

    On behalf of the members of the Casual Dining activity group (Beaver Valley Probus Club) please accept our deepest sympathy on the passing of Helga. She was always a very pleasant participant in our events and we will miss her.

  7. Cathy Sears
    Saturday, September 10, 2022

    They were always together, Helga and Don. Whether it was their annual visit to Tobermory with the Nature League or attending lectures with the BVLL. It was a pleasure to know her. My deepest condolences to Don and Family. R.I.P. sweet Helga.

  8. Ken and jean Kelley
    Saturday, September 10, 2022

    Dear Don and Family,
    Jean and I have fond memories of our meals and events together. Helga was always positive and added fun and interest to the groups. We will miss her.

  9. Heather Baker
    Monday, September 12, 2022

    Many happy memories of you two up the Bruce Pre Thanksgiving weekends where I remember Helga as unstoppable.
    My sincere condolences.

  10. Carol Slama & family
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022

    Dear Don and family,
    Helga was a dear friend of our mom, Vlasta, and we loved to hear the stories of their bike rides to Craigleith along the bike trail, that included lunch, and a wish that the wind would always be at their backs (for both directions). Please accept our sincerest condolences on the her passing. Your family is in our thoughts.

  11. Linda Holden
    Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    Don and sorry to hear of Helgas passing… our deepest condolences to you and family.
    Barry and Linda Holden


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