Heinz Harry Helmut Schild
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Heinz Harry Helmut Schild (Harry), slipping away peacefully at Nanaimo General Hospital on Feb. 6, 2023, at the age of 93. Harry was a devoted and loving husband to Sheila, his wife of 67 years, and Father to son, Ronald Schild and daughter, Sandra Domay. He was grandfather to Greg Schild (deceased) and Allison Metz (Schild), Kisa (Domay) and Cameron Domay, as well as great grandchildren (6).
Harry began his life on Oct. 3, 1929, in the small town of Zobten, Silesia, East Germany. He grew up with a fondness of the outdoors, skiing in the local mountains. In his early days, he wanted to be a forest ranger, caring for the wildlife and parks that he enjoyed so much. But that was not to be.
Harry lived through some challenging times as a child in Germany. With the rise of German nationalism during Hitler, changes came quickly as he was growing up. He used to often ride with the local milkman on his horse-drawn wagon as he delivered his products, until the day came when his kindly milkman friend warned him not to ride with him anymore. He was Jewish and feared for Harry’s safety. Not too long after, the milkman was not seen making his rounds anymore. Harry did not know why until he got older. He spoke of his memories of Kristallnocht (Night of the Broken Glass), when Jewish shops and businesses were destroyed and looted in Nov., 1938. Harry could not understand why so many of the people that he and his family had been friendly with, and some of the children he went to school with, would be targeted and so cruelly treated. Of course, the worst was yet to come.
Soon World War II began, and his father was drafted into the German army. His mother moved the family, Harry and his sister, to Berlin, but when the bombing of Berlin began, the children were sent back to spend time with their grandparents at their farm or grocery shop far from the City. He often remembered the barrels of sauerkraut and dill pickles they would raid, and the times he was sent to collect his grandfather from the local pub in time for dinner. But there were occasions when he was in Berlin during the bombings, when he was eyewitness to the carnage and suffering that resulted.
The war ended when Harry was sixteen. By that point in the war, sixteen year olds were being drafted. A month before the end of the war in Europe, his draft card arrived, which his mother promptly burned, knowing that the war was nearing its end. Due to his mother’s action, he escaped having to report to the army.
Harry’s family was in the Russian-occupied area of Germany after the war, and although they did not have to fear bombing raids any longer, life was very hard. Food was in short supply and was rationed. Harry would recall his mother going hungry so Harry and his sister had a little more to eat, often amounting to a single boiled potato or slice of bread for dinner. Anyone who knew Harry knew how much he appreciated food and how much he hated seeing it wasted or disrespected. He had experienced hunger and never forgot.
Harry had to give up his dream of being a forest ranger, and instead was indentured as an electrical apprentice. He enjoyed his trade, becoming a very proficient journeyman. A saying he often quoted from his first supervisor was “You are allowed to steal in this shop, but only with your eyes and ears. Listen and pay attention to those around you who know your trade!” Harry never stopped learning.
Soon Harry became dissatisfied with the Communist political climate in East Germany. He took part in some rally’s that caught the attention of the authorities, and when he went to work one morning, the communist shop steward took him aside and mentioned that he was on their radar and could be arrested for such activity. Harry made the decision to leave East Berlin, and after packing a few things he could carry, and saying goodbye to his mother, he made his way through the ruins of Berlin into West Berlin and eventually into West Germany. Not too long after, he noticed a poster at the Canadian consulate advertising the need for trades people in Canada. Viewing the invitation as an adventure, he applied and was accepted to immigrate to Canada. He was soon on a ship crossing the Atlantic. Landing at Quebec City, Immigration officials there asked him where he wanted to go in Canada. He had no relatives or friends in Canada, and he had little knowledge of the country, so a decision was made for him - Going to Winnipeg! It was 1953, he was 24 years old.
He was not impressed with Winnipeg, but he got a job and stayed for several months. There was a strong anti-German sentiment after the war, but a Jewish co-worker stood up for him and protected him, helped him with his English, and suggested that he go by his second name “Harry” to be more acceptable in Canada. Soon work ran out, he said his farewells to his friend, and he was off on another adventure, as he boarded a train to Edmonton where there was supposed to be work. On the train he met a conductor who was friends with an electrical contractor in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, who was looking for help. He arrived in Edmonton at the middle of a prairie blizzard. He never left the train station and booked a ticket to North Battleford. He was hired immediately by the electrical contractor referred by the conductor.
At a café he frequented for meals, a pretty server caught his eye. Sheila McLean suggested that if he was looking for lodging that he should speak with her mother and father, because they had turned their home into a boarding home where he could stay and enjoy home cooking. That sounded good to Harry, so he checked it out, and became a lodger there. After a time, Harry and Sheila fell in love and they were married on Oct. 8, 1955. Their first child, Ronald was born in July 1956. They left North Battleford with Sheila’s sister, Helen, and brother-in-law, John Jackson on another adventure to Victoria, BC, later that year. Harry became a ship’s electrician at the local shipyard until he was deemed a “security risk” due to his family ties in communist East Germany. He then started working with civilian electrical contractors, where he developed a very good reputation and became well known as an excellent electrician in Victoria. Their daughter, Sandra was born in Victoria in Sept. 1958.
Harry was exposed to the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses by neighbor’s who moved close by. Sheila and the children spent much time with the Witness family and liked what they were hearing, although at first, Harry was skeptical. After the family moved out to Sooke, they continued associating with the Witnesses, despite Harry’s misgivings. However, Harry started to like what he was hearing, agreed to a Bible Study, and in Jan. 4, 1976. Harry and Sheila were baptized together. Harry had the answers to many of his life-long questions. He was part of a world-wide brotherhood where there were no senseless hatreds, and violence was not the answer to problems. He looked forward to the Kingdom where “(Jehovah) is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth” (Ps. 46:9). He was active in the Saanich Congregation for many years, and eventually moved to Ladysmith where he served as an elder until his death.
When Harry made up his mind that something was right, he always committed fully, and Jehovah used his abilities and knowledge in many ways. He had a hand in wiring many quick-build Kingdom Halls and was one of the lead electricians in building the Cassidy Assembly Hall. He was faithfully in the ministry, and as he grew older, he cherished the opportunity to serve in the Cart-work, enjoying many conversations with tourists and passers-by in Chemainus, Transfer Beach, or downtown Ladysmith. Sadly, Covid 19 interrupted that form of the ministry, which he dearly missed, but he tried to adapt to new forms of ministry and rarely missed a service arrangement on zoom.
Harry had full confidence in Jehovah’s ability to resurrect his servants from the dead to life in a Paradise, and his Family also takes comfort in that hope. As Job 14: 14,15 states “If a man dies, can he live again? ...You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands.” We will patiently wait while Harry sleeps and welcome him back in the Paradise.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Heinz Harry Helmut SCHILD, please visit our floral store.