After a long and courageous battle with illness, Ben Bieche passed away peacefully at the age of 82 with family by his side.
Born in the German community of Meshewaja, Ukraine, Ben’s earliest years were marked by tragedy and upheaval as his family travelled through Poland and into Germany as refugees from the battles of the Second World War. He started school in East Germany. In 1946, he and his family fled to West Germany in the middle of the night. He resumed school in Stuttgart until Grade 7.
When Ben was 12 the family emigrated to Canada, living in Hanna, Alberta. They eventually settled in Edmonton.
While at the University of Alberta, through their shared love of athletics, Ben met his future wife, Geraldine DeMaere. After teaching one year in Edmonton, he and Gerry were married in February 1963 in Calgary. He completed his Bachelor of Education, and Mr. and Mrs. Bieche embarked on their careers.
In 1966, now with two toddlers, they went to Eugene, Oregon, where Ben earned his Master of Science degree at the University of Oregon. They moved back to Calgary and welcomed two more additions to the family.
For the next 5 + decades, Ben and Gerry raised their children, enjoyed time with friends, and doted on their grandchildren. Ben loved dancing with Gerry; sports - especially curling, badminton and golf; do-it-yourself house renos and fixes; a good card game; and to laugh. His laugh was infectious.
Ben had a long and distinguished career as a teacher and administrator. He was very popular amongst his students and colleagues, who to this day, express great fondness for him.
He was particularly known for his many years at St. Mary’s High School, where he taught physical education and math. As varsity coach, his teams won several city championships in football, basketball, and badminton. In 1980, he was recognized as Alberta Football’s Coach of the Year. In 1988, he received a long-time service award for extracurricular dedication with the Calgary Catholic School District.
He was also active in community sports, volunteering his time with soccer and flag football.
Family, friends, students, and athletes of Ben remember his intelligence, calm demeanour, dry wit, and selflessness. We will also remember his incredible strength and determination in the face of illness. Most of all, Ben was a proud husband, father, and grandfather who’s gentle and fun-loving manner lives on.
Ben is pre-deceased by his parents, Alexander and Anita Bieche; his parents-in-law, August and Mary DeMaere; and his brother and sister-in-law; Doral and Pearl DeMaere.
He is survived by his wife, Geraldine; his children, Richard Bieche (Loretta), Teresa Bieche, Jacqueline Bieche-Walker (Rod), and Brian Bieche (Dana); grandchildren, Jenna, Zoe, Ben, Carolyn, Naomi, and Alexandra; his brother, Leo Bieche (Colleen); brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Joan DeMaere; and all of his nieces and nephews.
A sincere thank you is extended to the staff at the Foothills Hospital Emergency and Unit 36 who’s dedication and compassion are most appreciated.
That man is a success
who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women
and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better than he found it,
who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others,
and gave the best he had.
Robert Louis Stevenson
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Alzheimer Society of Calgary
800-7015 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary AB T2H 2K6
Parkinson Association of Alberta
120, 6835 Railway St SE, Calgary AB T2H 2V6
Crohns and Colitis Canada – Calgary Chapter
600-60 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto ON M4T 1N5
Inn From The Cold
110 -11 Avenue SE, Calgary AB T2G 0X5