It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Bernie (Bernd) Borkenhagen of Calgary, Alberta, and Fernie, British Columbia, on May 22, 2021, one day before his 76th birthday. Bernie was surrounded by family in his final days at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, following complications from a heart attack in January.
Bernie most recently lived his golden years in retirement with his beloved wife Mary Lazimbat in Fernie where he was affectionately known as “Bernie from Fernie”. He spent his days golfing slow, skiing fast, eating well, relaxing, and enjoying time with friends. Bernie lived in Calgary from 1980-2016, where he spent his days raising his 3 lively children, coaching soccer, and skiing the slopes of the Canadian Rockies all while project managing for various companies.
Bernie was a man of many talents, including adventurous international travelling, debating politics and current events, playing chess, consuming classical compositions, participating in local choirs, regaling the history of Western Europe, armchair yodelling, and always taking care of his wife and family, whom he put first above all.
Left behind to grieve our one-of-a-kind Bernie is his wife Mary; children Andrea, Eva (Ben), and David; and grandchildren Emery (Andrea) and Beau (Eva). He is also survived and missed by his brothers Frank (Therese) and Rainer (Anne); nieces and nephews Chris (Keiko), Olivia (Dave), Zosia (Matt), Yola (Damon) and their children; by his mother-in-law Anka; Mary’s brother Leo (Rita) and their children Olivia and Robert; and many other extended family members internationally.
Bernie is predeceased by his parents Carl and Gertrud Borkenhagen, and sister Brigitte. He was born on May 23, 1945 in Hemme, Germany and emigrated from Germany to Montreal in 1953 with his parents and two brothers. Bernie and Mary then met in their 20s and were married in the McGill University chapel in Montreal, on July 16, 1977, a significant date in their loving 50- year partnership. Mary will continue to live on and demonstrate to her fullest abilities Bernie’s ‘joie-de-vivre’ and ‘my body is a temple’ philosophies. Thank you to all the wonderful family and friends who shared special moments with Bernie as he journeyed through life. He will forever be remembered for his good nature, humour, and generosity.
In memory of his family that sought a life in Canada and of his grandfather Max Borkenhagen who emigrated and settled in western Canada in the early 1900s where Bernie’s father was born, Bernie will be interred in St. Paul, Alberta alongside his parents and his grandmother Anna Borkenhagen.
The celebration of life to honour Bernie will be held at a future date. Details to be provided.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Bernie to The Heart and Stroke Foundation (https://www.heartandstroke.ca/how-you-can-help/ways-to-give).
Heart and Stroke Foundation
119 14 Street NW, Suite #200, Calgary AB T2N 1Z6