DANIEL, Dr. Hans Rudi

June 24, 1926 – December 16, 2021

Hans was born in Velbert, Germany on June 24,1926 AD. He was enrolled in the Oberschule until he was called up to serve in the Reichsarbeitsdienst on December 1, 1943. He was transferred to a paratroop regiment in Holland and took part in the retreat of the German Army until he was captured to become a Prisoner of War in Brussels. He was moved to Hoek van Holland to work as a carpenter and as an interpreter for the British. 

Following the end of the war, he returned to school and obtained his Abitur in March 1947 and became a carpenter in his father’s business. Hans worked as a journeyman until he was accepted to the University of Hanover in November 1950. He met his future wife Martha on the second day of Christmas in 1949 while he was visiting a fellow ex-prisoner, who happened to be Martha’s cousin. On January 14th1950, he proposed to Martha. Following the war, it was difficult to be able to study and support a family in Germany. He heard that Canada was the land of opportunity so Hans and Martha decided to begin their new life together in a new country. They were married on December 15, 1951 in a civil service with a church ceremony to follow on April 16, 1952. 

Hans left for Canada 10 days later and found work immediately upon his arrival as a draftsman and a carpenter. He attended the University of Saskatchewan and graduated with a BSC in Engineering in 1958 and then with a MSC in Civil Engineering in 1964. Martha and Hans moved to Calgary in 1964 to be close to the Rocky Mountains, a place he had always dreamed about. Hans enrolled at the University of Calgary and completed his PHD in Civil Engineering in 1972 at the young age of 46. His beloved wife Martha, supported his ambitious career as they raised their family of 5 children – Anton, Juliane, Christian, Gisela and Claudia.

Professionally, Hans worked in many disciplines of engineering. In 1989, he founded his own company. He fondly remembered his involvement in the Hibernia Platform that took him to Paris and St. John’s Newfoundland. His last project was a design check on the piers of the Stoney Trail bridges. 

In 1998, he retired to spend more time with his family and indulge in sports and the study of languages. 

Hans loved running on the paths of Bowmont Park where he trained for numerous marathons, including participating in the Boston Marathon at the age of 78. He was a beloved figure on the trails of the Canmore Nordic Center where he would ski 5 times a week. Most of all, Hans devoted all of his love to his wife and family. He introduced his love of the wilderness to his children with time spent hiking and camping. To give them a diversified education, he instructed them in both German and Latin. He continued this tradition with his grandchildren. He took great pleasure in joining both his children and grandchildren in many activities and their pursuits.

Hans always tried to live his life according to his deep Catholic faith.  

A private Funeral Mass will be held at St. Boniface German Catholic Church in Calgary, followed by interment at Eden Brook Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada https://mssociety.ca/

Yes, Lord; I have believed, that thou are the Christ, the Son of God, the One coming into the world.

Joh. 11, 27

Arrangements entrusted to Florence (Flo) Simpson, Funeral Director

Cochrane Country Funeral Home – cochrane@piersons.ca – 403-932-1039

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  1. On December 31, 2021 at 10:10 am Ted & Lily Heynen Said:

    We are sorry to hear of the passing of Hans. May your fond memories of him help you through this most difficult time.

  2. On January 1, 2022 at 6:13 pm Genevieve Phillips Said:

    I just heard of Hans’ passing from my parents today. I am so sorry. His passing is the passing of another piece of history. I remember fondly of the dinners and playing at your Marda Loop house when I was a young teen. Later when your family moved to the NW I was there a few times. Your dad was an impressive gardener in this climate. I was impressed with what he was able to produce year ’round. Please give Martha my condolences and a hug for me.


  3. On January 2, 2022 at 1:56 pm June and David Phillips Said:

    It came as a shock to learn of Hans death in the newspaper yesterday for it seems that that kind man had been a fixture in June & my lives for so many years. He would be surprised to know that the influence of his example was so far reaching. I met Hans in June 1958 when I reported to my new job at the Bridge Branch in Regina, fresh off the boat from Scotland and with a wife and child. We instantly had a bond with Hans starting a new job as an Engineer and me likewise in a new land.
    The situation in Saskatchewan at that time was that oil fields had recently been discovered in the southeast part of the province and there was intense exploration going on all over. Roads designated as ‘Highways’ came under the Dept of Highways and Transportation and all other roads under the Municipalities. Although highways between main cities were paved, the rest were gravel and all municipal roads were gravel. The mobilisation of big road building teams that had been necessary to complete the Trans-Canada Highway was now directed to the provincial highways for the oil industry trucks were tearing up the gravel and the bridges could not carry them.

    All these pressures and opportunities had built up to create a truly ‘wild west’ where the mood was to get things done and worry about the details later. Hans & I were in the Design Group which brought the number up to about 10. To put this in perspective, this group of young men was responsible for all the highway bridges in an area slightly bigger than the size of France! It was an extremely exciting time and place to be an Engineer starting a career. At that time all socializing was over a meal in peoples’ homes and the married ones in the group socialized a lot in that period. I remember Hans telling us stories of his time in the POW camp in Hoek van Holland and it sounded as if he quite enjoyed it. Being a carpenter, he managed to gets their huts set up to be quite cozy and as the camp interpreter he had a few privileges. The atmosphere was quite relaxed but one day they went too far with some group misdemeanor and the commanding officer was furious. He lined them up and threatened them that they would be transferred to Canada if they did not behave. They all cheered! Perhaps that is where Hans got his dreams of Canada.
    Everything was in flux and after a couple of years we moved on but kept in touch. Returning to Calgary in 1967 we reconnected with Hans and Martha when they were now living in Marda Loop. Our children remember visits to that house and how Hans was growing vegetables in a sort of lean-to greenhouse; we were all very impressed as it seemed that anything he set his mind to, he had the determination to succeed at it.
    As the years went by, we kept in touch off and on but we were both extremely busy with our families. I recall, around 1970, Hans and Martha living in married student housing at the U of C while he studied for his PhD and marvelled at how they all fitted in. We still picture them whenever we drive by those buildings.
    Then came the difficult years of the great Alberta recession in the first half of the 1980’s. June and I experienced very difficult times and at one of our lowest points Hans and Martha spontaneously reached out to help us. They deeply impressed us with the fundamental goodness of their humanity. Eventually we moved away from Alberta for a while and were out of touch for a few years but upon our return to Calgary we found them again but now living in Silver Springs.
    On many occasions we dined with them, for Martha seemed to prefer being in her own home that dining out. This suited us very well for their home was gracious and elegant; Martha was a fine housekeeper and marvellous cook, our mouths would water at the thought of the fresh bread and stollen. Hans would always get into discussions about Sanskrit and Latin with June since she had knowledge of them whereas with me it was literature and European politics. Around this time, he decided that he was going to add a metre or so to the house by moving the end wall over; an enormous task, but with typical energy and determination he did it! We had never known a man of such determination for he then decided that he would grow a vegetable garden of such a size that he and Martha could live off it year-round. We felt sorry for Martha as, for several weeks each fall, she seemed to do enormous quantities of preserving to put in the newly constructed cool room. It makes me feel tired thinking of it.
    I think that the last time that we dined with them was in 2014 because we recall a discussion between them about the scandal of the Bishop Tebartz-van Elst and Martha felt that Hans was making excuses for him. The other thing that sticks in my mind was Hans’ project to read the Old Testament from end to end and then ask the priest questions about it. He said that that annoyed the priest no end and I got the impression that he rather enjoyed it. We took Hans to a Met Opera Live performance of one of Wagner’s Ring Cycle shortly after that but he was becoming rather frail. We were only living in Calgary in the winter months in those years and then suddenly there were no longer replies to emails. Some time after we went up to Silver Springs but the house had obviously been sold and our attempts to make contact came to nothing. How we now wish that we had tried harder.
    Farewell to a truly good and kind man whose influence was wider than he thought. Our hearts go out to Martha at this time.
    June and David