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Home, and Back Again

Stan with Support.Stan Heinemann was a man who both came from and created a home with a very close family. Stan was born and raised in Northern Valley, Alberta, where he worked on the family farm and played as many sports as he could. At the age of 18 he started his mining career in Geraldton, Ontario, Stan worked hard and followed the mining industry north to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and then to Great Bear Lake, Alberta. Moving back home to North Valley in 1945 Stan married “the girl next door,” Olga and together they started a new life together farming in Northern Valley. Unfortunately, this was short lived as three years later a fire destroyed their family farm and they were forced to make a difficult life decision. 

Stan and Olga decided to move to Geraldton, Ontario where Stan had worked in mining years earlier. This was their life for ten years until Stan switched mines and moved, his now family of four, to Manitouwadge, Ontario. The Heinemann family lived happily for eighteen years when tragedy struck and Olga unexpectedly passed away. Stan continued to work in Manitouwadge for a couple of years until he reconnected with an old friend, Helen, in BC. He moved out to the West Coast where he and Helen found love and were married shortly after. Retiring in Kelowna, Stan and Helen were very busy and had many friends.

Stan’s family in Northwestern Ontario continued to grow. Many visits from his four children, nine grandchildren and eventually 7 great grandchildren were highlights of Stan’s later years in Kelowna. In-between visits Stan was able to Skype or talk on the telephone, he continued to stay very close with his family in Ontario; during the visits or calls Stan would always remember and talk fondly of the part of his life spent in Northwestern Ontario. A sharp turn in Stan’s life occurred in 2010 due to a stroke; after recovery Stan was admitted to a Long Term Care Home in Kelowna. Helen and the rest of Stan’s family visited and supported him in the Long Term Care Home until Helen’s passing in 2012. 

Now alone in Kelowna and of most his family in Northwestern Ontario, Stan asked his daughter Donna to “Come get me.”  Upon this request Donna contacted us in Thunder Bay and asked how to get her father back home as soon as possible. From the counseling of our Care Coordinator’s and touring of the Long Term Care Homes, Donna made choices that would bring Stan home quickly and happily. In a very short time, Stan was offered a bed at Dawson Court in Thunder Bay, a Long Term Care Home high up on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Now in Thunder Bay, Stan was visited by all of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was very excited to be back in Northwestern Ontario.  Stan was only home for a short time when he passed away at a healthy age of 91.  Stan lived, worked, and experienced much across this huge country, but in the end you could always find him looking out the giant window wall at Dawson Court watching the ships in the harbor of the beautiful Lake Superior saying to himself “good to be home.”