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McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes
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PIEPER, Bernd Ludwig Wilhelm

July 9, 1938 – Neuhaus an der Elbe, Germany
June 2, 2013 – Calgary, AB

Bernd, beloved husband of Sylvia, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at the age of 74 years.

Bernd grew up in former East Germany, which he left in 1957 to start a career as a brewer in West Germany. His work brought him to Switzerland in 1960, where he met Sylvia. He continued his education and became brewmaster in 1962. Sylvia and Bernd were married on May 22, 1963 and one week later, they embarked on a journey to West Africa, where Bernd had accepted a position as brewer at the Club Beer Brewery in Monrovia, Liberia. In 1971, their daughter Sandra was born and the family stayed in Monrovia until 1980, when civil war erupted and forced the family to leave. They moved back to Switzerland, where Bernd worked at Löwenbräu in Zürich. In late 1984, Bernd saw a job posting for a brewmaster in Calgary, AB and decided to apply. He got the job and the family moved to Canada in April 1985. This marked the beginning of Big Rock Brewery and a long and successful career as brewmaster. For most of his adult life, he was dealing with heart failure. He had valve replacement surgery in 2000 and received a pacemaker in 2001. In 2003, he retired from Big Rock and enjoyed the last ten years with Sylvia. During those years, he received great care from his cardiologist Dr. J. Peter Giannoccaro and nephrologist Dr. F. Sepandj. Bernd was known for his sense of humour and his positive attitude towards people and life. He loved Canada, his job and the friends he made over the years. Besides brewing beer, his main passion was his wife’s cooking and he always said “die Liebe geht durch den Magen”. In the end, heart failure and renal failure shortened his life.

Bernd is survived by his loving wife of fifty years, Sylvia, his daughter Sandra and son-in-law Dave of Edmonton, AB; and his stepsister Helga Möller and her husband Jan of Germany.

A celebration of Bernd’s life will be held at Big Rock Brewery on Friday June 7, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. Forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta, 200, 119 – 14th Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 1Z6 Telephone: (403) 781-1978, The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Unit 81/82 at the Foothills Hospital and Sarcee Hospice for their compassionate care and support.

In living memory of Bernd Pieper, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. David (Bean) Farran :

    Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of Bernd. Bernd was a big influence in my life. As a young man working with Bernd in the early years of Big Rock, he was a great mentor to me, teaching me to be disciplined and organized, which were not the characteristics of a 19 year old. Bernd was a pioneer in the North American craft beer movement, and established a quality and style that became the standard to meet in the industry. Bernd’s adaptability to move from the world of big international breweries to the entrepreneurial world of then startup Big Rock was a key to its success and a testament to his character and, at times, technical creativity! He was a great man and will be missed.

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  2. Ein liebenswerter Mensch musste von uns gehen,und ich möchte Sylvia und Sandra von Herzen wünschen, dass sie vieles von seiner Menschlichkeit und Warmherzigkeit bewahren können in ihrem weiteren Leben. Ich bin sehr traurig.

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  3. Liebe Sylvia,

    ich habe nie gewusst, wie krank Bernd eigentlich war, es betrübt mich
    wirklich, dass so ein guter Mensch und Braumeister, doch relativ früh von
    uns gehen musste. Ich durfte ihn, seine Frau Sylvia, sowie seine Tochter
    Sandra, als ganz tolle Menschen kennen und schätzen lernen. Die
    Gastfreundschaft die ich die bei Pipers erleben durfte, war einmalig für
    mich und wird mir immer in Erinnerung bleiben. Er lobte immer ganz besonders
    die Fa. Handtmann und seine Mitarbeiter, als sehr erfahrene Fachleute, als
    sehr gute Kollegen und Menschen.

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