November 15, 1931 – Poland
April 4, 2014 – Calgary, AB
Emma Priebe walked away to be with Jesus in the early morning hours of April 4, 2014 at the age of 82. Emma’s journey began in Zarubka, Poland where she was born to Friedrich and Ottilie Briese on November 15, 1931. Her mother passed away 3 years later, a loss she grieved throughout her life. The family was forced to move from Poland to East Germany in 1939. In 1948 the family began a harrowing journey from East Germany to West Germany, secretly passing enemy lines and illegally crossing the border in an effort to emigrate to Canada. Courageously Emma made this journey on three different occasions, the last time completely alone. In doing so, it secured the family’s opportunity to come to Canada. Only six months before boarding the ship for Canada her father was killed in an accident while gathering firewood. Upon arriving in Halifax in 1949, Emma established her first roots in the Grande Prairie area. Being the second oldest in a family of eight, she lovingly helped her stepmother Bertha (who had recently become widowed) to raise 6 younger brothers and sisters.
In 1953, she married Rudolf Priebe, the man who captured her heart and over the course of the next decade they would move 7 different times and shared their home with numerous different brothers and sisters, many at the same time. Emma fondly remembered these times and while their tiny home was a little crowded, there was never a shortage of love and laughter. In 1963 her only child Rose Marie was born. The next decade saw them move from Calgary to Dalroy, and then back to Calgary. But in 1974, Rudy’s desire to farm fulltime had the family moving to the northern community of Sexsmith, Alberta. It was during this time that Emma was able to reconnect with family that lived in the Grande Prairie area. But by the fall of 1975, the family had once again moved back to Calgary. From 1978 – 1988, Emma worked part-time in the Food Services Department for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and enjoyed having many new friends and colleagues.
Emma was delighted to watch her daughter marry Brian Hennig in 1988. But it was her grandchildren, Jessica and Austin, who were the ones that brought pure joy to her life. She cherished every moment that she was able to spend with them. When they reached their teen years, Emma was able to play grandma again to Jennifer and Rachel Keith, whom she dearly loved. In 1997, Emma’s life was almost cut short by a massive stroke. In the years that followed, she struggled with a number of health concerns: hearing loss, macular degeneration, mini strokes, and back issues. In 2010, after losing the love of her life, Rudy, she moved from her longtime home in Radisson Heights into a condo in NE Calgary, where she lived independently until her death.
Emma will be remembered for her deep faith in Jesus Christ and for her love and compassion for others. She was strongly devoted to her family and thoroughly enjoyed entertaining guests, becoming a fabulous hostess. Until recent years, she was an avid gardener and loved big displays of bright red geraniums. Emma was a shining example of a devoted wife to Rudy whom she was married to for 57 years. She was a loving mother to Rose, and a surrogate mom to many of her nieces and nephews. Her zest for life was intensified as she became Oma to Jessica and Austin. And in her final days, her joy became complete as she became Great-Oma to Judah.
In her last days before her surgery and stroke, Emma commented that she was confident in her eternal destination and was committed to God’s timing for her “heavenly homecoming”; in fact she eagerly looked forward to it! You are a remarkable woman, Emma Priebe, strong and courageous, and you will be deeply missed. Enjoy being held in the arms of Jesus!Print This Obituary & Condolences