Kolep, Maria

February 14, 1920 – July 22, 2018
at the age of 98 years

Maria started life in Forstheim, Germany, and then on to Frankfurt, Toronto, Chilliwack, and finally, Salmon Arm.

Feistiness, determination, persistence, a passion to learn, lifelong curiosity, sociability, and kindness to the less fortunate were always a part of her character.  She was an environmentalist long before the word became mainstream, and had no use for materialism and waste. 

She embraced many types of work, from packing chocolates, to managing a grocery store, to worm picking to name a few.

Maria outlived her parents, siblings, spouse (Joe), son in-law (Brian) and many friends.  She is survived by her only child, daughter Renate Dundee, two grandchildren, Kevin (Saori) and Kara (Vincent), and two great-grandchildren, affectionately known as A & W.

Maria gave much more to this life than she ever took, and in her simple way, left us quietly in her sleep.


  1. I met Marie and Joe in 1974 at my Aunt Sophia’s place in St Catharines, ON when they were visiting there. Marie, Renate and my Aunt came on the same boat from Germany to Canada and kept in touch. Marie embraced me right away and invited me to visit them in Toronto (I live there too). They invited me for dinners and they had a beautiful garden with berries and vegetables. So they always gave me goodies from the garden to take home. The same summer my Mother and an Aunt came for a visit from Germany to Canada. When I told Marie about it she offered immediately that they could stay at their house, until they were able to go to my Aunt in St. Catharines and Aunt Lisa in Kapuskasing (I had only a bed sitting room at the time).Visiting Marie and Joe was always fun and enjoyable and I really missed them when they moved to Chilliwack to be close to Renate and the grandchildren.
    In Aug 1984 my Mother, Horst and I took a trip Calgary, Banff, Jasper and Vancouver + Island. Before flying back to Toronto we drove to Chilliwack to visit Marie and Joe. They showed us the surroundings and we really enjoyed each other’s company.
    That was unfortunately the last time I saw them. Marie was always so generous to all of us. We stayed in contact by phone and always enjoying to talk to each other.
    She will always have a special place in my heart.
    Love Sigrid

  2. Dear Renate
    Although I knew your Mom for a very short time, the instant I met her I knew I liked her. Your Mom’s warm smile and friendliness gave me great pleasure to be in her company. She overcame many struggles in her lifetime to become a women of strong character and determination. Most importantly she wanted to be the best mother possible to you, Renate. After all, you were the centre of her world. Cherish all the wonderful memories you had together they will be a great comfort to you. Love Mirella

  3. Marie was a bright light in Chilliwack. She walked everywhere, FAST. We all missed her when she moved to Salmon Arm. I will miss her telling me and my husband to make sure we took good care of each other and to not forget her. She came to our home for dinner and it surprised me that after a full turkey dinner she turned down dessert but asked for peanut butter and crackers. She always knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to say so. My heart is warm with fond memories.

  4. Dear Renate, you know there are times when we think about how our lives will be thought of and then realize that friends and loved ones will remember us with kindness and happiness. Saying that as your friend it is hard to lose your Mom who has nourished you, brought you into the lives of friends because she moved you to Canada, remembered you at birthdays, maybe argued with you, had coffee with you, shopped with you, taught you, but most of all loved you! She lived a fantastic life and was lucky to have a daughter who took care of her in her last years. May your memories be everlasting, may they be happy with warm thoughts of a Mother who will always be in your heart. Marian

  5. Lots of good memories. A kind, funny woman.
    Best Oma there was. I’ll miss her much.

  6. Hi Renate,
    I know you will miss your mom and be doing some memory work of your own.
    Death seems so final and at times we wish we could revisit some of our times together………..

    I remember going with you to her home in Chilliwack. She was in the hospital at the time and not very happy about it. They had lost her teeth, I don’t think the teeth were ever found, but I offered to share mine with her. Well she laughed so hard about that and from that moment she had a great smile when she saw me coming.
    I was amazed that she always seemed to remember me as I only visited her with you a couple of times in Salmon Arm, but she always remembered me and offered me great big hugs, as well as something from her treasured drawer containing candy or cookies.
    May your memories bring a smile to your face and understanding and gratitude to your heart,
    we are so lucky to have had mothers and learned so many things from them.
    I also remember your way of telling some of the things your mom did or said. Your chuckle when relating showed how much you loved her. She also was lucky to have you for a daughter and a staunch advocate for her
    in her last years.

    Love, Phyllis

  7. A life well-lived, is all we can hope for and that is enough.
    Rest in peace, Maria. Regards to Renate and family.

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