October 24, 1927 – July 27, 2014
At the age of 86 years
Irmgard von Hansen passed away on July 27th 2014 in Vernon BC, at 86 years of age. A pastor’s daughter, she was born in Riga, Latvia in 1927. During WW II, she took refuge in Poland and then Germany, where she studied dance and gymnastics. Next, she worked at hospitals in Switzerland as a massage therapist before immigrating to Canada in 1955, where she married fellow Latvian Jobst von Hansen. While raising their three children, she became a founding member of The Vernon Dance Group, and taught Creative Dance Improvisation for nearly two decades.
Three words that capture Irmi’s life are: creativity, spirituality and love. While dance was her chief passion she also enjoyed playing the piano, sketching, swimming and reading. She had a deeply contemplative nature and studied the Mahikari philosophy and the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Most of all, she loved to throw open her heart and home to those in need of affection, acceptance or just a home-cooked meal. Joyous, free-spirited and always unconventional, she danced through life’s challenges with graciousness and dignity.
Irmi was predeceased by her husband Jobst, and is survived by her partner Hagen Tanner, her three children Tom von Hansen, Maja Keast and Danielle McElroy, and grandson Collin von Hansen. A private celebration of life will be held at her home, attended by family and close friends.
I participated in Irmi’s dance classes at the Vernon Dance Centre on Friday evenings for several years. I found it such a relaxing and freeing experience. Her husband, Jobst, also participated. At the end of each class, we enjoyed a relaxation experience. I found it such a wonderful release at the end of my intense work week dealing with mental health clients. I remember Irmi’s warmth, creativity and sense of connection with movement and life. I still treasure the hand-knitted sox from organic wool that she presented to each person in her dance classes – they continue to warm my feet on cold winter nights.
I was also privileged to be invited to magnificent meals at Irmi’s home in Coldstream on special occasions. I lost touch with her after Jobst’s death and the end if her dance classes at Vernon Dance Centre. However, her memory is still in my heart and body. Rest in Peace, Irmi. Love, Robyn
Dear Maja (& all family),
My heartfelt condolences to you on the sad loss of your Mom. Although many years have passed since the hey-day of the Vernon Dance Centre, I remember with affection and admiration Irmi’s integral role with its 30+ year success. Her creativity was inspiring and her energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Yes, she will leave a hollow in the hearts of those dear to her, but I smile to imagine her throwing herself with artistic abandon into dancing on the clouds.
Susan (Shockey) Fenner
Irmi loved sweets, especially Rumballs.Whenever she came to our store, she had a big smile on her face. She was a kind and warm-hearted person and even came to my birthday, brought some garden goodies and sang “Happy Birthday”. We all miss her very much. May she rest in peace.
No-one loved Nakusp and the area more than Irmi. She radiated a love for life, nature and just breathing the fresh air and drinking the Springs water. Her enthusiasm for life was contagious. She had a generous spirit and open mind which were refreshing. Irmi and Hagen were our no 1 guests and became good friends over the years. Like all who knew her we will miss her dearly. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers are with Hagen and the family.