We Remember

NIEREISEL, Walter Waldemar

July 21, 1931 — November 30, 2021

In the early morning hush, Walter Niereisel, our fierce, tough but lovable, father passed away peacefully with his beloved daughter by his side in a serene and private room at the Cottonwood Seniors facility in Kelowna, BC.

Walter was born in a German enclave of Lodz, Poland, where the Niereisel family endured the tragedies of World War 2. He was a Hitlerjugend and stood a post on the Russian front in the spring of 1945.
During the turbulent post-war years, he was briefly held by the Russians at Oberes Schloss (castle), in the Harz Mountain, Germany, for a period before managing an escape to rejoin his family. His escape happened on January 6, the Ukrainian New Year. The guards had been drinking vodka to celebrate, and while they were somewhat inebriated, he picked the prison lock with a tiny knife that he had concealed in his shoe. The first guard he encountered he asked for cigarette paper, the second guard he asked for tobacco, and from the third guard he asked for a light, and so Walter bravely smoked his way out of the prison. To the end he always carried a small knife, and it remains with me as a treasure.

Through the late 1940s, the Niereisel’s moved several times before settling in Oldenburg in Northwest Germany, where he met Inge, his beloved partner. In Oldenburg, Walter apprenticed as a carpenter and wood carver. He also trained as a master baker.

Walter immigrated to southern Ontario in 1952, where he worked on a farm for his first year in Canada. Inge joined him a year later, and they married in a festive ceremony attended by their host family and the residents of the local village of Ayton.

Walter and Inge moved to Calgary, Alberta, in 1954 where his two children were born. He quickly found work in Alberta’s construction industry and joined Springer Construction Ltd in 1957. He gave his heart and soul to the firm for more than 25 years. He retired from the company in 1982 as a senior vice-president. Walter was known by company staff and sub-trades as “fire-ball” because of his forcefulness and direct manner. These traits both served him well yet at times held him back. Walter was “larger than life” and commanded a room with his gruffness, sturdy manner, and steely eyes. He had a firm handshake and respected the person who had one back for him. For those who knew him, he was intelligent, generous, polite, and more than willing to lend a helping hand.
He was a mentor to many and respected by all.

Shortly after Walter retired, he and Inge built a charming home and moved to a small acreage in Langley, BC. He returned to one of his loves and quickly took over the household cooking and baking. Because of Walter’s arthritis, in 1988 they relocated to Kelowna.

Walter loved soccer passionately, and during his years in Calgary coached and managed teams sponsored by Springer Construction. One of his stated goals was to win a national championship. He had an eye for talent and recruited and supported many young players. In 1973, his team represented Western Canada in the national event. The following year, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Calgary Springer Kickers qualified again, and this time they won the 1974 Canadian Men’s Soccer Championship. In 1982, Walter was recognized for his and his team’s 1974 accomplishments. Walter received the  A.J. Buckler Trophy for an outstanding contribution to the sport of soccer within Calgary and area by the Calgary United Soccer Association. Peter Lougheed, Premier of Alberta, presented the award. At the ceremony, Watler brimmed with pride.

Walter spent his last few years at the Orchard Gardens Senior facility in Kelowna, where he caught the eye of several female residents. He enjoyed doing puzzles, growing tomatoes, discussing history, and sharing a drink or more of Polish Vodka and “Fireball” Whiskey with his new friends. He looked forward to interesting afternoon discussions with Brett, the facility manager, where they exchanged historical stories.

Walter, known for his feistiness but loveable tone, will be sorely missed by me, his family, and friends. He would say to most “be good, all the best and have a good one.”
Our last words to each other were – “I love you daddy,” he’d reply, “me too Susie, me too”!

Walter is survived by his daughter Susan Monica “Susie” and her husband Oscar Faoro; grandson Julian; granddaughter Kaelyn; daughter-in-law Barbel; and four great-grandchildren. He was heartbrokenly predeceased by his beautiful wife Inga Mary (née Quadfasel); caring on Orville; grandson Trevor; his brother Bruno; and sister Christa (Kunnemeyer).

Walter will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony with Inge at the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery Promontory.

Susan and Oscar will schedule a Celebration of Life for him in 2022. Until then, toast Walter, to the amazing man he was, with a shot of Vodka or Fireball.


If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Share with Others:

Share on Facebook
Share Via Email