Ann Wittenberg and her family. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

A mother of three who died just hours before her daughter’s wedding in Tofino would have wanted the celebration to go ahead, says her twin brother.

Pat Doyle said his sister, Ann Wittenberg, was floating on a surf board with her 21-year-old daughter, Rachel Emon, Sunday morning when a wave pulled them into the ocean.

The 52-year-old fought to save her daughter, but could not save herself, Doyle said in an interview on Thursday.

The RCMP said it received a report of a woman in distress at the popular Long Beach surf location on Sunday.

Bystanders managed to get her out of the water and administer first aid, but the woman did not survive, police said in a news release.

Doyle said Wittenberg had travelled to Vancouver Island from her home in Ottawa for the wedding of her 23-year-old daughter, Victoria Emon.

READ MORE: Woman who died in ocean accident near Tofino was in town for daughter’s wedding

The small, low-key ceremony went ahead Sunday despite the tragedy, Doyle said, noting that was exactly what Wittenberg would have wanted.

“My sister would have insisted that we celebrate,” he said.

Victoria Emon shared a number of emotional posts on Facebook, calling her mom a “beautiful inspiration” and saying Wittenberg had been excited to watch her get married.

“Just because I went ahead with it does not mean it was easy in any way,” she said in a post Tuesday. ”I loved her so much.”

Wittenberg was a newlywed herself, having eloped in Cuba about six weeks ago. No one in her family knew about the wedding ahead of time and only learned of the marriage when she posted a video on Facebook, Doyle said.

He described his sister, who was older by 17 minutes, as a “late-stage athlete” who loved taunting her 26-year-old son, Joshua Emon, with her muscles.

She was also the pillar of the family and was devoted to making her kids and loved ones happy, Doyle said.

“That was her absolute joy,” he said. “That’s what she was to our family. She was always a smile.”

READ MORE: Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Now the family is gathering in the Ottawa area to mourn, though a full celebration of Wittenberg’s life will have to wait until her remains have been returned from B.C., Doyle said.

Everyone is emotional and distraught, but holding up, he said.

“Grief comes in waves. So you just have to let the wave go through you when it happens.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

SD91 trustee election results are in

Several new faces have been elected to the position of school board trustee

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read