February 3, 1933 – January 7, 2019
It is with great sadness that the family of Christiane Marie Hesse (nee Polard) announces her passing on January 7, 2019. Christiane was born on February 3, 1933 in Saskatchewan in a log cabin in a rural area near Leoville. She was the 6th child of 13 born to Madeleine and Nicholas, emigrants from France who had settled in the area to farm.
Chris became a Registered Nurse in 1954. In 1955 Chris sailed to France, on a ‘grand tour’, a trip that ignited a love of travel that was with her all of her life. Chris continued her nursing career in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan where she boarded with the Evans family. Emma Evans was the hospital’s Matron and was a second mother to Chris. Chris was beautiful, lively and elegant with no shortage of suitors, but she wasn’t interested in getting married. Then on a trip to Fort St. James in 1956 to visit her brother, Chris met Merv Hesse. By 1957 Chris was working in Bonnyville, Alberta and considering an opportunity to serve as a ship’s nurse on a world cruise. Always fascinated by the Orient, she was ready to commit to the ship for a year to see those exotic ports of call. Merv was trying to convince her to come back to BC, with little luck, so he went to Bonnyville and asked her to marry him. She said yes. She always wondered what that year of travel would have been like.
Chris and Merv were married June 16, 1959 in Fort St. James and began their life together. They started a business that year and worked together through a golden age in aviation. The children began to arrive but Chris continued to work alongside Merv, monitoring the company radio in her kitchen, keeping in touch as he flew around the North. Their house was always full of people; other pilots, airline passengers, northern adventurers, relatives and friends. In those early days Chris always had moose soup and a pot of coffee on the stove.
Tragically widowed at 43, Chris never remarried, she happily devoted her life to her faith and her family. She loved history, reading books, movies, travelling and following the adventures of her children.
Christiane is survived by her sisters Genevieve, Luce and Madeleine and brothers Jacques and John. She leaves behind her children, Tanalee (Gord), Jim (Shauna), Tom (Leanna), Merv (Debra), Bill (Bernice) and Lisa (Jason). Grandchildren, Robert (Cailey), Jessica (Nate), Thomas, Paul, Melissa, Evan, Britney, Hugh, Josh, Megan, Ian, Katie, Warn and Madeline, and great-grandchildren, Harper and Orrin.
A celebration of Christiane’s life will be held on March 16, 2019 at 3 pm in the Old Gymnasium at Fort St. James High School. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary will be gratefully accepted.