Obituary for Gertraud Martschin (Pluhar)
Gertraud Pauline Martschin of Dawson Creek, BC left this world peacefully at home on
December 5, 2017. She was born in Klein-Pochlarn, Austria on March 4, 1946 to Anton and Auguste Pluhar, older sister to Auguste (David) Sheppard who currently resides in England.
Both girls grew up with music in their genetic makeup, which they came by honestly from both father (music teacher and band conductor) and mother (zither player).
Through her first marriage (which resulted in her daughters Bettina and Michaela), she found in her father-in-law Josef Sollbock a kindred spirit, accordion player and organist, learning to entertain, which held her in good stead earning extra money when teaching alone did not pay the bills. Gertraud taught elementary school and later Special Needs children for which she helped co-author a book on new teaching methods through music. She was ahead of her time.
In 1975, through music she met her husband Robert Martschin playing at the local bakery. Soon thereafter they decided to move to Montreal, where her accordion playing came in handy. Through hard work and determination and not a lot of money, they were able to move to Cassiar, BC a year later where she started her first community band. She brought things like the Chinese Circus to the north in a snowstorm from Watson Lake, Yukon as the Theatre Manager in Cassiar. She of course played the organ and directed the choir at the Catholic Church.
In 1981 they moved to Oliver, BC where Robert started his business and she became bookkeeper for the business, and also organist and choir mediator, bringing together the "English and "Portuguese" Choir factions (no small feat). This is where her son Peter Oliver Martschin was born on May 19, 1981. Peter left this life suddenly on December 10th, 2001, due to a car accident. He was an excellent trumpet player and percussionist thanks to his mom. Life was never the same for Gertraud and she never really came to terms. However in true Old World fashion, she pushed onward creating once in a lifetime experiences for those who knew and played with her.
In 1985 they moved to Dawson Creek, BC. Here Gertraud's energy will be felt for generations to come. She created a music program and taught at Notre Dame School putting on a musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" which many will remember. At Notre Dame Church she created some very memorable concerts, often with help from Kiwanis band members. She cajoled Father Claude into getting a state of the art organ. After taking over the Kiwanis Band from Lann Lieurance, many adventures where had by all on numerous trips overseas, many fundraisers for said trips, many hours cooking in the Alaska (Heidi and Charles) kitchen and at the College thanks to Michael French. Gertraud had the ability to pull people together from all corners of the world to play music together. Through these trips Dawson Creek was put on the map from Thailand to England, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Calgary Stampede, Dawson City, Revelstoke, and Grande Prairie.
Gertraud or "Gerti" to some was passionate about her music but also her cooking, be it International Night at the Elks Club or teaching cooking courses at Gwillim Lake. Her daughter Michaela definitely inherited this passion for the culinary arts, music and gardening. Her grandchildren Alexandra, Christian and Natasha have all inherited different aspects of her gifts, some of which are blatantly apparent and some which will bear fruition in the future.
A Celebration of Life concert will be held on December 16, 2017 at 11am at the South Peace United Church. Refreshments to follow.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Gertraud may be made by donation to the “Peter Martschin Music Camp Scholarship" care of Lakeview Credit Union, 800 102 Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC, V1G 2B2. It was created to send gifted young musicians to a summer music program at UBC.