It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Helmut (Smiley) Andersch, resident of Tomslake, British Columbia, on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 88 years of age. A service will be held privately, due to COVID restrictions, and interment will be at a later date. For friends so wishing, donations in Smiley's memory may be made to to the Alzheimer’s Society of BC, #300 - 828 West 8 Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1E2 or Dawson Creek & District Hospital Foundation, 11100 - 13 Street, Dawson Creek, BC, V1G 3W8
We are gathered here this afternoon to pay our final respects to one of the last remaining original Sudetensettlers of Tomslake. Helmut Arthur Andersch better known as "Smiley" was born Aug.10 1932 to Artur & Stephanie Andersch in Wigstadle, Czechoslovakia. At the early age of six in 1939 he was forced to flee his homeland with his parents in the middle of the night, taking with them very few possessions and as many clothes as they could wear. The family subsequently immigrated to Canada and settled in Tomslake where Smiley spent the better part of his life. He worked on the family farm in his younger years, played soccer with
his classmates at the old Tomslake School and eventually grew up into a handsome young man eager to start a life of his own. And start it he did! One particular story that comes to mind is the story of how he ended up in Whitehorse falling trees for a lumber company one summer. Well Smiley was in the beer parlor in Pouce one day when he was asked to provide some ID. He wasn't of legal drinking age then, only 18 and could not provide it so he was requested by the RCMP to comply the next day . Smiley then heard of a job offer to drive new vehicles for a car dealership up to Whitehorse for $25...and off he goes! The citation for his failure to provide proper ID is buried somewhere in the RCMP archives. Smiley continued working on various jobs in his younger years. He went to Revelstoke and saw the construction of the Rogers Pass, went to Watson Lake and worked on the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW), came home and worked for Borek Construction building Hiway #2 operating buggies and cats. When there were no other options, the local logging camps filled the need for Smiley as well as other young men of the community.
For many young men the social events within the community... particularly dances provided the venue to meet attractive young ladies. One particular young lady caught Smiley's eye and as determinedly as he hunted moose, this one wasn't going to get away. His tenacity paid off and Edith Herold soon became his wife when they were wedded on May 26 1962 at the Notre Dame Church in Dawson Creek. Their first home was the former Kreutzer farm and shortly after they purchased Alois Scholz homestead where they began their faming career. During the winter Smiley ran his Dad's logging camp and spent the rest of the year establishing a farm the family ran for many years.
As the farm expanded so did the Andersch Family for on Nov 17 1962 Smiley joined the ranks of fatherhood and welcomed their first-born Kathy, followed by Bonnie on July 22nd, 1964. Smiley was proud of his two girls and argued they worked harder on the farm than sons would have. With a competent crew looking after the farm, Smiley once again took on jobs off the farm. He was employed with BC Forest Service as a scaler and retired as a private tree faller still packing a chainsaw on snowshoes from tree to tree at the impressive age of 61 when a heart attack slowed him down to an acceptable pace. During his many years of farming, he became more involved and diversified. He sold cream, veal calves, grass seeds and finally went into beef production, ending up with a good-sized herd for all the hard work.
Throughout his many years of farming Smiley, was known for his accuracy in accounting and carefully looked after the pennies and nickels, the dollars he said "would look after themselves". He helped out neighbours where he could and often shared the success of his hunting and fishing trips with family and friends. He was proud to offer a good-sized sample of his smoked meat and fish or homemade sausages to others. Smiley possessed the ability to douse for water and helped some farmers drill water wells in the exact locations to be fruitful.
Finally---as Smiley would say, Kathy and Bonnie graduated from high school in 1980 and 1982 respectively and began careers of their own followed by wedding bells later. On July 20 1985 Smiley proudly walked Kathy down the aisle to future husband Dorian Anderson. A year later he received official title of "Opa" as his first granddaughter, Ashley Naomi was born, just three days before Smiley and Edith's 25 Wedding Anniversary.
Bonnie soon followed suit and on July 6 1991 Smiley once again walked down the aisle accompanying her to future husband Todd McCallum. Smiley was soon overjoyed when he later became Opa to three boys: Cody, Tyson and Ryan. His prayers were answered, finally three grandsons to make up for the boys he always wanted. He got to fill the roll of being a big-brother to Egon and Ernie when their father passed away early in their life. Three great grandchildren were later born to Ashley and Brad Harper, named Maddison, Presley and Nova.
In the late 60's and early 70's when snowmobiling was very popular Smiley, Edith and the girls would regularly travel the miles and miles of seismic lines west of their farm. A package of wieners, some buns and a thermos of tea went in the rucksack and off they went for a day of adventure. They had many friends join them on their expeditions over the years with countless stories being retold. Smiley also enjoyed camping and travelled as far as Alaska with side trips to Liard Hot Springs. Don't ask about any pictures between home and their destination! There aren't any! Smiley simply refused to stop driving once he hit the road and if he was forced to, he voiced his displeasure at the interruption of the journey for the rest of the trip! Oh, by the way, there are a few pictures, if you could call them such, at 60 MPH signs and cairns are just a blur.
Over the years Smiley has enjoyed playing cards of all kinds, played broomball, gone bowling and more recently floor curling. He enjoyed the trips to Reno, Las Vegas and Arizona in his retirement years. But as we all know hunting was his number one passion! You could almost guarantee on the morning of hunting season each year there would be a skinned-out carcass of a deer, moose or elk hanging from the tractor front end loader. More than one moose has met its demise when it stopped and turned around in amazement to see "what in the world has been following me through the swamps and bush for the last three miles." One of Smiley's favourite sayings was "it's just a little further in the bush…about 50 yards or so!" Smiley looked forward to hunting each fall with such excitement that not all of us can truly appreciate. May Smiley be granted eternal rest in his happy hunting ground.
Smiley is survived by Edith, his loving wife of 58 years, daughters Kathleen (Dorian) Anderson, Bonnie (Todd) McCallum; grandchildren Ashley (Brad) Harper, Cody Anderson; Tyson McCallum (Jayden); Ryan McCallum; great-grand daughters Madison, Presley, Nova Harper; sister-in-laws Diana Andersch, Isolde Boehm; brotherin-laws Egon (Nadia) Herold, Ernie (Liz) Herold and numerous nieces and nephews.
Respectfully prepared by Art Seidl