1953 - 2021

We are saddened to announce that our dear friend, Bernia Catherine Brandstaedter, passed away peacefully on February 27, 2021, under a brilliant snow moon. She will be deeply missed by her chosen family and her animal companions, Abi and Elly.
Bernia was born in Vancouver, the only child of the late Heinz Brandstaedter and Marie-Luise (nee Renftel). Her parents instilled in her a lifelong love of nature. The family moved back to Germany when Bernia was in elementary school, but she was determined to return to Canada as an adult.
After training to become a veterinarian in Berlin, and an internship in Australia, Bernia returned to Vancouver in the early 1980s to complete her certification. In 1985 she joined Agriculture Canada in Winnipeg as a Veterinary Inspector. Most of her career was spent as Veterinarian in charge of poultry processing in southeastern Manitoba, where she supervised three facilities. She retired on Canada Day 1999.
Bernia lived a full, adventurous life. She was an avid outdoorswoman, knew her way around a map and compass, and could throw up a storm shelter in minutes. She established lasting friendships on paddling and backpacking trips with the Outdoor Women's Network in the 1990s. She realized a lifelong love of music by learning to play the clarinet at age 40, became a Life Master bridge player, a keen golfer, an avid birdwatcher, and an extensive traveller. She even mastered a headstand in yoga and celebrated turning 50 by cycling solo across Canada.
After retirement, Bernia joined the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Reserve, and remained a devoted member of the Regimental Band even after her retirement from the military in 2014. Additionally, Bernia was a regular member of a local jazz ensemble based out of the Winnipeg South Osborne Branch #252, Royal Canadian Legion.
Her volunteer work included a stint at Riverview Health Centre, a short walk from her home, where she was accompanied by therapy dog Tashi.
Bernia's unfiltered frankness was legendary, but so too was her willingness to help, her kindness and her generous spirit. She was an exceptional and loyal friend to many.
Diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer in 2018, Bernia endured treatment with her usual stoicism, recovered briefly, and resumed her many activities. Sadly, the cancer returned in 2020, followed recently by a massive stroke. She spent her final days in Palliative Care in Riverview with her friends at her bedside. Many thanks to the medical staff who took such good care of her.
Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life will take place when pandemic restrictions are lifted. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be notified.
Memorial donations may be made to Riverview Health Centre. Condolences can be posted on the Book of Memories at


As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 06, 2021

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