Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet
NameStephan STEINITZ
Birth15 Mar 1909, Beuthen, Oberschlesien, Germany
Death9 Jan 2000, Antigonish, Canada
*New [OCCU]Electrical Engineer
FatherOtto STEINITZ (1872-1943)
MotherElse STEINITZ (1874-1944)
Notes for Stephan STEINITZ
The last six months for Stephan - 16/01/2000

Last April, Stephan had vascular bypass surgery in Poughkeepsie to improve the circulation in his left leg. Both his legs were badly scarred from beatings received in prison in Berlin in the late 1930's and this impaired the circulation in addition to the normal decline of old age. His heart, lungs, and, of course, his great brain, were in great shape until then. He drove his car and taught bookbinding classes in Millbrook until shortly before the surgery. The surgery was initially successful, although it left him very weak, with congestive heart failure and shortness of breath. Although the hospital care was pretty awful, our daughter, Susi, came from Vancouver to help him and he regained some strength, although he was still in the hospital when we came to Millbrook in the last week of May.
Heidi and I took Stephan home to Millbrook for a few days and, as the Canadian immigration authorities had approved his application to become an immigrant in April, we prepared to "abduct" him, as he jokingly said, to Antigonish. We packed some small things with our son, Daniel, and his wife, Tracy, who are doctors in Montreal and came down for the weekend, and the moving company did the rest. We had a tiring, but uneventful drive over two days to Antigonish, stopping in Bangor, Maine for the night. At the border, in St. Stephen's, New Brunswick, Stephan received a great welcome from the officials (it was his 25th trip to Canada) as an immigrant and in the evening we were home.
Over the month of June and part of July we renovated Daniel's room into a suite for Stephan. He had a living room with a small kitchen area (sink and refrigerator and toaster-oven), a bedroom, and a
wheelchair accessible bathroom with a large shower and all conveniences. We installed a "chair-lift", a chair that rides up the stairs on an inclined cog-track, so that he could easily get upstairs on his own. Our friend, Pat Lopdell, from New Zealand, helped Stephan to put all his books in order on his own bookshelves that had been moved from Millbrook and installed on the walls of his rooms. She also made daily walks with him to strengthen his legs, but as the summer wore on, the vein bypass slowly clogged and failed, leaving him with bad circulation again and an unbearably painful sore spot on his heel that would not heal. In late September it became clear that amputation of the left leg was the only
option left for him, as the morphine for the pain was making him very drowsy and did not really help that much.
The amputation (at the Halifax Infirmary Hospital in Halifax) below the knee, failed, due to inadequate circulation for healing, and within four days another amputation, above the knee, was done. Heidi spent most of this time in Halifax at various motels, looking after Stephan in the hospital during the day. After about two weeks Stephan was strong enough to be transferred to St. Martha's Hospital in
Antigonish, but he was still very weak. Again, he had congestive heart failure and general weakness and it took two more months in the hospital before he was ready to come home on December 23rd. All this care was free under the Canadian Medicare system. The doctors were great and the care of the nurses was nothing short of moving. They were just wonderful.
On December 25th Stephan enjoyed a great Christmas goose prepared by Heidi along with lots of other things prepared by our friends Brian Segal and Julie Redgrave. Our cousins, Ed and Karen Baum and their two sons, from near Albany, New York, were with us for this whole time and helped a lot. On December 27th, Daniel and Tracy came home, after spending Christmas with her parents in Prince Edward Island. On the 28th they cooked an 8-course Indian feast, with 14 different spicy dishes (including shrimp especially for Stephan), and Stephan had a wonderful time. On the 30th Daniel and Tracy and the Baums drove home and on the 31st we had a great New Year's eve party, with a standing rib-roast prepared by Brian (and shrimp), and Stephan enjoyed it all immensely. He went to bed around 10pm, feeling tired, but read a bit and at midnight called us and we came upstairs so that he could enjoy the champagne with us.
It was quite wonderful how he enjoyed his own surroundings and how happy he was as he achieved more independence, transferring himself from bed to wheelchair to toilet at night without any assistance. He started playing music CD's again and was tinkering with his large clock, taking it entirely apart, oiling it and reassembling it. Life became normal and enjoyable for him again, but for a terribly short time.
On Monday January 3rd Stephan started coughing and having breathing difficulties from a cold or flu. He spent the night at St. Martha's for observation but felt well enough to come home the next morning. After two hours, however, the breathing difficulties started again and he went back to the hospital. By Tuesday evening it was clear that he had pneumonia. His spirits were good, but the antibiotics did not help, and he got weaker and weaker. He still made jokes with the doctor on Friday,
but by Saturday evening had lost consciousness. We were with him on Sunday morning around 9:30 when his breathing just peacefully stopped. You can all imagine how much we miss him, and how much we would have wished for him to have a bit more time to enjoy his "Storchennest", as he called his little apartment, but there was a sore spot on his right foot by now. It was not healing and was becoming very painful. The prospect of losing his second leg was very distressing for him.
We are all very very grateful to have had him and have wonderful memories of his great sense of humor and his humanity and love for animals and nature.

[Michael O. and Heidi Steinitz]
Last Modified NewCreated 21 Mar 2024 by Jim Falk