Richard August Gratopp
Born in Eutin, Germany, on November 12, 1924, Richard passed away peacefully in his 92nd year on January 5, 2017. He will be missed by his wife of 64 years, Edeltraut Elizabeth, his sons Felix and Andreas, daughters-in-law Norinne and Rachelle, grand children Jeff, Eric, Megan, and Thomas, great-grandchildren James, Devon, William, and Leigh, his sister Maria, and many relatives and friends. Trained as a surveyor and cartographer he was conscripted into the German Army at age 17. He was wounded and left for dead in the wheat fields on the Russian front. After a lengthy convalescence he was sent to the western front in France, where, during the Battle of the Bulge, he became an American P.O.W.. During his time as a P.O.W. he worked in the kitchens, learned English, and about bountiful life across the Atlantic. After his release he travelled back to Hamburg and began his career as a commercial artist in a studio where he met his future wife Elizabeth. Together they decided to emigrate to Canada in 1952. Settling in Toronto, Richard’s first job was hand lettering for Claude Neon, but it was the lifelong friendships and mentors from his years in the art department at Maclean Hunter that cemented his love of Canada and what it meant to be Canadian. In the late 60’s Richard and his colleagues opened their own studio which continued successfully until retirement. Retiring in 1988, they kept a home base in Richmond Hill but spent most of their time with family at the cottage on Redstone Lake. They wintered with Andreas’ family in Seal Beach or on Anna Maria Island in Florida. Richard loved driving, and he and Elizabeth travelled extensively through Canada, the U.S., and Europe. He preferred the outdoors and, when not busy moving tons of rocks landscaping their idyllic cottage paradise, could be easily found on the dock, porch, or beach doing his crossword. He was an avid fisherman, knew all the best spots, often treating his family and friends to fresh fish dinners. Above all else, he valued time spent with family and friends. His love, wisdom, guidance, ready smile, and the ever-present twinkle in his eyes, will be fondly remembered by all whose lives he touched. A celebration of life will be held on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 beginning with a visitation at 3PM followed by a service at 4PM at the Dixon-Garland Funeral Home, 166 Main Street North, Markham, Ontario, L3P 1Y3.