Mirka Jane Back (nee Geberdt)


Cremation has taken place; there will be no service.

Obituary of Mirka Jane Back (nee Geberdt)

(May 2, 1945 - April 28, 2024) Of Port Stanley, passed peacefully with family at her side.

Born Miroslava Drahomira Hanychova to Zdenka Libŭse Hanychova on the day WWII ended in Kralovo Pole, Czechoslovakia, her name means Peace and Celebration. With one cardboard suitcase and not a single word of English, Mirka flew to Canada at 11 years of age to live with her mother, who had immigrated 8 years prior, and Theodor Geberdt, who would be her Step-Father. Mirka learned the language with such ease that she would later graduate as Valedictorian of her high school class.

It so happened that a young man named John lived a couple doors down on Sykes Ave in Weston, and Mirka invited John to a Sadie Hawkins dance at school. The rest is history for the high school sweethearts: Mirka and John married on August 20, 1966, and together raised their beautiful family: John (Margaret) with Jane, Allison (Jeff) with Henry and Alec, Elaine (and her partner Arie) with Peter and Evan, and Sharon (Steve) with Derek and Dylan.

A natural night owl, an unchallenged Queen of all-nighters – be it to carve a 50 lb pumpkin into a porcupine Jack-o-Lantern for the school contest, or to pack the Starcraft pop-up and matching 1976 Clubwagon for another family camping trip (guinea pigs and Monarch chrysalises included), or even to alter skating dresses not test-fitted until the 11th hour – Mirka was naturally positive and never complained, always refusing to be a burden to others. Some secrets we are safe to share now include that most of her novels were water-damaged from being dropped in the tub as she dozed there while reading (potato chips alongside), pistachio ice cream was never safe near her, and her turkeys always turned out (even when she declared they’d be awful).

Arriving for a visit to the Back family home meant being instantly greeted with, “Are you hungry? Would you like a drink? How about a DRINK drink? What can I get for you?”.  An avid card player, Mirka actively maintained the ratio of snack bowls to card players at no less than 4:1, and she happily enforced her steadfast rule that “Grandma decides how many cookies you may have.” She doted lovingly on each of her 7 Grandchildren and instilled in them her most poignant of truths: “Friends may come and go, but your Family will always be there for you. Nothing in this world is as important as Family.” Mirka kept every cup full.

A celebrated volunteer of over 15 years at the Port Stanley Skating Club, Mirka sewed hundreds of skating dresses and carnival outfits, in addition to endless gymnastics leotards and Halloween costumes. Together with John, she ensured that each of their children could make the most of every opportunity, encouraging them in all aspects of life with her contagious “You’re worth it!” persuasion. Mirka was an original member of the Port Stanley Icebreakers Adult Precision Skating Team, and she also managed the office at A&P / Metro in Elgin Mall for over 22 years.

Mirka’s tenacious, inspiring, and patient personality created her legacy of prideful integrity, quiet grace, and authentic gratitude. She routinely sang one of her favourite songs to comfort those she loved, and now it’s our turn to say, “Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine, and we want you to sleep well tonight. Let the world turn without you tonight.”

Cremation has taken place; there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation, where Dr. Nicoletti, Dr. Curtis, and critical care nurses Hana Forizovic and Blythe Scott so compassionately and professionally supported our family during this profound journey.

Arrangements entrusted to the Sifton Funeral Home, 118 Wellington Street, St. Thomas (519-631-1160).                                       

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