Wolfgang Thiele (1927-2017)

Wolfgang Thiele (1927-2017)

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Wolfgang (Eberhard Wilhelm) Thiele, at the age of 89. Born 12 November, 1927, in Quedlinburg, Germany, he is predeceased by his parents (Johannes Thiele and Hedwig Krischke, Bad Suderode, Germany) and his younger brother (Bodo, Ottawa). He is survived by his ex-wife, Irmgard (nee Blunk, Berlin), two children, Christina (Mike McFaul) and Robert, and one granddaughter, Anna.

Wolfgang immigrated to Canada in 1951 on the Fairsee. As with many European male immigrants at the time, he went `up north’ (Northern Ontario) to work in the lumber (or mining) camps for a season (see, for example: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/MCR/article/view/17181/22788, item 31). After that, he settled in Ottawa, sponsoring his future wife, who arrived in 1952.

With an expertise in photography (technical and composition), Wolfgang first worked at Bill Lingard Photo Studios in Ottawa South. He then found work at Spartan Air Services and then Canadian Aero, both companies involved in aerial surveying of Canada in the 1950s and 60s. He eventually finished his working career at Campbell Printing. Throughout his life, he built things around the house — including the house. Building and making things work were intense hobbies of his.

After retirement, he returned to an early passion of his, flying sailplanes, joining the Rideau Valley Soaring School in 1983. In this second `career’, he was a very active cross-country pilot while also contributing to club operations as a flight instructor, tow-pilot, board member, and builder of club facilities. He flew extensively in Eastern Ontario and Lake Placid, and also soloed in France and Australia. He flew with master pilots in Alpine settings in France, Italy, Spain, and Argentina, where, in 2003, he experienced a 1700-km flight with the legendary Klaus Ohlmann of Everest fame. When health curtailed his solo flying, Wolfgang acquired a 2-seat Janus sailplane in 1998 and many thousands of cross-country kilometres were shared with pilot friends, up until July 2016.

Wolfgang in Klaus’ Stemme 10 side-by-side motorglider (2004).

Wolfgang passed away on 14 March, 2017, at the Elizabeth Bruyere Health Centre, palliative care, from complications of pneumonia.  Wolfgang wished to be cremated. A remembrance ceremony will take place in the spring.


This text appeared on 21 March 2017 in the Ottawa Sun; the on-line version can be found here:


The text also appeared on 20 March 2017 in the Ottawa Citizen; the on-line version can be found here:



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