Rosemary (Uppenborn) Rainer

Rosemary was born in Oranienburg Germany, on June 21, 1915; she died peacefully at the Kamloops Seniors Village in Kamloops, on March 12, 2007.

 Rosemary lovingly known as “Grandma” came to Canada in 1928 from Germany with her father to pioneer in the Barriere area. In 1931, she married Austrian immigrant Hans Rainer and they had three children together Rosemary (Gerry) McDonald, Margaret (Bill) Pitt, and Hans (Ann) Rainer.

In 1938 during the depression years Rosemary and her family decided to move back to Mallnitz, Austria (birthplace of her husband) to seek work.  In 1939, World War II broke out and they were unable to get back to their adopted homeland. 

Her husband Hans was given the alternative to work or have the whole family interned.  He chose to work and for the next seven war torn years, Rosemary and her husband risked their lives helping the prisoners of war (POWs). 

Rosemary helped to make life tolerable for the POWs by smuggling food and information into them. Unfortunately, one of these risks landed Rosemary in prison for six months.  When she was finally released, on Christmas Eve of 1942, she made her way back to her family’s home in Mallnitz Austria and continued her “illegal” activities until the end of the war in 1945.  Many POWs never forgot her and described her as “A tremendous person who made camp life a little more bearable.”

At the end of World War II Rosemary found, she was stateless and had to lobby for another three years in Europe to get her Canadian Citizenship back.

Finally, she was able to get a DP (displaced persons) card and in 1948, she was permitted back into Canada.  She was so relieved to be back she almost fell to her knees.

Rosemary remained an arduous loyal Canadian for the remainder of her life. 

 In 1975, thirty years later, former New Zealand troops touched by Rosemary’s wartime efforts, threw a party in her honor in Napier New Zealand.  It was all part of a homage to her from the grateful POWs of World War II.

 In the early 1950s, Rosemary and her husband purchased the Highway Grocery in Barriere, B.C., which they operated together for fifteen years. 

Her daughter, Margaret (Bill) Pitt, ten Grandchildren and numerous Great Grandchildren will dearly Miss Rosemary.   Predeceased by her husband Hans Rainer, her son Hans Rainer, on September 9, 2003 and her daughter Rosemary McDonald on March 10, 2004.

Family and friends will always remember her as very active, hardworking, strong woman who loved to garden, hike, rock hound, knit, travel, and fish and who was a superb cook. 

She took great pleasure and pride in her family and her words of wisdom included “Just be patient and keep with the times”, and “don’t be an old stick in the mud”.

Rosemary….you will always be in our hearts.

 No service by request.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice, in memory of Rosemary Rainer.


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