Zur Erinnerung an meine Mutti./ In loving remembrance of my mother.
Regina Thiel was a survivor. She was just 7 when all the people of her birth town, now known as Kaliningrad, had a few hours to pack one suitcase and make their way southwest to safety, to what is now northern Germany. WWII broke a lot of people and the dreams they may have had. Her parents had WWI just behind them.
Regina started working at the age of 14, in the historic town of Celle, in the fabric department at Karstadt. She learned a great deal about fabrics, which probably influenced her lifelong sewing and knitting hobbies. Celle was also where Regina got married and gave birth to me. We also resided in Bad Kreuznach, Waldböckelheim, and Idar Oberstein. After moving to Birmingham, Michigan in the US at age 28, she learned English while studying to become a hair stylist, then she landed a job at the very elegant Bardha Salon, where she stayed for 40 years. She worked hard and made enough money to raise a daughter mostly on her own, travel, buy a condo, and then build a house with a swimming pool when she moved to Wilmington, North Carolina to be close to me after retiring at age 70. A self-made woman, Regina was a champion at having manifested the American Dream!
Regina loved animals, particularly her cats, and the birds that she healed. She delighted in growing things in her garden and decorating her house to the utmost. My mother was a fashionista, a gourmet cook, and a free spirit; and travels took us on many adventures around the world. She introduced me to swimming with dolphins and photography, she instilled in me a deep compassion for animals. She brought me to the US at age 7. The rest is history, better said herstory. Her life wasn’t always easy, but it was a good long life. She chose the high holy day of Christmas Eve to leave her body at age 86. Her mother came to take her along to reunite with the ancestors at 3:45 a.m. on 12/24/2023. She was peaceful and serene.
Regina is survived by her daughter, Maike Walbrecht and partner Charlie Daniels of Wilmington, sister-in-law Marlene Thiel and her children, cousins on both maternal and paternal sides of the family in Germany, and many friends on both sides of the Atlantic.