Private Family Service

Funeral service will be live-streamed. Please go to on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

Gerda Sless, always the pragmatist, thought to pen her own obituary and in that way avoid any inaccuracies.

“It’s December 2020. I am in my 96th year and I am writing this while I still have all my marbles. I do not know how much time I have left, but I do know that I cannot die young anymore.

After surviving a childhood filled with unpredictability and struggle, came those awful war years. But since the age of 20, my life has been fantastic – with the exception of losing my incredible youngest son Brian and my beautiful only daughter, Maureen. A piece of me went with each of them, but they live forever in my heart. With the love and support of my family and friends, life became bearable again. Now I will be reunited with them.

I had a wonderful husband, partner, friend, and lover. Phil was the father of our 4 fantastic children, who all grew into responsible, loving and successful adults. And they, in turn, gave me the ultimate gift … My 5 grandchildren! I have also been privileged to watch them grow into wonderful grown-ups. I am so proud of the achievements of both my children and grandchildren, but mostly that they are compassionate, caring human beings.

In these last years, I have been blessed by the miracle of finding my soul mate, Paul, the kindest, sweetest man. We have had the privilege of this late-in-life relationship, which has enriched and surprised us both with so much love, companionship and laughter!

My dear children, grandchildren and extended family and friends… I love you all deeply.

I have been given a great, long, love-filled life and I am blessed to have been showered with love and enduring loyalty from so many.

To all of you who are here or who have been part of this incredible life of mine, I say thank you! It’s not good-bye, as we will all be united one day.

It is now March 10, 2021. Every voyage comes to an end…where this one takes me. I am about to find out. Thank you for wishing me Bon Voyage.”

Now it’s our turn

There has only ever been one Gerda Sless! – A true, singular sensation and a beautiful, charming, head-turner from the earliest age right up to her ninety-sixth year. She was a woman who marched to her own drummer, figuratively and literally. During the pandemic, unable to be outdoing the much younger set in her condo’s gym classes, she instead marched (literally) to John Phillip Sousa blasting in her headphones as she did fifty laps every day in her long hallway, making sure to keep her fitness level at peak form. Her optimism and can do-ness should act as a beacon to remind us all how to live one’s best life!

From the time she got married, Gerda always had an open door (it was never locked) and an open heart for her family and her many friends. There was always enough food and room at her table for whoever showed up. And show up they did.

Her four children, a year and a half apart, were all toilet trained together with efficient militaristic precision in order to keep her busy household moving forward. No time to waste. Words Gerda lived by. She was a prolific and talented painter who, with the same regard for getting things done, often gifted her friends paintings, (even when they were still wet.)

She never minded being teased about the speed at which she did everything. No one ever walked beside her but always a few paces behind; as she walked so quickly, the sparks flew from her pantyhose. Dare we get into her inability to drive without relentlessly hitting the brakes? Her car was on occasion known as the Vomit Comet.

When the marvelous, unsinkable Gerda Sless got ill she, along with everyone who ever knew her, truly believed she would wrestle this demon to the ground. All who loved her profoundly only knew how serious things were when Gerda, also known as the Energizer Bunny, confessed that her batteries were running out of juice. That being said, when a trip in an ambulance was necessary, the paramedics arrived to find Gerda ready and waiting, lipstick on and wearing her black leather pants, a spray bottle of cleaner in hand, polishing her kitchen counter. Once again with no time to waste!

Living a truly healthy and fulfilled life, always on her own terms up until she was well into her ninety-sixth year should have been enough for the countless people who have loved and admired her. But the best thing we can say about our Gerda is we could never have enough!

Gerda died on Tuesday, March 16/2021 peacefully in her sleep. She simply ran out of breath from the beast known as lung cancer.

She will forever be missed by her children – Colin, Julie and Ryan; Alan, Barbara, Harrison and Oliver; Maureen (deceased) and Kelvin; Brian (deceased), Cindy, Trevor and Mallory. She will also be deeply missed by Monica, Gilles, Ezra and Lise; Rosemary, Pat, Bill, Andrea, and family, Sally, Kayhan, and family; Denise; Danny and Linda. Gerda will also be sadly missed by the UK contingent: Ellie and family; Annette, Bill and family; Michael, Karen and family; Tony, Barbara and family; Rosalind, Harold and family; Myra, Colin and family; Michael and family; Vivienne and Malcolm and her many, many dear friends.

Donations in honour of Gerda can be made to Sunnybrook Hospital.