Gerdina Hedda Agatha Cassell


A longtime resident of the Morrisburg community, Gerdina “Hedda” Agatha Cassell passed away peacefully at the St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville, on Thursday, May 30, 2013. She was in her 87th year.

Gerdina “Hedda” Agatha Cassell (nee Pothaar) was born July 30, 1926, in Deventer, The Netherlands to Egbert Pothaar and Augustina van Putten. She had three older brothers Egbert, Anthony and Gerard (Gerry). 

Growing up during the war years, dark curtains were put on the windows and pulled tightly at night; food was a precious item but Hedda often said they did not do without.  

One night at a dance she met, and fell in love with, a man by the name of Walter, a Canadian soldier, who was full of life and loved to dance.  They were married on May 23, 1946, in Deventer, Holland.  

Walt returned to Canada a few months later on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Hedda was then transported to Rotterdam, to wait for the boat’s departure.  The Aquitania landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, in October of 1946. 

This was not a luxurious trip by any means as the women were crowded in their quarters.  Upon arrival in Canada, Hedda travelled by train to Morrisburg where Walt was there to meet her. They returned to live with his parents and his seven brothers and sisters, who were lined up on the back stairs when she came in.  

Within three months Walt and Hedda moved to their own place, an apartment on Locke Street in old Morrisburg.  There she met two lifetime friends Joyce Henophy and Myra Eamon.  

During the Seaway years at the house in Mariatown, Walt and Hedda took in boarders from a company originating from Niagara Falls, and they all became family.  After the Seaway years, Walt and Hedda moved to the house they had built in Morrisburg, where they lived until Walt’s death in 2007.

Hedda worked at the knitting mill in Morrisburg then at Upper Canada Village, beginning shortly after it opened as a seamstress designing and making the costumes of the era. Her friend Phyllis Dawley eventually worked with her at this job. 

Hedda and Phyllis attended church regularly, sitting in the same pew, working for church events and becoming like sisters.  They enjoyed their evening walks along the St. Lawrence River, going to Cornwall every Saturday morning to shop and look for bargains. They died twenty-seven days apart from one another.

When Walt had cancer, it was son Danny and his wife Louise who took on the job of checking on Walt and Hedda’s daily needs. 

Louise, along with working, prepared their meals and did extra cleaning duties.  Danny kept the exterior of their home tidy and went nightly to help put his mom to bed so his parents could stay together.  

Daughter Yvonne and son-in-law Dale had it easier during this time with twice weekly trips to Morrisburg to take Walt to Ottawa for treatment or to stay with Hedda who could not be left alone due to her dementia.  

Walt kept Hedda at home with him until two days before he went to the hospital himself.  He would not let her go.

Hedda was the loving mother of Yvonne (Dale) Hess of Brockville and the late Daniel Cassell (Louise) of Morrisburg.  

She was the cherished grandmother of Jennifer Hess (Randy Croke) of Whitby, Stephanie (Phillip) Crowell of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Marc Hess of Ottawa and Cory (Jenna) Cassell of Morrisburg. 

She was the beloved great-grandmother of Sarah and Adam Croke, Nathan and Ryan Crowell and Jace Cassell and loving sister-in-law of Mitchell (Deanna) of Morrisburg, John of Brockville, Harry (Marjorie) of Winchester, Betty (late Carl) Daw of Ajax, Shirley Scott of Whitby, Anna Pothaar-van der Werf of the Netherlands and Shirley Cassell of Morrisburg.  

She will be sadly missed by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.  

Hedda was predeceased by her son Daniel (2009), by her brothers Gerard Pothaar, Egbert (Rita) Pothaar, Antonie (Anke) Pothaar, sisters and by her brothers-in-law Junior (Joyce) Cassell, Charles Cassell, Dawn Cassell and Harold Scott.  

A Memorial Service was held at the St. James Anglican Church, Morrisburg on Friday, August 2, 2013 at 3 p.m.  Inurnment followed at the St. James Anglican Cemetery in Morrisburg.

Memorial donations may be made to either the Mary Jane Hawkins Fund of St. Lawrence Lodge or St. James Anglican Church Memorial Fund.  

Parker Funeral Home (613 543-2271) was entrusted with arrangements.  Condolences may be made at

Her family was everything and she never missed an opportunity to tell the younger generation how fortunate they were to be born in Canada.  

Her pallbearers were her four grandchildren Jennifer Hess, Stephanie Crowell, Marc Hess and Cory Cassell.  

Now Walt and Hedda can rest together, at peace, with the Lord as they have been reunited at the St. James Anglican Cemetery in the Morrisburg they so loved.


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