CHANG, DAGMAR 1930 to 2012 Dagmar was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, who constantly sacrificed her own desires for her family and others. She had a sweet and gentle innocence, that touched even people she met casually, but also a strong will when it came to fighting for what is right.

Born in Duisburg, Germany, Dagmar survived a number of dangerous episodes as a child, including the trauma of World War II. She later related these accounts with such a sweet ingenuousness-without malice or fear, but just the simple appreciation for a life that is not ultimately in our control. During the war, she contracted diphtheria. While at the hospital, an air raid siren alarmed, but she did not want to leave her bed. A nurse convinced her to go to the shelter, and right after she arrived there, the hospital was bombed. She left the hospital still sick, walking for days to her home in the cold winter in her nightclothes, from shelter to shelter.

Visiting New York, she married her Thursday-night date, Peter, and subsequently bore a son and daughter. She was devoted to her children's education, teaching them to read before starting school and then volunteering at their school as a room mother. She also taught them about the great classical composers, relayed her love of music, and supported them in many activities, including Saturday German School. A quintessential mother to everyone, she delighted neighborhood children with her piano parties and Christmas gingerbread houses, always donated to their activities, and watched for their safety and well-being. Children and adults loved her cooking and baking.

Dagmar's favorite role was as a grandmother. She always knew exactly what would make her grandchildren happy. Taking her granddaughters to their activities, rewarding them with special treats, and teaching them how to garden were just a few of the many things she enjoyed doing with them. She loved to bring the girls around her Washington home and show them the way of nature. When they were older, she furthered their appreciation of German culture by taking them on several trips to her homeland. She always was so loving and caring.

She also deeply touched many friends and relatives, who are grateful for her support and loving kindness. One of her friends said, ""Dagmar was and is a Saint….I am so grateful for having Dagmar in my life."" A relative noted, "I remember quite a few things, but what I remember most is that she had a kind and good heart. I will always have fond memories."

Her strength of character helped her beat the odds with heart failure for years. Her final hospitalization for heart failure was arduous, but she endured until the end with much patience, often smiling sweetly in the midst of things.

May her memory be eternal!

O Thou Who by the depth of Thy wisdom, out of love for mankind, dost provide all things, and grantest unto all that which is profitable, O only Creator: Grant rest, O Lord to the soul of Thy servant Dagmar Maria, for in Thee has she placed her hope, O our Creator and Fashioner and God.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Dec. 23, 2012