Wednesday, September 26, 2018

We lost Marianne

As I mentioned in the Switzerland post, Marianne Keller-Kolliker was an important part of the Florida Leutholds for the past 39 years.

My parents found Marianne and her husband Heini in 1979.  They became fast friends, traveling back and forth from Florida to Switzerland many times to visit.

I visited with her in 1981 with my friend Mike, 1987 with Sarah, 2007 with Sam and Sarah, 2016 with Kylie and with Sarah this year.

This visit was perfect, right up until the last night.

We spent the first three nights with Marianne in the wonderful lakefront house, Loogarten.  Then Sarah and I drove to Thun to spend two nights with Ruedi and Regula (Marianne's niece).  There we spent one day seeing Thun and Bern, the next on their boat in Lake Thun.

On Saturday, we drove back to Oberrieden talking about what a perfect visit we had, seeing Marianne, Cristof (Marianne's nephew) and his wife Justin.  That day we spent much time with their son Valentin, visiting Chaserrugg, a mountaintop nearby.  The time with Ruedi, Regula and three of their four grown children was very special.

When we arrived at Loogarten, ringing the doorbell got no response.  Sarah and I looked around the yard and the adjacent garden.  No Marianne.  Sarah noticed the doors were open on the second floor balcony.  I told her that we should find a ladder and she said one was on the side of the house.  We got it and I climbed up and let myself in.  After looking around I found her unresponsive on her bed.  We called the Swiss equivalent of 911 and the emergency crew arrived within minutes. 

They took her to University Hospital in Zurich.  I followed thirty minutes later but was told in the emergency room that I couldn't see her, offer advice or be told anything.  That was reserved for close family. 

Sarah later heard from a neighbor from Marianne's house in Muttenz that she had a cerebral hemorrhage and her chances of survival were very low.  She passed on Tuesday morning.

Needless to say, it was a shock to us and everyone.  We considered staying, delaying the ride in Spain, but because we couldn't contribute much, chose to move on. 

Marianne was the perfect host.  She opened her house to everyone in the family over the years.  We all visited around 2016, Scott, Lisa and the girls, David, Dee, Liz and the boys.  We heard stories from Marianne of those visits.  She so enjoyed seeing everyone.

While there she would prepare breakfast and dinner every day.  We usually traveled in our rental car during the day and would pick up lunch on the road.

She was Switzerland to me, and Switzerland is such a special place.  She was such a close part of the family that it hurts even more.

That was so evident when Sarah and I awakened Sunday morning and she wasn't there.  The warmth of Loogarten had vanished.  It was just a house that morning. 

My life will never be the same.

At the last dinner we had with Marianne.  
She prepared everything, as usual, and invited Cristof and Justine to eat with us.

Marianne and Heini.  Probably on the first visit my parents had with them in 1979

Probably 1979, Marianne, Dad and Mom on a mountain hike

Marianne and Sam at the cemetery 

Sam, Sarah and Marianne

At a regular visit to the Lindt factory, just five kilometers from Loogarten.

Marianne and Sam at the cemetery in back of the church in Oberrieden.

With Sam on a mountain top.

Marianne prepared lunch and invited many of the relatives
to visit while we were there with Sam in 2007.

We all ate in the back yard at Loogarten.

With me at the overlook during the visit with Sam.

With Sam in 2007.

With her brother Armen at his vinyard.

Talking in the kitchen at Loogarten.

At the Rheinfall with Cristof and Justine.

With Regula at their mountain house.

Marianne would come everywhere with us.  She was a trooper.

Kylie and Marianne at Rigi.

At the overlook in Oberrieden.
We would go to this place on every visit.

In the sunroom at Loogarten, where we would have drinks and snacks before dinner.

Sarah and Marianne in the kitchen at Loogarten.

She picked out a route to take us over the Klausenstrasse.
We had lunch at a mountain hotel.

Sarah and Marianne on the porch.

With Valentin on the porch at Loogarten.

The last photo I have of Marianne.
The sun was down and the light low.
I saw a photo and took the blurry shot.
Little did I know it would be the end


  1. A very nice tribute... Marianne was obviously very special to you. I'm sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you berto. It is hard to lose someone so special.

  2. Bill, I know how much you enjoyed Marianne and all that she did and showed you. I am sad you have lost such a dear friend.

    1. Thank you Kenny, She was responsible for me and my family to find Switzerland, the home to my great grandfather, Wilfred. It has been a great place to visit, so beautiful to see with the other relatives. I hope we can retain the relationships with Marianne's relatives, especially Ruedi and Regula, Cristof and Justine. But she was the heart that made it all so great.