Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk at Yale Road Centre in North Surrey Monday.

Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk at Yale Road Centre in North Surrey Monday.

Surrey couple now closer as world reacts

Spouses to reside at nearby care homes with hope of eventually living in same facility.

Wolfram Gottschalk will soon be living just blocks away from his wife of 62 years after their eight-month separation sparked an outcry heard around the world.

Ashley Bartyik, granddaughter of longtime Semiahmoo Peninsula residents Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk, told Peace Arch News Monday that health officials will bring her grandparents closer together this week – and eventually move them into the same care facility.

“We are that much closer to having them under one roof! Progress!” she said in an email following a meeting with Fraser Health officials that afternoon.

Bartyik went public with her family’s plight last week by posting to Facebook a photo of her grandparents crying (below) while visiting each other. She called it the “saddest photo I have ever taken.”

Her post was shared more than 10,000 times, and news outlets from around the world have since picked up the story, including CNN, the BBC, Aussie Network News, the Washington Post, People Magazine and Times of India.

The Gottschalks have been living in separate care homes for eight months – Wolfram, 83, in Yale Road Centre in North Surrey, and Anita, 81, at The Residence at Morgan Heights in South Surrey, a half-hour drive away.

Wolfram had been on a wait-list to move into the same facility as his wife but his failing health prompted their granddaughter to speak out.

Bartyik said her grandfather was diagnosed with lymphoma last week and his dementia is getting worse. Her family wants to see the couple  reunited for their final days.

After Monday’s meeting, Bartyik said she expected her grandfather would be moved Tuesday to South Surrey’s Rosemary Heights Seniors Village – four blocks away from his wife’s care home. He’ll also remain on a wait-list to be under the same roof as his wife of 62 years.

“This way he is receiving great care while waiting to be with my Omi (grandmother), and in close vicinity making it so much easier for our family. We took a huge step in the right direction and thank Fraser Health for the communication and making this option available.”

Health officials also told Bartyik they are improving their communications with other families, “which is what we are striving for.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read