Obituary— Gisela Heath
Gisela Johanna Helene Fischer Heath, age 85, passed away on September 9, 2021, in Van Horn, Texas. Gisela was born on October 20, 1935, in Ratibor/Oberschlesien, which is currently in Poland. She was the daughter of Friedrich August Ludwig Fischer and Margarete Hoerike Fischer. Gisela grew up in Nurnberg, Germany, where her two brothers still reside.
Gisela’s childhood was marked by the ravages of war in Germany during World War II. She and her family lived through one of the worst conflicts in world history. They saw the events of the war unfold on their doorsteps. While her father was off at war, fearing the brutality and reprisals of the westward advancing Soviet Army, she and her family were forced to flee as refugees from their home in Ratibor to Nurnberg. Being the oldest child, at the age of 9, Gisela had the responsibility of helping her mother care for her three younger brothers during the extremely dangerous journey. They faced many hardships along the route, including food and medical shortages, as well as transportation problems caused by the many bombing air raids in the area. Her youngest brother, Harold, just 8 months old, passed away on this horrific journey in the city of Prague. At the end of the war, her family was reunited with her father in Nurnberg.
Gisela attended school in Nurnberg where she excelled in sports. She enjoyed snow skiing and ice skating. Her excellent ice-skating skills led to her employment as a professional figure skater with the company now known as Holiday on Ice. While on tour, her friend from her skating troupe arranged a blind date for her with US Army 1st Lieutenant, Don “Bubba” Heath. The romance sparked by this date led to Gisela coming to the U.S.A. to marry Bubba on July 30, 1959, in Ysleta, Texas. They made their home in Van Horn, Texas, where they raised their three children: Jannine, Don, and Ronnie.
Gisela was a devoted, loving mother. Her family was always her top priority in life. She was active in all aspects of her children’s lives. She took her children swimming in the summer and snow skiing in the winter. Her greatest joy was being with her children and grandchildren. She was an immaculate housekeeper and took great pride in her home. She enjoyed tending to the flowers in her garden. Though cooking was not her passion, she was a very good cook. She valued the importance of having family meals together.
Gisela was an accomplished fine arts painter. She studied under her friends and mentors, Mary Booth and Sally Wheat. Gisela enjoyed social events, especially weddings. She hosted countless bridal showers, parties, and cookouts at her home. She and Bubba enjoyed dancing together during their 62-year marriage.
Gisela was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Harold Fischer, and her loving husband, Bubba Heath.
Those left to honor and cherish the memory of Gisela are her daughter, Jannine Heath, of Van Horn, Texas; sons, Don Heath (Lorie), of San Angelo, Texas, and Ronnie Heath (Jessica), of Midland, Michigan; 3 grandchildren, Brittney Heath, Courtney Heath Dianda (Marcus), and Hudson Heath. She is also survived by her 2 brothers, Frank Fischer (Christine) and Jens Fischer (Gabe).
Gisela was raised in the Lutheran Church in Germany. After moving to Van Horn, she became an active member of the First United Methodist Church. She was a faithful volunteer for many years with Vacation Bible School and the annual High School Senior Parties. A celebration of Gisela’s life will be held at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Jerry Donovan officiating. Interment will follow at the Van Horn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church of Van Horn, Texas, P.O. Box 67, Van Horn, Texas 79855.