Dagmar Stafl

Obituary of Dagmar Anna Stafl


Hodonin, Czechoslovakia July 28, 1926 – Toronto, Ontario November 14, 2022

Dagmar lived a full life in two countries she loved deeply. Predeceased by her husband Vratislav (Gerry) in 2015 after 64 years of marriage, mother of Peter (Robyn) and Andrew (Martha Collyer), grandmother to Tyler, Brittney, Benjamin, and Hannah. 


Dagmar had a happy childhood which included a trip to the 1934 World Cup Final in Italy against
Czechoslovakia; she is likely the last surviving spectator.  Her happy childhood came to an abrupt end under the Nazi occupation of her homeland in 1939. Her father’s escape from the Gestapo (assisted by his only child) brought new responsibilities in helping to run the family bookstores while continuing her studies. On her sixteenth birthday she was arrested with her family, and spent the next three years in a concentration camp until liberation. In the fall of 1945, full of enthusiasm and a very condensed three years of high school, she enrolled at the University of Prague. Happy days ended with the February 1948 communist coup d’état. With her political history at the university and her father’s political activism, she had to escape to the west. At the last minute, her parents decided to stay behind. She would never see her mother again and only saw her father once, twenty years later during the Prague spring.

The next chapter of her life was by happenstance and lead her to Canada after a Canadian delegation came to her refugee camp looking for domestics. Dagmar was soon headed to Pier 21 and Rothesay, New Brunswick where, with no experience, she was to help care for a family with five kids. Once her obligation was fulfilled, she was able to enroll in third year at the University of Toronto in political science and economics. In the spring of 1951, she married Gerry and graduated in May 1952 to start her career at Canada Life. After moving to St. Bruno, Quebec she was a trailblazer, working as an Investment Analyst for Sun Life in a male dominated industry. While raising two sons she was active in the Montreal Council of Women, Canadian Consumer Association and University Women’s Club.


Moving to Toronto in 1967 opened up an opportunity to work in the field of economics within the government. She joined the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and rose to Chief Economist until her retirement in 1990. She worked on a host of studies and projects and was valued as a trusted advisor.


Dagmar had a long and exciting retirement including skiing into her late 70’s, sailing with her family on the Shark, walking her Boxers with Gerry, spending time at her favourite spot in Mono Township “Silent Woods”, and traveling. This included a bittersweet visit back to her homeland shortly after the fall of communism. Always a magician in the kitchen, she cooked weekly meals at the Sistering shelter in Toronto. Mom treasured her friendships, discussions and debates with people from so many places in her life including her friends at Belmont House.  The family would also like to personally thank the Belmont team for their superlative care and support through to her last days.  In her memory, please bring a smile to a child or donate to a local food bank.


The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (at Davisville), Toronto, from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 18th.  A Celebration of Dagmar’s Life will be held at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, 141 St. George Street, Toronto, at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 27th.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.

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