With sadness and love, the family of Maria Romana Hockin wish to announce her passing on June 12, 2023 in Abbotsford, BC, Canada.
Maria is predeceased by daughter Susanna Rodela Williamson. She is survived by her children David, Daniel, Carla (James), Lloyd (Marina), and her many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Maria was born in 1937 in the town of Kanal, in western Slovenia on the border with Italy. She had a difficult early life, growing up during the Second World War, her family would often take refuge in nearby caves during bombing and raids. Her father Andrej was a veteran of the first world war and he spoke many languages, including German, which probably helped him protect his family. Even after the war, life in Yugoslavia was difficult, parts of towns had been destroyed and there were food shortages. Maria had 7 siblings and perhaps her parents had trouble keeping all of them fed, as when she was only 7 years old, she was sent away to live with an aunt in Italy, where she helped to work on a farm and attended school. When she came back home a couple years later, she barely recognized her parents and siblings.
She then stayed with her family in Kanal, went to nursing school, and then worked for several years at the seaside hospital of Valdoltra. This was a beautiful location and it seemed like a happy time for her; she would tell stories of hours spent swimming in the Adriatic sea, eating ripe fruits and caring for patients who felt like family. When she was around 26 years old she met Josef Rodela, who would become her first husband. They left Yugoslavia to escape the communist regime, and passed through Italy, Austria, France, and ended up in Germany for a while, where her first daughter Susie was born. In 1965 the family of 3 came via ocean liner to Canada to start a new life. Over the next few years they moved around Canada as Josef sought work in the mines, and she had 2 more children, sons David and Danny.
In 1970 they were living in east Vancouver when Maria received devastating news that her husband was killed in a mining accident, and she was left a single mother with 3 children under the age of 6. This was a very challenging time for her, without much social support, however with the life insurance money she was able to buy a house on Melbourne St in Vancouver and made a stable home for her family. A couple years later she married Lloyd Hockin and had two more children, Carla and Lloyd.
She was a headstrong and resourceful woman and worked hard to support her family, trying different ventures over the years - buying and renovating homes, starting a janitorial business, owning small grocery stores, and working as a nurses’ aide. In later years, her favorite work was to spend summer days on a farm picking berries.
She was an expert knitter and enjoyed creating blankets and sweaters for her loved ones, and also used her talents to make custom orders for a knitwear store in Vancouver.
Mom also enjoyed cooking for her family - every Christmas and Easter holiday she would bake large batches of Slovenian bread and cakes to give to family and friends.
Through all the hardships she was always a faithful Christian, raising her family in Christ and attending church. Her faith and prayer kept her going through hard times.