Svea Dietrich Ward
by 03/10/14 04:27 AM
Svea Dietrich Ward, German-born conservationist, citizen of Belize, who sailed oceans with Morgan Freeman, who built her own airplanes, who flew solo across Australia, who once crash-landed on a runway in Connecticut circa 1972 (too accustomed to water-landings), who was cover-model for the German Vogue magazine (c. 1950s) [which I'd love to somehow track down], who raced horses, who reared Arabians and was founding member of the Belize Arabian Stud Book, who had her own farm, who founded the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve off a huge parcel of her private land (and barred access to humans except on scientific expeditions), who had a reputation for cantankerousness, who despite being difficult was very fond of my father—her veterinarian, whom my family often visited, whose books and magazines we would pour over whenever visiting, who loved her dobermanns, who disliked children and who had a gun (as my parents told us kids before visiting), who was openly misanthropic, and yet whom I still found compelling and fascinating, whose house we'd caretake when she was away, whose horses we had cared for and fed with a particular mixture devised for each one, whose gates I'd ALWAYS carefully secure (the same for Rosanne), in whose presence I'd tiptoe, and who could be a real 'pain-in-the-ass'... I doubt anyone expected her to go gentle into that good night; but so she passed away and I'll miss her.
Christopher Lloyd De Shield
She was smuggled from Germany to Austria at 14 in the height of WWII by her father after her mother died (when she was 12) of a heroin overdose. She told me once how painful it was to watch her mother fight the disease, and ultimately fail.
That is where she learned to sail. On a lake by her boarding school.
7 hours ago · Like
And she was on the cover of four Vogues. American, British, French, and Italian. Quite a coup for a German war bride in post WWII atmospheres.
I got to know her when Johanna would go to help her with her horses - in return for lessons on grooming and training- and she would invite us up for refreshments when I returned to pick up Johanna. I discovered she was an amazing person (who rose above constraints) as I patiently listened to her stories.
She was a woman set in her ways, but I liked her! She was actually very kind and generous and many took advantage of her kindness.