Ann Wittenberg and her family. (The Canadian Press)

Woman who died hours before daughter’s wedding wanted her family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while floating on a surf board in Tofino

A mother of three who died just hours before her daughter’s wedding in Tofino would have wanted the celebration to go ahead, says her twin brother.

Pat Doyle said his sister, Ann Wittenberg, was floating on a surf board with her 21-year-old daughter, Rachel Emon, Sunday morning when a wave pulled them into the ocean.

The 52-year-old fought to save her daughter, but could not save herself, Doyle said in an interview on Thursday.

The RCMP said it received a report of a woman in distress at the popular Long Beach surf location on Sunday.

Bystanders managed to get her out of the water and administer first aid, but the woman did not survive, police said in a news release.

Doyle said Wittenberg had travelled to Vancouver Island from her home in Ottawa for the wedding of her 23-year-old daughter, Victoria Emon.

READ MORE: Woman who died in ocean accident near Tofino was in town for daughter’s wedding

The small, low-key ceremony went ahead Sunday despite the tragedy, Doyle said, noting that was exactly what Wittenberg would have wanted.

“My sister would have insisted that we celebrate,” he said.

Victoria Emon shared a number of emotional posts on Facebook, calling her mom a “beautiful inspiration” and saying Wittenberg had been excited to watch her get married.

“Just because I went ahead with it does not mean it was easy in any way,” she said in a post Tuesday. ”I loved her so much.”

Wittenberg was a newlywed herself, having eloped in Cuba about six weeks ago. No one in her family knew about the wedding ahead of time and only learned of the marriage when she posted a video on Facebook, Doyle said.

He described his sister, who was older by 17 minutes, as a “late-stage athlete” who loved taunting her 26-year-old son, Joshua Emon, with her muscles.

She was also the pillar of the family and was devoted to making her kids and loved ones happy, Doyle said.

“That was her absolute joy,” he said. “That’s what she was to our family. She was always a smile.”

READ MORE: Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Now the family is gathering in the Ottawa area to mourn, though a full celebration of Wittenberg’s life will have to wait until her remains have been returned from B.C., Doyle said.

Everyone is emotional and distraught, but holding up, he said.

“Grief comes in waves. So you just have to let the wave go through you when it happens.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation celebrates new water system

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna cuts cedar ribbon at Ty-Histanis event.

Ucluelet RCMP searching for alleged liquor thief

Police have released a photo of the woman and are asking for the public’s assistance.

Reflecting Spirit offers tapestry of West Coast stories

Gallery showcases Tofino and Ucluelet artists.

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read