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"DIR" 2008 Obituary


DIRKS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-03-08 published
DIRKS, Gerald Edward (1942-2008)
It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected death of Gerry at home in Victoria, British Columbia on February 28, 2008. Gerry is survived and deeply mourned by his loving wife Pat; devoted mother, Esther; sister and brother-in-law, Ruby and Bill BOECHLER and sister-in-law, Roberta REID. He will also be sorely missed by his nephews Jason BUTCHER (husband of Maureen, father of Madigan) and Matthew BUTCHER (husband of Jenny.) Also bereaved are his goddaughters Maud Arthur and Emma MICHIELSEN, his extended family and many Friends, former students and colleagues. Gerry was predeceased by his father Edward DIRKS.
Gerry lived a remarkable life. In spite of loosing his sight entirely at an early age, he was able, with strong family support, to graduate from the University of British Columbia and to go on to complete an M.A. at Queen's University and to earn a Ph. D. from the University of Toronto. In addition to a long and successful teaching career in the Politics department at Brock University, Gerry published extensively on the subject of Canadian immigration and refugee policy. After taking early retirement in 2002, Gerry returned with Pat to his beloved British Columbia, taught a few courses at the University of Victoria, made new Friends and travelled extensively with Pat which he so loved to do.
In addition to his professional achievements, Gerry made a significant contribution to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind both as a volunteer Board member and, for a short period in 1984-85, as Executive Director of the Ontario Division. He played a central role in the establishment of Voiceprint in Canada and worked to improve the lives of the blind in other parts of the world through his involvement in the World Blind Union and his support of the World Braille Foundation.
Although he left us much too soon, Gerry died looking forward to the trips he was planning to take next and to the fine wines he was sure he would discover! We will all miss his sense of adventure, his loyalty to family and Friends and his witty humour.
No service by request. Celebrations of Gerry's life are being planned for Victoria in the late spring and for Ontario in the early summer. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

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DIRKS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-04-09 published
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of the matriarch of our family on April 5, 2008.
Willy or Oma, as she was known to all, was born in Semarang on the island of Java in Indonesia. She was the only child of Dirk Th. W. VAN STEENBERGEN and Wilhelmina LE GEU. Her early years were spent on a sugar plantation managed by her father. At the age of 17 she was sent to The Netherlands to live with an aunt and uncle while she continued her education at secondary and post secondary school. She married the love of her life, Adriaan (Ad) DIRKS, on December 06, 1939. Together they had three daughters, Anke, Elsje and Luke. Their lives were impacted by the dark years of the German occupation during World War 2. Willy spent many kms. on the road, on a bicycle with no tires, trading wedding presents for food for her family. During this time Willy worried about her parents who were imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp on the island of Java.
Determined to find a better life, Willy, Ad and the girls moved to the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles and then 5 years later to Canada. As a trained bookkeeper, Willy who spoke 6 languages, first worked alongside her husband in his insurance business. However, after the girls were educated and married, Willy started Wellington Way Travel agency with offices in Markham, Ontario and Unionville, Ontario. In 1976 she retired from the business world, moved to North Eastern Ontario, to be close to her family. Unfortunately her health failed and Oma, as she was known then, moved to Northview Nursing Home in Englehart, Ontario.
Willy was predeceased by her parents, her husband Adriaan (1972), her daughter Elizabeth LOGAN (1982) and son-in-law William LOGAN She is survived by her daughters and spouses Anne and Ronald BAILEY and Lucy and Lawrence DUKE all of Thornloe, Ontario. Also by her 8 grandchildren and their spouses David BAILEY and Susan DAVIS- BAILEY, Jennifer BAILEY and David BAERG, Christopher DUKE and Elise ROBITAILLE, Andrea and Hugh HAMILTON, Matthew and Carol DUKE, Ian and Lisa LOGAN, Robert and Susan LOGAN and Jodi and Michael HARKER as well as 15 great-grandchildren.
Friends and family will be received at McDonalds Funeral Home on Tues. April 8th, a funeral Mass will follow on Wed. April 9th at Holy Trinity Church both location are in Englehart, Ontario.

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