Louis deJong’s family and friends celebrated his life this past February 9th with a Memorial Service at the Smithers United Church.
Never to do anything half way, Louis took on life and every project with total commitment. Louis had a diverse range of skills moving into the Bulkley Valley as a float plane pilot but evolving into a local appliance repair man, volunteer ski patroller/ski instructor, United Church board member, a CASARA navigator/spotter, financial planner, wind surfer, grape grower, wine maker, bee keeper, prospector, tap dancer and most recently a sound man and musican.
Louis began life February 28, 1930 as the oldest son of Pieter and Neije deJong, in Enkhuizen, Netherlands. Life began in a little house along the side of a canal, with his grandparents living just a few doors away. World War II changed life for everyone and the conditions in the Netherlands post war prompted Louis’ decision to move to Canada in 1949. Two brothers later came to Canada; Ron (Micky) deJong who settled in Winnipeg and Jan (Ineke) who reside in Kanata. Louis’ youngest brother Pieter (Aiske) was the only son to remain in the Netherlands.
At the age of 14 Louis had left his parent’s home to be apprenticed as a dairy man and it was this training that allowed him to find a sponsor in the Fairview, Alberta area. Within a few years Louis chose to learn to pipeline weld and embarked on a new career which took him all over Alberta. After establishing his own welding business Louis took up flying as an efficient way of accessing needed parts from Edmonton. A down turn in the oil industry lead Louis to pursue commercial flying, a job which he loved. After flying all over the northern prairie provinces and the Keewatin District Louis looked west and accepted a float plane pilot’s job out of Prince Rupert, B.C.
It was in Prince Rupert that Louis met his wife Claire with whom he celebrated their 46th Wedding Anniversary, this past February 1st. Their life together include their children Alison and Peter, establishing themselves here in the Bulkley Valley in 1975.
Louis was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in December 2014 and passed on peacefully February 6th, 2015. In Louis’ memory donations can be made to the Bulkley Valley Community Association. http://www.bvcf.ca.