Arie Jacob Rylaarsdam
Dad passed away peacefully on November 3rd, 2019, with family by his side, at the age of 86.
Arie leaves to mourn his son Ray (Liz-Anne), daughter Dina Balcaen, grandchildren Rosalie (Kevin), Ryan, Brenan, Lindsay Fenske (Zach), Evan Balcaen (Larissa), Reagan Balcaen, and great-grandchildren Rhea, Jaiden, Ivy, Damon, Aaron and Levi; as well as his dear brother Cor Rijlaarsdam in the Netherlands, nieces and nephews, their families, and many dear friends.
He was predeceased by his parents Arie and Dina Rijlaarsdam, his loving wife of 60 years, Leah, his sister-in-law Elly, and his son-in-law Paul Balcaen.
Dad was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Feb. 8th, 1933. He married Mom at age 21 in 1954 and immigrated to Canada with his bride to start a new life in Winnipeg where Ray and Dina were born.
Dad had several jobs when he moved to Canada; being trained as a Millwright, he could do a wide variety of trades, working with sheet metal as a Furnaceman, a Machinist, and various other skilled jobs, and when times were tough, he delivered coal and milk.
Mom and Dad moved us to Pinawa in 1965, where he was employed as a Draftsman at AECL, the Atomic Energy Plant. Later, after two years of University, Dad moved us to Selkirk in 1971 to start his career as a Drafting teacher at the new Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School. His students called him AJ or Mr. R as they couldn’t pronounce his last name. Dad also initiated the Selkirk Speed Skating Club, designing and building the track at the LSRCSS and then coaching the skaters. It only lasted a few years but he was passionate about his projects and did his best to see them realized. During his years as a teacher, and for a few years after he retired in 1987, he had his own business, AJR Custom Drafting and Building Inc. He designed and built many houses in and around Selkirk, as well as designing a house for Dina and Paul, whom, with his help, built it in Fort Garry, Winnipeg in 1992.
Dad also loved to do carpentry in his spare time and had built many boats, the largest a 16 foot Inboard, and pieces of furniture, among other things. He was a handy man that could fix and build almost anything. During his retirement he learned to play a Yamaha keyboard while Mom picked up guitar again, the two of them playing together in their music room.
Dad always enjoyed listening to music, watching soccer, wine making, gardening, and loved sitting in his backyard sanctuary, feeding and watching the birds and small animals that visited there. He traveled around Europe with Mom, often going back to the “the old country.” They both lived a very full life, often saying that they were busier after retirement than when they were working and didn’t have enough time in their day to do all the things they wanted. They kept very busy with their hobbies and interests but most important of all, Dad loved to spend time with his family and close friends.
Dad was a very kind and compassionate man, always willing to help others. Even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013 he remained a gentle soul. Memories of Dad will forever be loved and cherished by our family and everyone that knew him. Mom and Dad will be very dearly missed.
A very special thank you to Arie's grandson Ryan, who moved in and lived with his Opa to look after him for the first two years after Leah passed away, Liz-Anne Still, who cared for Dad with love and affection, almost every day for the entire four and a half years he remained in his own home, and also for taking him to Holland, one of two trips in 2015, so he could see his dear brother Cor and family before he would be unable to do so. Monica Dzisiak and Holly Still who were also instrumental in Dad’s care while at home. Dr. Badenhorst, his family doctor, Dr. Demsas and Dr. Paradoski, during his stay at Tudor House. And again to Dr. Paradoski during his final days in hospital.
Special thanks to the Nurses, Aides and Staff at Tudor House in Selkirk who cared for Dad and made sure he was well looked after in his final year, as well as to the nursing staff at the Selkirk Hospital who kept Dad comfortable until he was ready to join Mom.
And finally, to the IERHA’s Family and Self-Managed Home Care Program that allowed Dad to remain in his own home till he could no longer do so.
A Celebration of his Life will be held on Saturday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m. in the Gilbart Funeral Chapel, Selkirk, MB.
In lieu of flowers a donation in memory of Dad can be made to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
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