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March 22, 2024

In Loving Memory ~

On March 22nd, 2024 Gerald Peter Koopmans passed peacefully in his sleep as a result of his brain cancer. For as long as he was my father I perceived him to be a kind, caring, simple, low risk man and loving father and grandfather to my son. He worked the same job as a farmhand for over 30 years because it was the sure thing and provided for his family despite having the skill-set to do other jobs if he wished.

We lived near the elementary school I attended and despite being up at 02:30 and working a split shift he was always sure to have hash browns with spam made for me if I came home for lunch time.

When I became old enough he enrolled us in beavers and even after 6 years when I stopped attending he continued to volunteer for Scouts Canada for over 25 years. He held his Scouting family and kids so dearly that not even a brain injury and prognosis of never being able to walk again could stop him.

Gerald loved to cook and entertain and teach anyone who would listen, whether they wanted the advice or not (much to my existential embarrassment as a child). Gerald loved camping his entire life and went on multiple hunting trips with his brother in law Gary Truscott and his father Jelte Koopmans. Gerald loved visiting his sisters and nieces for coffee and a walk any chance he had.

Multiple times every year he would take us to all of his favourite campgrounds such as Little Qualicum Falls, Buttle Lake, and Miracle Beach.

In 2006 we tragically lost my mother, his wife Jennifer. My dad never missed a beat, he became both father and mother. From working split shifts all day and offering comfort and advice and doing all of the household chores as well as being the sole income for our family.

In 2009 he was injured at his new job in Courtenay and was told he most likely wouldn't be able to walk without a walker. Due to his natural perseverance and "It's gotta be done" attitude he was able to attend my grade 12 graduation 2 weeks after his injury and over time able to walk with the assistance of a cane.

He continued to volunteer with Scouts Canada, including cooking for several dozen children at camps all over the island with his dear and beloved Scouting family Ed and Chris Tickner and others.

As I grew older and started my career driving trucks, he would come with me for a trip any time I asked, he loved being with family and he especially loved driving, especially if he trusted the driver (otherwise he preferred to drive). During long trips or whenever I saw elk, deer, eagles, crazy drivers, or beautiful scenery, he was always up for a phone call and to hear all about it. I was able to bring him with me on several trips hauling fuel to remote locations on logging roads which he always loved, and I loved having him with me.

I am eternally grateful to have spent so much time with a father who loved me so openly. He was a father, a mother, a grandfather, an amazing uncle, a leader, a friend, my driving instructor, a chef, a carpenter, a farmhand, a confidant, an advisor and most of all NEARLY unstoppable. The valley has truly lost one of its best men.

Gerald is survived by his son Ben (Arrielle), sisters; Bernarda (Gary), Jeanette, nieces; Tammy (Steve), Dianna (Cary), Bonnie (Rob), Grandson; Laurens "Rens", great nieces/nephews Madeline, Ryland, Sianna, Raegan, beloved friends Ed and Chris Tickner, Doug, Tammy, Christina, Rick, Ralph, as well as his Scouts Canada family.

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