Mr. G's life will be remembered and celebrated Sunday (photo)Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff
The life of the late John Gaarkeuken - remembered by many as Mr. G. - will be celebrated at a come-and-go reception on Sunday, September 16.
Relatives, friends and acquaintances are invited to drop by the Water Tower Inn from 2 to 5 p.m.
John passed away on August 28, 2012.
He was born in Tienhoven, The Netherlands and made Sault Ste. Marie his home in 1953.
Many came to know the deceased during his 27 years as a caretaker with the Sault Ste. Marie Board of Education.
He went there after first working as a meat cutter at local Loblaws and Dominion stores.
Northern Heights was John's first school.
From there he went to Parkland School, where the nickname Mr. G started.
He was a driving force for jam can curling, making rocks and terrific ice for the kids to enjoy.
A dedicated volunteer, John devoted much time and energy to fundraising, trophy building and serving as a driver for various sports events.
He also worked as a custodian at Etienne Brulé, Sault Collegiate and White Pines.
John always considered the Sault home.
He was born on February 23, 1925, as Johannes and went on to serve with the Dutch army in the late 1940s early '50s.
He spent four years in Indonesia.
After the birth of two beautiful daughters - Bianca and Sylvia - John bought his first and last house on Boundary Road at the corner of South Market Street.
He stayed there for more than 45 years and accepted the fact that with essential tremors affecting the stability of his legs, he should move to FJ Davey Home.
John’s number one love was soccer, followed by world travel.
He promised himself that if Canada ever got into the World Cup, he would witness it and he saw that happen in Mexico.
John travelled to many parts of the world to see the Summer and Winter Olympics, as well as World Cup Curling.
He was also a Greyhounds season ticket holder.
In 1967, he took his daughters to Expo and to every museum and fort in Québec and Ontario.
He fulfilled his bucket list that included visits to China and Egypt.
Besides two daughters - Bianca (Jerry) Speers and Sylvia Gaarkeuken -, John leaves five grandchildren and their partners, two great-granddaughters, two siblings in Australia, and nieces and nephews in Australia, Canada and The Netherlands.
A favourite saying was, “It’s only common sense.”