Ruddie 1950-2006


Obituary for Ruddie Van De Laar

Ruddie Van de Laar – September 7, 1950 – December 19, 2006

Ruddie was born to Petronella (Nellie) Van Beek and Govert (Joe) Van de Laar on Sept 7, 1950 in Midland, Ontario. He was the eldest of five children and spent his early years on the family farm in Springwater Township.

Due to financial circumstances he left school at the age of 14 to help out his family by working on the Van Beek farm. He continued to do this till he was old enough to work, at which time he started at Barrie Tanning on Bradford Street. From there he worked in several factories including Miami Carey, Grant Marble and Hays Dana. One of his favourite jobs was working in produce for I.G.A. and Herbies. In between all these jobs he experienced unemployment due to economic conditions in Barrie. At this time my brother was building his house in Elmvale and Ruddie helped him out with that a great deal. I believe this was really good for him at this time as it kept him busy.

In 1994 he started driving van for Simcoe County Airport Services and met his friend Ray Cunningham. Together they formed their own company in 1998 which is now known as RJC Connections. Ruddie loved this type of work and although he had to relinquish his partnership due to personal reasons in 2002, he stayed on as Operations Manager.

I met Ruddie in 1962 when my family moved to Canada from Holland. My sister and I spent many vacations on the Van de Laar farm. We lost track of each other and in 1971 we met up again. We were married in July of 1972 and raised two children Dawn-Marie (1973) and Christopher Rudy (1975). Though we were separated in 1994 and divorced in 1996 I have good memories of our life together and am glad to have been part of his life. We experienced many joyful occasions as well as not so joyful such as his parents dieing (Dad – Oct 12/72, Mom – Apr 17/73) too early and his heart attack in Apr of 1992.

Ruddie loved kids and kids loved him. That is the one thing that really sticks out in my mind about him. I heard from a friend and old neighbour, Colleen, some years ago that her daughter Erin, loved to come to our house because Ruddie played games with the kids. I remember those times but I guess did not gave them the true value that they deserved till someone else mentioned how special that really is.

I know my nephews Aaron and Alex really liked him. Aaron in particular as he was older. I know they were special to Ruddie as well and he would have ‘struggled’ with not seeing them after our divorce.

Ruddie was crazy about his grandson. Brian, his best friend told me that Ruddie missed Zaviers first birthday and he said he would never miss another. He made sure he was able to go for that and Christmas every year. At those times I often talked to him on the phone while he was there or I would call him while I was visiting in Canada. We would catch up on each others lives and brag about Zavier.

Ruddie was always there for everybody. My family in particular did things together. If we did any renovations to our home we did it as a family and Ruddie was in there, loving every minute of it. We had great times together back then and there was lots of fooling around and joking going on as well as the work getting done. Ruddie worked for my father more times than I care to remember, this after a full day of working himself. I could not do it because I did not have the energy, but he did it. I have great respect towards him for this.

We had many good times together as a family. We got together for birthdays and other special occasions. One time we still talk about is a water fight we had many years ago. The neat thing about that time is that we have it captured on film.

One of our best times was the three week family trip to Holland in July of 1989. We took our kids and my brothers and sister also went to celebrate the 25 year wedding anniversry of Tante Annie and Oom Krijn. We had a great time and Ruddie and I went every year after that till 1992.

Ruddie was into wrestling and hockey on TV when I met him in 1972. After our marriage he started playing slow pitch baseball. I understand that after our separation he became a great sports fan and loved it that his brothers girls, Tayte and Jayda are avid hockey fans and played it themselves. I hear he paid them 5 dollars for every goal they scored and that Monday was payday. 🙂 He often took them to Blue Jay games in Toronto. His nieces and nephews called him “Uncle Toots” which was also a nick name he had when I met him in 1972,,, without the uncle. 😉 .

I know the Blom family changed after Ruddie and I were separated and it will never be the same again. We all have good memories of that time together and he will never be forgotten.

The saddest part for me is that he was to leave on Fri Dec 22nd to spend Christmas with our children and Zavier. Also he was to move to Edmonton in June/July of this year and I know he was looking forward to that, as were my kids.

I hope you have found rest and peace Ruddie. You will be missed by many for a long time.


1 Comment »

  1. Colleen said

    What a pleasure to read about Ruddie. Funny how we only really know pieces about people. It is nice to get a bigger picture of somebody. I was a neighbour of Ruddie’s for many years and a good friend of Paula. He was a good neighbour and always there if you needed him. I remember many times the laughter coming from his yard and kitchen window when family was visiting his home. He always welcomed my children into his home and yard and was sure to let you know if the kids were up to no good or in danger. He truly cared about kids. I missed Paula and Ruddie as neighbours when they moved. I would often ask Paula how Ruddie was. I had the opportunity this past summer to let him know how my life was going and he was happy for me. I know his kids will greatly miss him. I know the world feels a little emptier when a good person like Ruddie journey’s away from us, happy trails to you Ruddie.

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