Geert (Gerry) Klaas Schipper
1927 - 2022
On 31 July 2022 Gerry Schipper, former longtime resident of Brockville, passed away at the Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, two days short of his 95th birthday. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years Jacoba (Cobie, neé Sels) and is affectionately remembered by sons Hal (Ainslie) and Rob (Karen), his granddaughters Nicole (Chris), Megan (Matt) and Holly, and six great grandchildren. He is fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews in Canada and the Netherlands. Gerry was predeceased by his parents Jacob and Trijntje, four sisters and three brothers.
Gerry was born in Oud Avereest in the province of Overijssel in the Netherlands on 2 August 1927, the fifth of eight children. He lived through the Great Depression and World War II and completed his education after the war. After training, he joined the Dutch merchant marine as a signals officer and spent a lot of time at sea in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. During that time, he was also drafted into the Dutch army and posted to Indonesia for a year.
After his time at sea, Gerry returned to the Netherlands where he met Cobie, his wife to be, at a church choir. They were married on 11 August 1954 in their hometown of Hillegom. Several days later they emigrated to Canada to start a new life. They landed in Montreal and made their way westward to Ontario to meet Gerry’s brother Arend, who had preceded them to Canada. They travelled to Thornbury Ontario where they lived for a year and welcomed their son Hal. In 1956 they moved to the Brockville area where they would live for the next 53 years. Brockville held the promise of better work opportunities at Automatic Electric, later General Telephone & Electric (GTE). Gerry began “on the line” and worked his way up to “the office.”
Brockville also saw the birth of their second son Rob as their roots there deepened. They raised their family and became part of the Christian Reformed Church faith community. Gerry would uncomplainingly take Hal to hockey practice and games early on Saturday mornings when no doubt he would have preferred to remain in bed. He picked up and dropped off his boys at various jobs, at least until they learned how to drive themselves. Summers always involved driving to nearby locations like Brown’s Bay on the St. Lawrence River or Charleston Lake for picnics and swimming. Gerry enjoyed driving and loved his cars. Gerry and Cobie also enjoyed travelling in Canada and elsewhere. In the late ‘80s Gerry left GTE and eventually was hired by the smaller and local Eastern Independent Telecom (EIT), where he continued the work he so enjoyed.
Gerry retired in 1992. In his retirement he and Cobie did volunteer work, such as Meals on Wheels and engaged happily with their ever-increasing family, first with their granddaughters and then with their six great-grandchildren. They left Brockville in 2009 to live at Holland Christian Homes (HCH) in Brampton, Ontario. His church stood foremost in much that he did and living at HCH embodied that commitment.
Gerry was a loving and caring man who will be remembered for his dry sense of humour and willingness to lend a hand. He was devout Christian who, having lived a rich, full life on earth, looked forward to eternal life. He will be deeply missed by Cobie, his family, and his friends. Our deepest thanks go to the staff on the second floor of Faith Manor at HCH who looked after Gerry during his time in long term care. We also thank the palliative care doctors and nurses on 2B Medicine at Credit Valley Hospital who cared for him in his final days.
Family and friends may pay their respects at the Irvine Funeral Home, 4 James Street East, Brockville on Friday, August 5, 2022 from 10 am until 12 noon followed by a service in the chapel. Interment and reception will take place at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Maitland.
As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Canadian Cancer society or the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated.
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