DR. JAN WILLEM (BILL) BOSCH Dr. Jan Willem (Bill) Bosch passed away on March 5, 2014 at the age of 97 following complications from a stroke. He was surrounded by family members. A small service was held on March 8, 2014. Burial took place at Salem Cemetery, Ajax. He was born in 1916 to Dutch parents in Asunción, Paraguay. The family returned to the Netherlands in 1925 where he received his education. He studied medicine at Leiden University. During World War II, he played what he claimed to be a minor role with the Dutch student resistance. He rarely elaborated, however, one example was that he assisted downed English fighter pilots to escape from behind enemy lines. As a Dutchman, he experienced the near starvation of the Hunger Winter of 1944 which affected all of Western Holland. Following the war, he participated in a Red Cross-repatriation mission in Czechoslovakia and Poland in search of Dutch nationals who had ended up as displaced persons - forced labourers, imprisoned resistance fighters and surviving Jews. From 1947-1950, he was conscripted to serve as a Dutch Army medical officer in the jungles of Sumatra - an area which was formerly the Dutch East Indies. At the end of his service, he was recommended for decoration by his commanding officer for his personal initiatives. Unusual for a simple medical officer. At that same time, he was thanked by his 'enemy', his Indonesian medical counterpart and local authorities for his passion and dedication to provide medical care to the local population during this period of armed conflict. He was an independent thinker and a humanitarian - this was before it became a calculated strategy to try to win the "hearts and minds" of the "enemy". If questioned about this period, he would say that this had been the most significant time of his career as a doctor. He immigrated to Canada with his wife Yvonne and baby son Matthew in 1952. After one year in Kingston, Ontario, they made the small town of Ajax their home. He did not hesitate to say that he wanted to be buried in Canadian soil - his adopted country. He worked for 40 years as a general physician and anesthesiologist until his retirement in 1991, at the age of 75. He had an inquisitive mind, read voraciously and had a broad range of interests. He had an affinity for the land. During his free time, he planted thousands of trees which he hoped would produce harvestable lumber for his grandchildren to enjoy. He was the personification of a man who would embrace the proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now." He loved his vegetable garden, a hearty meal and a fine cigar. For many years, he was an active member of the Rotary Club of Ajax. He welcomed numerous international exchange students into his home and participated in various fund-raising initiatives. After spending his life in selfless service to others, he died in the hospital where he had been a founding physician, the Ajax and Pickering General Hospital. Predeceased by son Matthew, he is survived by his wife Yvonne, children Renée, Lou, Derek, Nicole and Julie. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jacqueline, Ryan, Jan Willem, Annacy, Aleisha, Erika, Marieke, Leif, Nicholas and Erik. A remembrance gathering for family and friends is planned for Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Rotary Park Pavilion in Ajax. If so desired, in lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations be made to the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering Hospital or to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Published in the Toronto Star from Mar. 15 to Mar. 17, 2014