Remy Zuur(1917 - 2013)

Remy Zuur
August 18, 1917 - April 22, 2013
Resident of San Leandro
An avid outdoorsman, hiker, backpacker, master gardener, and retired Fire Marshal, Remy Zuur passed away peacefully on Monday at the age of 95. He was born in Santa Rosa, California,
the youngest son of five children born to John Zuur an immigrant from Holland, and Louisa Cabezut, a second generation Mexican American who grew up on a ranch in the Sierra foothills near Sonora.
Remy began his life long passion for plants and landscaping as a young man when the family lived in Orinda, doing heavy labor and landscaping at the homes of wealthy families in the area. His father was a graduate of a well known Horticulture College in the Hague, Holland and worked for a time with Luther Burbank. John Zuur passed on some of his knowledge of plants to his sons, and after graduating from Richmond High School Remy and and his two brothers started a nursery and landscaping business in Lafayette. World War II put an end to their enterprise as the brothers were called away to war. Remy was stationed in Santa Ana, and during his off duty hours became an avid surfer. He was devoted to his mother, Louisa Cabezut Zuur, and took care of her and his younger sister Eileen after his father died in 1941.
Remy married Mary Helen Robinson in 1952 and they were married for 42 years until her death in 1994. ,He used his extensive landscaping and construction skills to enhance the homes that they shared in Oakland and San Leandro.
Remy began his career as a firefighter on a fireboat which patrolled San Francisco Bay. He became a firefighter for the City of Oakland, and retired in 1977 from the position of Fire Marshal. He was keenly interested in local and state politics and followed current affairs. Though he did not consider himself much of a writer, he kept a journal and made the effort to stay in touch with family and friends by writing letters, sharing his daily activities and observations on life.
He was active in SIRS (Sons in Retirement), the Retired Firefighters Association, and served as president for both organizations. He and Helen were active members of the Broadmoor Church in San Leandro. He was considered an excellent cook and organized holiday dinners and barbeques. He loved the outdoors and made many backpacking trips to Yosemite and the Sierra. He continued gardening until the last few years and maintained his own "nursery" of plant cuttings which he nurtured and held occasional plant sales in his front yard. Well into his 80's he was still leading regular trips throughout the Bay Area for the Hayward Hikers and his extensive knowledge of plants and the history of the Bay Area made outings with Remy a memorable experience.
Remy was known for his generosity, and wry sense of humor. He loved to tease and tell a good story, and with his rich life experiences he had many.
He will be well remembered and missed by his family.
Survivors include his sister Eileen Bernard and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial will be held on May 5th at 1 PM in San Leandro. For more details contact

Published in Inside Bay Area on Apr. 28, 2013