Jan de VRIES C.M.
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JAN de VRIES C.M. January 24, 1924 - May 27, 2012 Member of the Order of Canada WWII veteran 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (France) Jan passed away at Ajax Pickering Hospital. He was born in Leeuwarden, Friesland in the Netherlands. He is predeceased by parents Romke and Rinske, his brother Harry (Hendrik), nephew John and niece Lucille. Devoted husband of Joanne (nee Nicoll). Dear father of John de Vries, Lorraine (Ken) Rolston, Janice (Selwyn) Hamilton-Dicker, Peter (Tracy) de Vries and of Joanne's children Ron (Jane) Burridge, Andrea (Jason) Yoshida; grandfather of 15; great- grandfather of 2; uncle of John Reid and Harry de Vries. Jan came to Canada in 1930 and attended school in East York and Scarborough. He enlisted in the army in 1943, parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Belgian Ardennes, in Holland along the Maas River, parachuted over the Rhine River into Germany and through Germany to Wismar on the Baltic. Following his return to Canada he graduated from Army Trade school. He began his career in construction as a Carpenter rising to Foreman, Construction Superintendent, Site Manager, many years with Cadillac Fairview and Daniels Group Inc. He retired from construction in 2000. Since 1995 he has served as President of 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association. Jan was instrumental in the creation of the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy and a tireless volunteer for a broad range of community, educational, and memorial activities. He had a great love of the outdoors, particularly hiking. Cremation has taken place. Private Interment Pine Hills Cemetery, Birchmount Rd., Scarborough ON. A Celebration of Jan's life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday July 7, 2012 at Moss Park Armoury, 130 Queen Street E., Toronto, ON. If desired, a donation in Jan's memory may be made to: CurePSP www.curepsp.org toll free 866-457-4777; or the Juno Beach Centre; or charity of your choice.

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Published in Toronto Star on Jun. 9, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Janice Hamilton-Dicker (de Vries) daughter of Jan de Vries
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28 entries
July 18, 2013
Never to be forgotten and remembered for his valour to Canada and mankind . Let us never forget the sacrifices he made for us.
See my FB page.
Herman van der Veen
July 17, 2013
I greatly appreciate the insights Mr. de Vries shared of his wartime experiences through interviews by journalists and historians, portions of which have become important components of W.W.II documentaries. He possessed a keen memory for detail in relating his encounters with the Wermacht and in expressing the wide range of feelings that the common soldier experienced day-to-day in dealing with the uncertainties of survival.
Rick Crompton
November 21, 2012
I'm a high school teacher in Burlington and met Mr.De Vries a few years ago when I invited him to speak to my students. I am in the middle of teaching World War 2 right now and thought I would look him up. I am so sad to hear of his passing. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet him and hear him speak. To his family, I am so sorry for your loss. He was a great man and a hero. I can promise you that his story will live on in my classroom. Every year I will tell my students what he did for us.
Jen Cutler
November 2, 2012
I never had the chance to meet you, but I wish I had. I want to thank you so much for the sacrifices you made to keep our country safe. You truly were a hero and I hope that men like you will never be forgotten.
Jill S
August 23, 2012
I will never forget our last meeting in Paris in June 2011. He was a very great man, nice. My condolences to Joanne and to all family.
Bernard Petitjean
bernard petitjean
July 9, 2012
RIP, Sir. We never met but I am grateful to you for your service to this country and for your efforts to ensure that those who fought for our freedom would not be forgotten. To my dear friend Janice and her family, my deeoest condolences. You are in my prayers.
Wendy Wilson
July 9, 2012
Grandpa i love u and miss u wish we had more time together we will meet up again some day yur life was truly a memory for everyone who knew u to remember we r blessed to have called u family :)
Cheryl Byerly
July 8, 2012
Dad, your life to me was special, even without your many public accomplishments.
Jan deVries
July 7, 2012
Joanne our deepest condolences to you and the family. Jan will be sadly missed at all our Branch ll RCL functions. He was always so willing to participate and greatly appreciated by the children and legion members he talked to. He will be remembered.
June Smith
July 5, 2012
A great loss from a hero that without tire continued a journey to inspire, influence and lead. With his wife Joanne at his side, they both made a difference. What a wonderful example for all of us to aspire to. We will miss you Jan.
Inspector Nick Lisi
July 3, 2012
On May 27th, 2012 we lost a great man! A caring loving man to his family and all who knew him. The world is a better place because of Jan and a safer one. He, with tens of thousands of other brave heroic men and women fought for our country and the freedom we cherish today. He was very instrumental in the building of the Juno Beach centre which was very dear and close to his heart. He tireless efforts have become a great information centre for years to come. He talked to every group, school, council meeting, scouts, militaries, family and friends to help keep the awareness of the presence of the Candians part on the WWII to all. I was so proud to watch on TV the day he received his metal from the Prime Minister of France. I am proud to say he was my Father-in-Law and that I had the great fortune to know Jan as closely as I did.
My deepest sympathies and condolences to the entire deVries family for this great loss. He was truly a great man!
One who will be missed by all.
Carolyn Johnstone(Chambers)
June 29, 2012
Janice, My sincere condolences to you and your family. I am proud to be related to your father through my Mothers family. As a soldier he helped us all to be free. Roland Visser
Roland Visser
June 22, 2012
As a retired member of Armed Forces,and son of a late WWII vet, and now part of CAV unit. On behalf of my family to yours we would like to offer our sincere sympathies. "They will never be forgoten".
G Gilman
June 20, 2012
God Bless the Soldier
We will remember them.
You will be remembered.
Ron Wood
June 20, 2012
Jan de Vries is my Dad. He was dedicated to the task of making sure that the history books and people knew what the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion did during the war. He always asked why he was spared during the war and he was humbled by people coming up to him and thanking him for what he did for our country. My last visit with my Dad was the weekend before he passed. I watched from the hallway as he was reading one of his many books. He loved to read. He stressed the importance of a good education and to get involved. He loved the outdoors. He enjoyed going for long walks. He was a true renaissance man. He could build anything. He was a loving father. I will miss his hugs, his smile and his advice. I will look at my son and see his Grandfather in him and I hope to guide him well so that my Dad would be proud.
Janice Hamilton-Dicker (de Vries)
June 11, 2012
We are a much better place as a nation because of men like Jan with his dedication to bringing honour to those who serve and to those who fell. May your chute always carry you to safety and your type always walk among us. Proud to have met you, saddened by your passing.
Bil Thuma
June 10, 2012
My condolences to family and friends. You fought a valiant and honourable battle. "Thank you Jan" Rest in Peace my friend.
Herman van der Veen
June 10, 2012
My condalnces to family and friends of Jan. A stalwart veteran who will be missed by many. A man who had time for all whoever they were and wherever he was. May he Rest In Peace.
Verna Burness
June 10, 2012
Your memories will live on forever and never be forgotten.
Dwayne DeVries
June 10, 2012
Jan de Vries was a symbol of all those who have worn the maroon beret of the Airborne. Their record speaks volumes of their dedication and bravery. Jan was their spokesperson and face for many years and did that job with quiet dignity. Jan ,I wish you gentle winds and soft landings. Farewell comrade, we will remember you.
Frank Smyth.CD,Airborne Veteran,Coquitlam,B.C.
Frank Smyth
June 10, 2012
On behalf of Royal Canadian Legion (Queen's Own) Branch 344 we extend our sincere condolences on the loss of another amazing Veteran. Jan always found time to have a chat and he will be missed. Until we meet again.
Executive & Members, RCL 344
June 9, 2012
He will be missed. It was an honour to know him.
Sandi Sullivan
June 9, 2012
A loss to his fellow Countrymen and the Free World, May he rest in Peace!
John Drozinski
June 9, 2012
So sorry to hear of Jans' passing. He is truly a Canadian HERO. We have been blessed with having such a great man walk among us and fight for our freedoms. He was head and shoulders above us. While I never met him I am convinced he was a humble man. God has him in his arms now. We shall never forget him and his comrades . He marches with those comrades today guarding the ramparts of Heaven. SALUTE Freedoms Warrior !
Dean Forward
June 9, 2012
Jan was my Uncle which I only discovered 5 years ago, I missed meeting my Father Harry (Hendrick) as he died before I had chance to find out about my true family tree, Jan and his wife Joanne welcomed my wife and I into the family (when they were contacted out of the blue) allowing me to meet Lucille my late sister and niece Teresa, Harry my brother and Cousin Janice with whom we still very much in contact with.
I am very proud to have met him and to hear of the tremendous amount of work he has done as President of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association for keeping the Canadian Armed Forces in the public eye.
Although I only knew him for a short time this softly spoken man will live in my heart forever.
John Reid
June 9, 2012
Our condolences to you Joanne on Jans passing...Visited the Juno centre last fall and took the attached picture...John and Patricia Gilbert
John Gilbert
June 9, 2012
We are so honoured to have known Jan. He has been a mentor,a great friend and a person who has changed our lives. We are the better for having known Jan. We are grateful for his service and in my case I thank him for the liberation of my family in the Ardennes. Jan will always have a special place in my heart. Our family will miss him.
Nancy Hamer Strahl
June 8, 2012
On behalf of The Queen's Own Rifles Of Canada Association(Toronto Branch)are deepest condolences to the de Vries family on the passing of one of Canada's outstanding Veteran and gentleman Jan de Vries. As I knew Jan & Joanne for many years it was always a pleasure to see him & Joanne at various ceremonies, Regimental functions whether it be in Canada or in Europe he always made time to greet and make conversation. He will be dearly missed.
CWO(ret'd) Brian Budden
1st Vice President
Health & Welfare Chairman
The Queen's Own Rifles Of Canada Association (Toronto Branch)
Brian Budden
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