Jan de VRIES C.M.

Obituary
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  • "I will never forget our last meeting in Paris in June 2011...."
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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 the Toronto Star on June 9, 2012
bullet U.S. Army bullet World War II