William “Bill” Van Breda of Harwich Township passed away peacefully at home in his sleep in his 92nd year on January 30, 2015. Bill was born and raised in Holland by his late parents Hendrik & Hendrika (Lith) and came to Canada in 1948 where he settled in Shakespeare Ontario before settling in the Blenheim area. During WWII he was in a forced labour camp in Germany until he escaped and joined the Resistance. He hid from the Germans for three years sleeping in trees, ditches, hay lofts and narrowly escaped capture several times. Once Bill settled in the Blenheim area he worked drilling for gas and oil throughout Ontario and Quebec and also grew tobacco on his beloved farm for many years until his retirement. Bill is survived by his loving wife Cathy Van Breda (Crow) his dear brother Joe Van Breda of St. Catherine’s and his beloved sister Els (Toon) Hackkert of Holland. He is also survived by his extended family Carrie Opavsky of London, Lorrie (Tim) Vandersluis of London and Shellie (Terry) Sawyer of Guelph. Grandchildren Rowan & Ayden Bourdeau of Guelph and Nathan (Mel) Trudell of Chatham. Also survived by his brother and sister in law, Tom (Kathy) Burke, Carol Schade, Glen (Connie) Burk of Chatham, Freda (Blaine) Montague of Calgary Alberta and Sue (Terry) Hind of Ottawa. He is survived by several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews both in Canada and Holland. His good friends Jack Van Boxtel & Bill Eenink will miss their frequent visits with Bill and reminiscing about living in Holland. Bill will be deeply missed by his personal Bayshore PSW’s Mary Ann Dreveny and Deb VanGassen who for many years provided much love and support to the Van Breda family.
Bill was predeceased by his first wife Denise (Van Waes) in 2000 and by his sisters Henny, Corry, Audrey and Giet and his brothers Jan-Dirk and Wymond.
Bill was a hard working kind gentle man with a big smile that made you feel welcome and was loved by many. He took great pride in his gardening and he provided many local families with fresh produce over the years. He loved spending his retirement years on the farm in his greenhouse with his best canine friend Molly who passed away this past November.
A Celebration of Bill’s life was held at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Tuesday February 3, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. with Fr. Bill Capitano officiating. Cremation followed. Friends wishing to remember Bill with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Blenheim Food Bank. Online condolences for the family and memorial donations may be left at www.blenheimcommunityfuneralhome.com