Cornelis (Kees or Case) de Vries passed away peacefully in hospice on July 19, 2014. He was born June 28, 1944 in Amersfoort Holland. His family immigrated to Canada in April of 1953 and he became a proud Canadian (not a Dutch Canadian, but a Canadian of Dutch descent). He grew up in Vancouver and went on to the University of British Columbia where he became a teacher. While attending UBC in his carpool he met his wife Diane, and as her brother said “They got in the car and got in love.” Graduation found him with interviews with thirteen different school districts. The first interview was for the Quesnel school district and when Andy Motherwell offered him a job he left the interview and told Diane “Guess what, we’re going to Quesnel.” That was 1969 and he grew to love Quesnel where new friends became extended family. There were great dinners, evenings of cards and games, and numerous camping trips. His favourite place to visit when his children Jen and Darren were growing up was Long Beach on Vancouver Island. Many Spring Breaks were spent there.
His passion for teaching never faded during the 36 years he taught and he only ever wanted to be in a classroom. After taking his Masters Degree in Classroom Teaching at Gonzaga University he was asked what he taught and replied “Students.” He loved nothing more than to read and act out stories for his students such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Moonfleet, and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty with much enthusiasm, pomp, and often excessive noise. He wanted his students “To think, to write, and to love learning.” He said “They won’t remember what you taught them but they will remember HOW you taught them.” Only on rare occasions did he have cause to do “The Turtle.” To all his students; he loved you and liked nothing more than when you would stop him on the street to tell him about your families. He was often heard to say “See, I didn’t get mad, I just got even.”
In his retirement, Case became an avid gardener and created a sanctuary for birds and squirrels in the backyard of the de Vries home in Quesnel. He spent many hours collecting river rocks and incorporating them into his design, but had the unfortunate habit of ruining good clothes in the garden. Case was a passionate collector of Magic The Gathering Cards and funded this habit (to the chagrin of his children) by collecting bottles to recycle and returning buggies to Safeway and Save On. He was a member of the Oinkers and enjoyed all their gatherings. His family will remember him in games of Canasta where he was the only winner of both family Canasta Trophies. He can also boast at having had two 29 hands in crib. He loved good scotch and hated all cheeses.
Case is survived by a large extended family and group of friends. At his request there will be no service. At the request of his wife, who has already received several beautiful bouquets, please consider donations in Case’s memory to Quesnel Community Foundation instead of flowers. Stories of remembrance are welcome. Please send stories to firstname.lastname@example.org