Guest Book

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  1. I have many memories of Andy as he was my big brother and I always looked up to him. Playing sports was a big part of our time spent together. It included hockey on roller skates, basketball….which I got pretty good at and tossing the football from one end of the yard to the other. Andy also loved playing board games and he played them with whoever was around. Hiking was a big part of my experience with Andy. He loved going on adventures and hikes and I went on many of them which I am grateful. I would have never seen those places….like Diamond Head and Black Tusk, to name a few. Some of the hikes were overnighters which really challenged me, but I did it.
    We also did lots of cross country ski trips around Whistler and he always encouraged us to keep going when we wanted to quit. One time I was so tired, I just wanted to lie in the snow, but Andy wouldn’t let me….which was a good thing.
    He loved to go to hockey games in the big arena, but we didn’t always pay the ticket price. We would just stand in the back of the arena, watching for empty seats, and then during the first intermission we’d go and sit down to watch the rest of the game.
    In 1970, when I was only 16, Andy and I took a special trip together in his VW bug. The plan was to drive south along the coast, and on the first day, we had nothing but rain. The car broke down that day after driving it so hard, and we landed in Astoria on the Oregon Coast. The repairs were going to take 3 days, so Andy and I found a place to stay….a big house with rooms to rent but it was kind of a sketchy place, as that was all we could afford. After the car was fixed we continued driving south, stopping in every town that had a DQ, because we knew the food was good and the ice cream too.
    Andy took lots of pictures on that trip and one time he climbed over a hill to take pictures of the ocean and he didn’t return. I thought he disappeared over the edge but then he finally showed up again.
    I’m not sure where we ended up on that trip, but I do know that it was a memorable experience.
    Andy had a great love for nature and loved to climb mountains. On one road trip we made, he pointed out all the mountains by name and told me which ones he climbed, and the ones still on his list. Something about conquering mountains gave him a sense of accomplishment….rightly so.
    Andy was a special brother to me and we always got along well. His love for nature inspired me to go out and see the world. His love for music was infectious… it broadened my world with the wide range of tunes that Andy listened to. He was one of a kind, and I will miss him dearly.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of Andy ‘s passing. Andy was so professional, always a pleasure to chat with, and upbeat every time I saw him! I am so grateful he made it to our last Christmas gathering, I had a great visit with him. My condolences to his family and friends, it’s a great loss.

  3. Dear Mary and family
    My deepest condolences to you all. Andy’s life was a life well lived, a life of faith, family and a beautiful appreciation for God’s creation.
    My heart and prayers are with you.
    Praying our Lord’s Hand of peace and comfort over you.
    Blessings ~
    Laurel Zwaagstra

  4. Several years ago I was sitting with family and and I started talking about my interest in wanting to start hiking. Uncle Andy perks right up from across the room and excitedly starts asking me which hikes I have on my list for the summer, and eagerly begins listing off his top recommendations. Fast forward a few weeks later and we are gearing up in the parking with uncle Andy, auntie Mary, and two of my friends, looking up at what would be our “short” 22km hike. The first bit was tough but uncle Andy strode up the switchbacks with ease, bounded straight up the choppy rocks, and when we stopped to rest I swear he wasn’t even sweating. I remember his energy, his love for life, his excitement in sharing his knowledge of the trail, and his never fading smile from ear to ear. To say he loved the outdoors is quite the understatement. I think he lived and breathed it. Uncle Andy, your zest for life was contagious. Thank you for helping ignite my love for exploring the outdoors. Although the photos of that day are gone, the memories remain. You have often come to mind when I am out on trails, and I know you will continue to do so. I hope I can experience even half the outdoor adventures you’ve had. May you rest now. All the love.

  5. The Friendship of Andy January 23, 2021
    I was honored to be asked to speak at the celebration of Andy’s life about my friendship with Andy. Andy and I were long-time friends. I am so much richer with Andy having been a part of my life.
    Our friendship grew as he and Mary, and then a few months later, Colleen and I were married, and our families grew. We participated in so many activities together, our children’s schooling, cross country skiing, picnics, sports, camping and, road tripping – the back and forth of food, tools, lending a hand, and ball hockey in the back lane.
    One of the many wonderful character traits of Andy was his invitational heart. So many of you experienced Andy the same way. It was Andy’s wanderlust for the adventure that was a common influence on many of you.
    He introduced us to the outdoors in all its variety. Inviting us to go on adventures, attend films, concerts, sports events, and lectures.
    There are so many common attributes that were shared about Andy in the on-line Guest Book.
    I’m sure that, if you have read them, you said with me, AMEN, or at least, YES! Exactly! You know of his good humour, helpfulness, caring, showing interest, and his organizational skills.
    He was also fastidious in all he did and sometimes to the point of annoyance. Yet that trait was valuable and, it was an important influence for me to get my act together. This attention to detail was a big reason for him being very much appreciated in his volunteering activities and his success in his work. It certainly kept us from major mishaps on our adventures.
    And then there is that character trait that many of you shared, “Indefatigable”. He was usually in the lead, and when someone might dare to want to be in the lead he gracefully gave way. He always wanted to see beyond the next ridge, get to the pinnacle, and he most often did, not only with his outdoor pursuits but also with his illness.
    I don’t recall him saying no when I asked if he could be part of something or help – whether it was the school board, church council, groundskeeping at church, or just lending a hand. He was a willing helper to so many: Journey Home, the schools our children attended, church, and when he could, being there for us and for many others.
    Nearing the end, Andy still was striving to get better. Even after the awful terminal diagnosis, he tried his best to keep on living to the fullest, not focusing on dying but always expecting and trying to get stronger. He downloaded the Strava app and expressed pride in his accomplishment of 1k and then 3k and then 5k walks.
    Andy didn’t talk very much about his challenges; He would generally change the subject by asking what I was doing and how I was. But I was privileged that he did share more deeply what he was going through, and that he didn’t fear passing on.
    I shared a “Kontakion” on the quest book. Perhaps you’ve listened to it.
    It ends with “yet even at the grave we make our song Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Andy would likely be saying as he views the scenes before him now, “Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!”

  6. Dear Mary and family,

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Andy. Being part of NACC for over 30 years, Andy has always just been part of my life. I remember Andy for his positive outlook on life, despite his health challenges. He never let that define him. The way he lived his life really made an impression on me and has helped me in my journey with. health challenges.

    My first memory was about Andy. It was 30+ years ago. Andy was in the hospital and it was very serious, even life threatening. I remember being at a prayer meeting for him and pleading with God to heal him. And God did and gave him many more years! Years where he showed us what it is to really live life and live out of one’s faith.

    As a Deacon and in other ways, Andy also taught me to care for the “least of these”. He was my introduction of
    Social Justice. I am grateful for his leadership in helping us as a church to look beyond ourselves and care for others.

    Mary, I pray that God will be your comfort and strength during the days and weeks ahead. Your incredible care for Andy has also caused me to reflect on what love is really all about. As you look up at the mountains, remember that God your maker is present with you. (Psalm 121)

  7. From Ernie Gross
    I first worked with Andy in 2004 and he was always full of design knowledge and the consultants would sometimes call him to pick his brain. He was always willing to share his knowledge to improve the highway design. He was really missed by the design crew in Burnaby after he retired in 2010, and he will be missed by his family now and in the future.

  8. Dear Andy,

    I thought I’d leave some words here, but there are tears in my eyes.

    As time goes by, the wonderful moments are like the scattered pearls during the twelve years I have known you. In the early days I came to NACC, I recall we had a chat at the fellowship hall, you told me to feel like home here. Your smile is still fresh in my memory. You are a great leader of our Outreach Ministry, We left our steps at Buntzen lake, Seymour mountain and the Sun Run training trial. It was my honour to serve along with you as deacons at NACC. Your sharing at church is so encouraging, and I loved the song ever since, Your Grace is Enough.

    Those are small pieces, but are more than enough to tell the world who you are. Thank you.

  9. We have known Andy and Mary for 18 years and have fond memories of many occasions at household BBQ’s, a toast at Christmas or a simple summer evening visit. It has been our privilege to know Andy; an articulate, generous and always gracious man of deep character and humility. We remember his guidance and his enthusiasm as we ran the Longest Day 10K at UBC . Andy was genuinely pleased that we joined them for the run. We will miss his wisdom and his warmth; his laughter at get togethers. Andy will always live on in our hearts.
    Our sincere condolences to Mary and family. We love you and wish you peace. Bill & Bev

  10. I first met Andy in 1991 when I joined the Project Management Group (BC MoT) after a 17 year career in paving. I was so wet behind the ears, trying to sort out what it meant to be a PM Tech and what all the business units were and what they did and that how that tied into what I was now doing.

    Andy was the Designer for the Gibsons Bypass project that I was first assigned to. He was so patient with me and helpful as I learned my way. Later, when I had my first significant project as a new Project Manager, I was so blessed to have Andy as Designer on that team.

    When Andy was on your team, you never had to have a worry or care that anything was going to slip through the cracks. He was again so helpful as a mentor to me, reminding me of some of the things that were actually on my plate that I shouldn’t let slip through the cracks. Always with the greatest respect and kindness.

    Andy was so humble, and gracious. I never heard him utter a negative word. He really lived and breathed his faith and was such an example of a life well lived. More than a mentor, Andy was a role model I was so thankful to have known.

    My wife and I pray for God’s perfect peace for Mary and their family during these sad days of loss.


  11. We Remember You
    Adapted from a Jewish prayer

    In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
    we remember you
    In the crashing of the waves and the shore birds finding rest,
    We remember you
    In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
    We remember you
    In the mountain peaks of snow and the clouds in puffs of white,
    We remember you
    When we are weary and in need of strength,
    We remember you
    with music in the air at home, en route and with folk,
    we remember you
    in the beginning of the year and when it ends,
    we remember you
    in the crisp white snow, in fresh ski tracks,
    we remember you
    When we have joys we yearn to share,
    We remember you
    So long as we live, you too shall live, for you are now a part of us,
    as we remember you.

  12. Best wishes Mary, and the rest of the family. My memories with Andy, though brief, are incredibly positive. Strength, best wishes and see you soon.

  13. My fondest memory of Andy is when he took us hiking up Mt. Baker. I had just moved from Ontario as an eighteen year to the big city and found myself included as part of the Burnaby Young Peoples. I love the mountains so Andy took us gals to Mt Baker for my first hike up a mountain. He was so patient with us as it was a little tougher on us than it was on him. But what a day we had. Today I am blessed to be living in Abbotsford with a view of Mt. Baker. Andy showed us how to see the majesty of nature around us. It is a memory I cherish and am forever thankful for.

  14. I am so sorry to hear about Andy. He was a man of principle. My deepest condolences to the family.

  15. Cori Aalhuizen
    The love of God shining through Andy and Mary…….touching so many lives——amazing!
    God’s Comfort to you Mary and your whole family.

  16. Andy and Mary welcomed me into ventures that would have not been a part of my life if they had not been a part of my life. To name a few, they introduced me to hiking (most memorable the West Coast Trail in the late 70s), kayaking (Bowen Island, Indian Arm), snowshoeing (Manning Park and waiting for those Whisky Jacks) and cross-country skiing. So many memories of good times. I will always remember an overnight trip in Garibaldi Provincial Park between Christmas and New Year one year. True to form, Andy invited a less-than-prepared hiker that we met along the way to join our group, providing him with food, some form of bedding, a bit of floor space in our shelter and a place to be for the cold night ahead.
    Andy delighted in talking about his family – Mary, their children/spouses, and grandchildren. Thanks to your family for all the pictures that have been shared.
    Andy was constantly always asking questions about a myriad of issues, places, events and other people. In spite of the challenges he faced so fearlessly, he was the eternal optimist, what can I say. Andy always saw possibility and helped so many others to do the same. Andy, thanks for being a great challenger, encourager and friend.

  17. Andy loved the outdoors, as many have already attested. If he wasn’t planning a future trip or actually on one, he was quite likely watching another mountaineering film festival which he readily organized and invited all his friends to join.

    My favourite memories of my brother Andy are all the trips we took together; often with others. Andy was forever dreaming and planning new trips. One of the first memorable ones was three brothers and a friend climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro at the turn of the millennium. After completing the climb, we went on an overnight safari and then a trip to Zanzibar to rest our weary legs.

    Numerous multi-day kayak trips were taken over the years. One year the destination was Broughton Archipelago. We planned to cross Johnstone Strait around slack tide, knowing the currents to be significant. Upon arriving at the other side it became apparent that we had slightly miscalculated. While my wife and I maneuvered as close to the shoreline as possible to avoid the fastest water, Andy and Mary were valiantly paddling through the faster currents in the middle of the channel.

    On our last day we had to once again cross Johnstone Strait, somewhat disappointed at not having seen any whales in what was well known to be a popular killer whale sighting area. Then out in the distance we spotted a few whales, heading our way. My wife and I in our double kayak and my younger brother Edwin in his single adjusted our speed and path to avoid the oncoming whales. Andy did not. He casually continued on in exactly the same path and speed, anticipating that the whales might surface very close to his boat, which they did. He was determined to get as close as possible. A few minutes later a Zodiac filled with enthusiastic “whale keepers” came up to Andy, admonishing him for getting too close to the whales. He calmly replied, “they came to me, I was simply paddling toward shore.” Classic Andy, calm and fearless.

    Other kayak destinations included Desolation Sound, The Broken Islands, Saturna Island, Haida Gwaii, the Bowron Lake Circuit and lastly, a trip to Mexico to paddle in the Gulf of California.

    I also fondly remember many of the hikes we went on, snowshoeing in winter and day hikes in summer. Andy had a great recall of all the local mountains, happily pointing out each of the distant peaks.

    I always admired Andy and what he accomplished in spite of his Crohn’s disease. It didn’t slow him down; at least not for long. It actually seemed to stoke his passion for further adventures. Several years ago I was invited to join Andy along with a group of his climbing buddies. It was there that I was told his nickname was The Legend. But I also remember Andy as a kind and giving person, whether it was storage space in his garage or borrowing snowshoes.

    I’ve always looked up to my “big brother” Andy, who loved his family, loved his friends and loved God’s creation. He was not driven to pursue fame or fortune and I am proud to have had him my brother – memories cherished but forever missed. I love you, big brother.

  18. I am very sorry to hear of Andy’s passing. My sincere condolences to Mary & family.
    I first met Andy in about 1972, when he was on my survey crew, working on Sumas Mountain for the Ministry of Highways, so we have known each other a long time.
    Andy last came to visit me a few years ago at the Quay in New Westminster. (That visit
    has a special significance for me now that he has passed.) We had coffee and reminisced about the good old days of surveying and the camaraderie involved.
    Andy was very interested to know that my neighbours directly across the river were a nesting pair of bald eagles. He wanted to know if he could view them through my telescope, which I agreed. While adjusting the scope for him it brought back memories of setting up transits in our former survey days.I recall Andy’s very keen interest at the time about learning all he could about highway survey.
    Whenever I use that same scope now, it reminds me of our last visit and how much Andy enjoyed watching the eagles that day.
    Andy was always very kind,pleasant,thoughtful & a pleasure to work with.
    I always admired the way he handled his health challenges & never complained. He was a real trooper.
    He had an inner peace, strength & a sense of calmness. He was a real inspiration!
    I was very pleased to have known him & know that he will be missed by all that had the pleasure of his friendship.
    Until we meet again Andy!

  19. Seeing these posts and pictures took me back to 1976-77 when Mary shared my apartment, and was engaged to Andy. I found my calendar from that time – full of activities and action: singing “the Hallel”, hiking up a mountain, cross-country ski treks, concerts, and 6 of us hiking the West Coast Trail in August ’76. I met John and we planned our weddings… and then we moved away in 1978. Those were rich, formative times for us all. Andy’s Crohns meant a special diet for him, but he did not let that sideline his leadership and enthusiasm. “Andy & Mary” were a team!
    In the years since, occasional trips to BC included a visit, sometimes a hike. Once, Andy was in the hospital. More recently you welcomed our adult children when they visited BC. Nelvia, Jack and Carrie also extend their love and appreciation and condolences as we mourn Andy’s death and celebrate his new life. Blessings to you all.

  20. I met Andy through his role as a deacon at Nelson Avenue Community Church. In his desire to lead and to make a difference, he reached out to us to see if the church could make a difference in the lives of local refugee families. He organized food hamper projects and was involved in raising awareness and support for refugee ministry through riding his bike. I appreciated his passion, thoughtfulness, and action-orientation. He loved the cause of justice and care for those who are vulnerable. We have so appreciated his input and connection over the years. In addition, I know he also volunteered his time to make the community at John Knox Christian School a better place. Our kids both attended and saw Andy at work. They remember him as a very kind and caring person. What a great man. I am sorry for your loss and am praying for your family.

  21. Dear Mary, family and friends:

    Both the Braacx family and the Van Hove family, after arriving from Holland, put down roots in Burnaby and with other Dutch immigrants established the First Christian Reformed Church. Although we knew of each other’s families it was only much, much later that I got to know Andy. I have had a love of the outdoors for all my life just like Andy which included canoeing, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, fishing, exploring, and meeting people from different cultures all around the world. At home they called me ” Nature Boy “. It was through my younger brother John and Andy who invited me to join them in climbing mountains. I have done many canoe trips all over BC so I was very interested in learning mountain climbing skills and jumped at the chance. Not only do you need the skills and teamwork but to really get to know and trust your fellow climbers. Roped up to Andy and fellow climbers on glaciers, camping and living on snow, sharing experiences in the outdoors with fellow likeminded enthusiasts will remain with me forever, especially getting to know Andy. In climbing Matier, Rainier, Shuksan and travelling to Africa with his brothers Mike and Edwin to climb Kilimanjaro, going on safari and tenting in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater and finally resting on Zanzibar, I really got to know Andy even more. Andy, in spite of his battle with Crohn’s Disease, has been such an inspiration to me. He showed me how to take on life as it comes in such a positive attitude that takes your breath away. He showed perseverance , thoughtfulness, caring and reverence for others and nature. He was a great team player, a relaxed and thoughtful friend that I will miss a lot . He and these experiences resulted in me joining Coquitlam Search and Rescue for 10 years. He himself was involved in the community and church and volunteering on mission trips. I have never heard him complain once.

    I will end with how he was such a steadying influence and his positive determination on our climb on Kilimanjaro. We arrived in Tanzania and landed at the airport and our luggage did not arrive. It was a number of days before it arrived so he had to do without all his gear and special food and medicine. He kept a positive, cool attitude and things worked out in the end. First travelling through the rain and mud, then through a heather zone and gaining altitude in a slow ” Poley Poly ” walk. Finally it was the last day to the summit and all of us had headaches and feeling tired and more so with Andy, but with a determination, we all were able to make it to the top. Such inspiration, such determination! He put so much living in the time that he was with us. Thanks Andy for being such an inspiration and a great friend!

    Just to know the character of my friend , Andy, I think of Clint Eastwood and his attitude when he was asked how he does all the acting and directing and being busy and active even in old age. He replied, ” I just don’t let the old man in “. Andy has demonstrated that same determination for living the good life no matter the obstacles. I salute you, friend!

  22. It was way back in the 80s. Andy and Mary were living on 13th Ave. with their young family and Andy was ill. A nasty flare up of his Crohn’s. We stopped by and while talking with Andy I was struck by his cheerfulness, his asking how I was doing, his positive attitude. I asked him “Andy, how do you do it—staying so positive while dealing with a chronic illness?” He looked surprised. “Every morning, when I wake up” he said,” I’m just grateful for another day.” I’ve never forgotten that short conversation. Andy demonstrated so well how to live each day fully. He loved the warmth of the sun, the taste of good food, family, friends, helping others, listening to music, going to the Mountain Film Festival, and the great outdoors. He did not take his days for granted. He was never a cup half empty guy, but always seemed to see his cup as pretty full. Thank you, Andy, for being such a wonderful example of how to live life fully.

    Mary, you too, are an amazing example. You have demonstrated so well, especially these last couple of years, what love looks like. Andy would not have had these past 2 years if it were not for your amazing care of him. Who would have thought that you would be running TPN and transitioning from being a teacher to being a “private duty nurse” 24/7 taking care of a myriad of tasks which gave Andy another couple of years of life. Your commitment, your support, your faithful and loving care, your putting the other first have been such a wonderful example of how to love fully.
    With love,

  23. To my dear brother Andy,
    I am grieving your loss, and am realizing how much of your life I missed. Our paths went different ways and I didn’t get to share in any of your adventures.
    I love the passion you had for the outdoors, the determination you exemplified time and time again after your illness would knock you down and you chose to rise up with new vigor and strength. That made you a winner in life!
    I’ve just learned a new word and it reminds me of you….
    adjective: indefatigable
    (of a person or their efforts) persisting tirelessly.”an indefatigable defender of human rights”
    Similar: tireless, untiring,unwearied, unflagging,energetic,dynamic,enthusiastic, unrelenting, relentless,unremitting,unswerving,unfaltering,unshakeable,
    indomitable, persistent,tenacious,determined,dogged,single-minded,assiduous,industrious.

    All these words describe you so well! I admire you so much and I never had the chance to tell you. I wish I had more time spent with you; reflecting on songs you were enjoying, trails you were blazing and making memories that now I can only see through your pictures.

    Your achievements were truly remarkable, the mountaintops you reached truly deserved the big smiles you have in all your pictures.

    I’m grateful for the special woman God gave you, you loved her so well, and she stood by your side so faithfully through sickness and health. What a gift!

    If only you could read the wonderful things people are now writing in your guestbook. The word which keeps coming up is ‘inspiration’. You have left a remarkable legacy behind. You left us too soon Andy but you sure lived life to the fullest and you’ve inspired many to do the same.
    I love you and miss you.

    You will always be the big brother I wish I could’ve known better.

    P.s. family- I have a photo I’d like to share with this excerpt but not sure how to attach it.

  24. Thank you, Andy, for knowing you and for working with you together in the outreach ministry and you as the chair of deacons, me, staff. You encouraged me to snow shoeing so I got to see the beauty on the top of the mountain. You did a lot of services behind the scenes, always offering yourself without complaints but cheerful heart. You were a loving brother and a godly man. Good-bye, Andy, until we meet again!

  25. Sad news indeed. Andy was infinitely patient, intelligent and caring in all my interactions with him over the years. And he had the best sense of humour! It was a pleasure to work on a project with Andy because you knew you were going to have the best designs. Condolences to Andy’s family and all who knew him. —Sharon Goddard

  26. Andy… Some of us were privileged to share in your many adventures.
    Your love of high places brought us together. Your stamina, perseverance and will to see things through were a true inspiration to me! You left us with many wonderful memories to look back on, and when we revisit those special places we will remember you.
    Andy, I will miss your beautiful smile…

  27. When the Ministry speaks of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities ……. Andy exemplified what those terms meant and stood for, most especially when it came to Highway Design. I will miss his wisdom and experience however more than that, I will miss Andy. He was indeed an inspiration, in so many different ways, and to so many!! Good bye my friend…….

  28. Reflecting on the impact Andy had on our life, I went back through photos. Andy and Mary got John and I into snow shoeing, the most memorable trip being Dec 2012 when they took us up Hollyburn one Saturday night under a full moon. It was a spectacular night. After that we went out for dinner at a pub. John and I were hooked on snow shoeing after that trip. Andy also led many NACC trips as part of the outreach ministry. He inspired me to start running and he formed the running group from NACC for the Sun Run in 2013.

  29. Dear Andy,
    Yesterday I got a little closer to you… hiking in the snow up in the hills, taking in the beauty and peace that comes with time in nature. No, I didn’t summit any peaks, but I sure thought about you and what drew you to the mountains that you so loved. You were a dear brother to me… you showed me what strength and resiliency looked like. You were kind and caring and interested in my life. I always knew I could count on you. You lived your life with focus and determination and I always admired that. My memories of you and your beautiful smile will live in my heart forever. ❤️
    “Go rest high on that mountain, Son your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a-shoutin, love for the Father and the Son.” Vince Gill

  30. I’ll always remember the 25 year MOTH awards ceremony in Victoria which Andy, Mary, my wife Betty and I attended in 2000. I’ll miss Andy.

  31. Dearest Mary,
    Too many memories stand out, but one of my favourites is this one: your too good to be true goodbye-present: hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. Andy knew the way or else how to read the map, what to take along, how to dress, what not to forget, how to pack, how to cook, how to put up the tent, how to cope with unexpected roadblocks, and also how to relax, how to take a shower in a waterfall, how to enjoy life. The same is true of our (camping) trip to Black Tusk. Andy knew what he did, and I felt safe because of his confidence and experience. I think I felt as brave as your sister-in-law Trudy, when we had to stand to the freezing cold at night, and break the ice to make a hole in the lake the next morning, to get water for washing and cooking…

    And what would I do without Cat Stevens (morning has broken), Neil Diamond (Jonathan Livingston Seagull), and Gordon Lightfoot (the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)?! I cherish those evenings we spent together back in the seventies, in Peter’s house, a log-fire going and candles burning, when I was introduced by Andy and his friend(s) to singers, I had, up till then, never heard of. Just arrived in BC after my Dutch high school years, it just all proved one huge adventure, to be immersed in a different culture that made me feel right away at home, because of the people. Andy was so welcoming and interested. I appreciated his straightforwardness, and I felt challenged by him whenever I expressed my opinion, to motivate my views as well. I came to love him for his integrity and gentle personality. And because he loved you ; ).

    It has always amazed me how, in spite of all the difficulties his illness caused him, Andy kept living to the full.

    The last time I came to Canada in 2011, Andy picked me up from the airport, and it felt like home to see him. You still had to work, so he took me canoeing and biking and we visited your classroom. With the 3 of us we went to the Chinese moon celebration, the retirement party of one of your friends, and we had a hamburger and coffee on the terrace of the Village Taphouse. Their slogan is: ‘It’s good to be here’. With this slogan I can refer to Andy and to you; it has always been good, and a lot of fun to be with you. And so is this site; a good place to be (thank you Jeremy and Sean).
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Lots of Love(l)

  32. My first major memory of Uncle Andy was climbing Mt. Indefatigable near Kananaskis (I think). It’s a fitting memory as indefatigable is a wonderful word to describe Andy. He was always pushing for the next ridge and always with that same assured smile. I wish that I knew him better, but from what I knew, he inspired me not to settle, but rather to push through challenges in life. I loved the calmness that he had about him – it spoke of a man confident and at peace with his way through the world. A peace I don’t always have but strive for.

    Andy and I went on a quick little hike together up Elk Mountain near Chilliwack after I’d completed some schooling. I’d just finished an alpine ecology course and used exploring the plants and rocks near the top of the mountain as an excuse to take breaks from the pace Andy was setting. He, at 60 years old, leant 23 year old me his trekking poles to help my knees on the descent.

    Another good memory is our kayaking trip. Though mom swore she’d never kayak again, I enjoyed it thoroughly and it was an instance where I engaged in something I never would have without Andy pushing for farther and higher. I think that trip helped spark confidence in my athletic abilities and showed me that I can overcome fears. I know that if we’d lived closer growing up, we would have gone on many more such adventures – but alas, I’ll have to settle on joining Uncle Andy on the last final adventure when God takes me home too.

    Much love to the whole Braacx family during these days. We are thinking about you often.

  33. I was so very sorry to hear of Andy’s passing. He was always such a lovely gentleman to all of the ladies upstairs. Always a smile and many times a snicker of laughter when he would listen to the ladies stories in the lunchroom. He will surely be missed by all of his colleagues and friends. My heart goes out to his family at this most difficult time.

  34. I was blessed to have been on a short term Mexico Mission Trip with Andy in 2007. If you would like I could email some pictures of Andy on that trip. I remember he had such a natural calming influence on the chaos that sometimes (almost always) revolves around these trips. Always, always enjoyed talking to him and only wish I could have talked with him more about his Mt. Kilimanjaro trip. What a great guy!

  35. Hallo Mary,
    Als vriendin van Trudy en Arie en Edwin wil ik jou en de kinderen/kleinkinderen condoleren met het verlies van Andy. Ik heb Andy en jou maar een paar keer gezien toen ik in Canada was maar op de prachtige foto’s die ik zag zien jullie er nog hetzelfde uit.!
    Heel veel sterkte en Vertrouwen!
    Lieve groeten vanuit Nederland
    Thea Op den Camp

  36. I have known Andy, Mary and their family since 1984, when I first came to Canada to stay with Conrad and Leni Vander Kamp as an Au’pair.
    My thoughts are with Mary and the entire family. May you be surrounded by God’s peace. Till we meet again,


  37. Andy saying “goodbye Peter” to me a couple of days before he left us will always be a precious memory. We had just had our last halting conversation. I said, “I haven’t gotten into the mountains yet this year, Andy. Remember some of our hikes?” “Seymour, he said, the “second pump” is called Tim Jones now. You can see the lake from there.”
    Seymour certainly was not his biggest climb. Maybe the regular climbs going upward after going downhill health-wise were, but he seemed to always push forward and look upward. He always wanted to see what was on the other side of the ridge or the view from the top and always wanted to get stronger.

    We go back 45 years. From before the time my brainless dog chewed up a beautiful bible Mary had just gifted him he stayed my friend anyway -through our weddings, raising 4 children each, being neighbors, and going on many outings with our families.

    Andy was always invitational at heart, inviting me more than I invited him to go outside. The biggest challenges for me, but not Andy’s, were the most memorable, such as Baker, Rainier, Matier. I would not have had the experiences I had and the mutual family friendship without Andy. I know that his many other outdoor buddies would say the same.

    Andy also was willing. When I asked him to join me in volunteer activities, he always said yes. School board, church council, gardening on the church grounds, and supporting those in need.

    He showed no fear when we did speak of dying. He seemed to accept his condition even though he always tried to climb above it.

    I am certain that he has found this true:
    “Give rest unto your servant with your saints O God. Where there is neither pain nor sorrow, neither sighing, but life everlasting. For you God only are immortal; the creator and the maker of all, and we are mortal formed of the earth, and to the earth we shall return. For so did you ordain when you created me saying: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return, all of us go down to the dust, yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”
    KONTAKION Text: From the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy, Music by R. Lang

  38. I didn’t see Andy much at the Highways office, as our jobs were just different. When our paths did cross, I remember Andy to be very kind and considerate. He was always smiling and cheerful. I was saddened to hear about Andy’s passing. Andy was here for only a short time but he is just on another part of his journey now. We will all miss him. I have faith that we will see him again, one day. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with Mary and Andy’s family.

  39. I would visit Andy in his corner office at the old Burnaby regional office on an almost daily basis. I would go see Andy for a number of reasons; if I had any questions about ministry standards and specifications, Andy always helped me out; I would visit Andy to get a break away from my work and just to say hi and on more than one occasion, I would visit Andy to vent about an issue or a person in the Ministry. Andy was always a great listener and I always felt less stressed after my visits.

    It was always fun to see Andy (and Mary) up at Whistler. There were always several conversations about their most recent hiking and snow shoeing adventures, travel stories and extended family over a glass of wine. After my retirement, I did enjoy snow shoeing a couple of times up at Seymour Mountain with Andy and his brother.

    I have been thinking about Andy over the last year and I regret not calling him months ago just to say hi. I will miss him but I have my fond memories.

    Take care Mary and Family.

  40. So sorry to hear about the passing of Andy. Bob Andy Keith and I worked on the same design and he was a pleasure to be around. He loved the outdoor activities and was a great family man. My deepest condolences to Mary and his family

  41. The best memories I have of Andy ,is introducing Wil and I to new outdoor activities including, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, overnight backpacking and hiking, in the great and beautiful outdoors of B.C.
    We went to Mt. Baker,cross-country skiing when Rebecca was a baby. It didn’t go so well, but wetted our appetite for more.
    We went to Vancouver Island, camping with our young families at Cowichan Lake ,then taking logging roads to the west coast where we camped at China beach and explored some of the Juan de Fuca trail.
    We went snowshoeing one time at Mt Seymour and also at Hemlock Valley.
    We went kayaking for the first time for a week in the Broken Islands, from Ucluelet. What a great, beautiful time along with Lindsey, Hilary and Hannah. We bought our own kayaks after that trip.
    I remember going with Andy, Mary and Edwin to Keremeos ,where we were driven up to Cathedral Park by 4×4. We camped and hiked for a few days on the mountains, with all kinds of beautiful rock formations and views. We even came up close to a big white mountain goat.
    We also went with a larger group from the church to Joffrey Lakes, overnight camping and hiking up to the peaks with Andy and Ken Ng.
    Also with a larger group, including Andy, we attempted to summit Mt. Rainier. We made it to 12,000 ft. before one of us got altitude sickness and we all had to turn back.
    Andy, Pete Van Ooyen and I ran many 10 km races together.
    Andy loved the outdoors and was always planning the next adventure.
    Thank you Andy and Mary for inviting us along so many times. We always knew that Andy was well prepared and we trusted his leading.
    Andy was a fighter, always optimistic, never complaining about his chronic Crohn’s disease. He always bounced back after his many operations.
    Andy was a solid man of Faith. He was open to volunteer and share his life with others. Andy was a faithful friend! Till we meet again. Love John and Wil de Kleer

  42. Dear Christy and family. Our deepest condolences. Thank you for this site so that we could see your dad’s story. You are in our prayers.

    -Dezene, Joyel, and the boys

  43. I heard an Dutch expression saying ”
    het leven draait om vallen en opstaan”, Life is all about falling and standing up. In my limited encounters with Andy he always demonstrated such a positive attitude and after many physical set backs he continually planned and achieved filling his days with LIFE.

    Thank you Andy for your inspiration

  44. I am mourning Andy the way I mourned my father, because he was like a second father to me and a grand father to my children. Although he liked them to call him ( Uncle Andy). He would help my family whenever we needed help. He never objected the idea of driving my children and I to Church. He took my son, Exa biking and taught him that a man never changes his décision after making it. Yes, I have lots of good things to say about him. 😭We will miss him a lot! Exa is very saddened by this news that he doesn’t even wants to express his feelings!
    Rest in peace, Andy! You will always be in our memories!

  45. I remember walking with Andy at lunch time…watching him kiss Mary through the chain link fence at the school where she taught…attending pre-construction meetings where Andy chaired the meeting and fielded all questions to the point where other branches wondered why they even bothered to come…going to coffee with him in later years and seeing him grin and laugh even though he spent his nights hooked up to an IV bag. He had it all…brains, good humour, courage and Mary’s love.

    But there is something else I really admired in Andy. There’s an expression we had in the Ministry…” leaving money on the table.” We used it to describe a contractor who bid a job too low since a higher bid would have also won the contract. In other words that contractor wasted cash he could have had – he “left money on the table.” Andy climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, kayaked the Queen Charlottes, hiked almost every mountain in the Northwest and did a lot of things I’m probably not even close to listing. Andy lived his life well and to the fullest always, so when he left, there was nothing undone – he wasted none of it and left nothing on the table. Kudos, old friend!

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