Andy Braacx was born in the city of Rotterdam, Holland during the spring of 1951. At the age of 3, he immigrated to Canada with his parents Nel & Jan Braacx who settled in Burnaby, BC.
Andy was the eldest of 7 siblings, who grew up together in their home in Burnaby. After highschool, Andy completed some engineering courses UBC and BCIT, before getting a job at the BC Ministry of Highways (later Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure) as a highway design technician. He worked there for 35 years, the vast majority of his professional career, before retiring in 2010.
Andy met Mary through a church choir group in 1975 while Mary was attending school at SFU. They quickly hit it off and were married in 1977. In October of 1980, Andy became a father of his first daughter, Christy. Her birth was followed by Jeremy, Lindsey and Hilary, spaced almost an even 2 years apart from each other. The family has great memories of taking family road trips together, going on camping trips, backpacking trips, kayaking trips, and other outdoor-focussed adventures.
Outdoor recreation was a passion of Andy’s. Hiking was his first love, but he was also into mountaineering, cross-country skiing, kayaking, cycling, and running. He would take the whole family on hiking, backpacking, and kayaking trips, always pushing the group’s capacity and fitness levels to the max. Andy also took on some ambitious mountaineering trips with friends or siblings over the years. These included summiting Mt. Baker, Mt. Kinabalu (Malaysia), Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). Andy proudly and meticulously kept records of all his “bagged summits”, in a document that lists summits in descending order according to altitude.
Andy was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 17, a disease that caused recurrent struggle through much of his life. The disease resulted in countless hospitalizations, blood transfusions, and 11 small-bowel resection surgeries over the years. After a severe flare-up resulting in surgery, Andy would often surprise his health care providers by bouncing back quickly and getting right back into the outdoor adventures he so loved, until the next flare-up. In his last years, he developed cirrhosis of the liver that was caused by a medication he had been taking for Crohn’s disease, as well as a rare abdominal cocoon syndrome. These conditions ultimately led to his passing.
Andy was a lover of music and he spent countless hours listening and cataloguing his favourite artists. He loved to attend live music events, like folk festivals, blues and roots festivals, and jazz festivals, whether actually purchasing a ticket to get in, or listening from just outside the fence.
Andy was a man of faith and was actively involved in his church community. He gave generously both of his time and his finances, and had a particular heart for social justice.
Andy was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend and will be missed by many.