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Career ranged from delivering groceries to building fleet of tankers

Industrious entrepreneur succumbs at age 82

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ABBOTSFORD, BC – The entrepreneur and freight hauler whose company for decades collected an increasing part of the milk produced at British Columbia’s dairy farms, recently passed away at the age of 82. Patricus Jansen joined the then fledgling Vedder Transport as a partner in 1956, immediately after taking a job with the trucking firm. He remained a partner with the Wiebe brothers until his retirement 35 years later. Several Jansen family members still work for the firm.

The Abbotsford transportation firm’s fleet of tankers now hauls milk for the province’s milk board and processors elsewhere, and over the years has branched out into other hauling and transportation related services. Pat Jansen had earlier milk hauling experience when Vedder Transport landed the first of such contracts. (Incidentally, Vedder Transport is named after local landmarks that carry the family name of New York-born descendants of Dutch colonists, who in BC were freight haulers between Barkerville and the Fraser Valley).

Born to Dutch immigrant parents in Suffield, Alberta, in 1925, Pat Jansen and his family moved to the Fraser Valley soon after. There they joined a small number of other Dutch Canadian farmers who already had struck out on their own. The Jansens first rented a farm two miles north of the Canada-U.S. border, directly north of the Dutch-American town of Lynden. After a stint in Glen Valley, the Jansens settled on a farm in the previously flood-prone Sumas Prairie in 1937 which by then had a pumping station equipped with Stork technology.

Soon after Pat Jansen’s marriage to Denie Dewit in December 1945, the couple purchased a small retail store next door at which they sold gasoline, provided haircuts and delivered groceries, including as well newly arriving Dutch immigrants who worked on local farms.

A widower since 1994, Pat Jansen leaves behind seven sons and a daughter, several brothers and sisters, over twenty grandchildren and thirty great-grandchildren.