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Pioneer Strybosch inducted into Hall of Fame shortly before his death

Libro co-founder succumbs at age 87


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LONDON, Ontario John Strybosch, was instrumental in the growth of St. Willibrord Credit Union, now known as Libro, and who served as General Manager for nearly two decades, passed away recently at the age of 87. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Middlesex County Agricultural Hall of Fame for his work in the agricultural lending field.

A native of Asten, North Brabant, the Netherlands, John Strybosch moved to the Strathroy area in 1951 where he succeeded in establishing a farm with his two brothers and one sister. As a fieldman, assigned to help arriving Dutch Roman Catholic emigrants, he became a much appreciated voluntary advisor to many as they struggled to become established on farms in Ontario. His advice often focused on farm finance and the record keeping aspects of farm management.

Finance and bookkeeping were his specialty. Strybosch appreciated the value of a locally owned and managed financial institution for farmers and pioneering entrepreneurs, which led to him being instrumental in establishing St. Willibrord Credit Union. This cooperative effort, modeled somewhat after the Cooperative Boerenleenbank in the Netherlands in which he had been involved before coming to Canada, has since transformed itself into the Libro Financial Group. With a number of branches in Southwestern Ontario, it serves as a viable alternative to the banking industry for farmers and other members.

Over the years, Strybosch, who was member number 28, served as both a director (1952-1969) and as General Manager (1969-1988). The story of his involvement in St. Willibrord and Libro is detailed extensively in the fiftieth anniversary book Roots and Branches (still available from www.GoDutch.com).

John Strybosch is survived by his wife Lena (Aarts), six of his seven children, ten grandchildren and two sisters, Tonny and Ricky, and brother Anthony. He was predeceased by his daughter Dorothy, two sisters, Nelly and Josephine, and two brothers, Martin and William.

The history of St. Willibrord Credit Union, now known as Libro, is extensively detailed the book Roots and Branches (available in hardcover and paperback), which is a very helpful resource on the story of the settlement of Dutch immigrants in Canada.