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Former ‘Windmill’ columnist Gerry Ubels succumbs at age 85

Gardening a passion

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BURNABY, British Columbia - Gardening was a passion for Dutch immigrant Gerry Ubels who for over fifteen years shared his insight and knowledge with readers of the Windmill Herald through his every-issue column De Tuin. The Adorp, Groningen-born gardener after a lengthy illness passed away recently, at the age of 85.

Tending to vegetables and flowers was never far from the mind of Gerry Ubels even when his oldest son Jerry was doing the work in the family’s yard. As the De Tuin-writer he was known for his detailed step-by-step approach to gardening. He hoped that city dwellers would turn corners of backyards into vegetable or flower beds, and that balconies and window sills would be decked with flowers. The columns which were saved by many readers for future reference, provided many with the stimulation to develop a green thumb or two.

A family member looking at the many gladioli around the house, once commented that the flowering bulb had to be Ubels’ favourite plant. It wasn't. He nursed them every year into an array of bright colours because his wife Trudy with whom he had seven children, loved them.

The Ubels family followed next door neighbour in Ermelo, the W. Van Bergeyks, to Canada in 1956, when Gerry resigned from his instructor’s job with the Dutch Army. Previously, he had made a career with the Koninklijke Marechaussee which was interrupted when the Nazis ordered former Dutch army personnel to re-enlist as POWs. Gerry Ubels who was a Sgt. Major when he immigrated, instead went into hiding for over two years. Retrained as a cabinet maker in Canada, he worked for a major department store until his retirement. The deceased leaves behind his Gorcum-born wife Trudy of 63 years, six children, twelve grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren. He was predeceased by son Jeff.