Dick Van Vliet passed away Sunday, November 28, 2021 at Brampton Civic Hospital at the age of 93. Loving husband for nearly 63 years of Margaret (Hill). Proud father of Anne (Ron), Jane (late Jim) in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Michael (Liz) in Sydney, Australia. Cherished grandfather to Andrew (Laura), Michael, Graham and Sarah McClure, Grace and Hayley Tschudy, and Kate, Abbey and Tessa Van Vliet. Delighted great-grandfather of Arthur and Elizabeth. Brother to Bruce (Ellie) Van Vliet. Uncle to numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom he enjoyed following on Facebook. Predeceased by his parents Bert and Anna (Ciggaar), and his siblings Neil, Betty (Millenaar), Agnes (Brunskill), and Peter.
Dick was born in Norval, on February 18,1928, in the family farmhouse located on Fifth Line. He grew up in the Depression, the middle child of six children of a proudly Dutch family. He attended Norval Public School and Georgetown High School. He was a graduate of Ontario Agricultural College, now the University of Guelph,1954, and the University of Toronto, B.Ed.(1956), M.Ed.(1970). After a career as an Educator/Administrator, he retired in 1985 as Vice-Principal of General Wolfe High School in Oakville.
Obtaining his pilot’s license in 1956, he flew continuously until the age of 90. As a life member and Flight Instructor at Brampton Flying Club, he logged 16,020 hours, including 8,380 as a flight instructor and 3,400 over seas into remote outport villages, before airstrips had been built. Flying adventures took him across the Arctic Circle, into northern bush camps and lodges, throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as into Atlantic Canada where he took part in both low-level crop dusting and spraying for spruce budworm. He spent many summers as a bush pilot in Northern Ontario flying a wide variety of aircraft, providing his family with annual summer holidays which inspired a love of the north in his children and grandchildren.
Enjoying golf until age 91, he was a respected coach and mentor and never tired of discussing golf with fellow enthusiasts. He enjoyed many golf holidays in the south, and especially enjoyed Jekyll Island, Georgia, where he introduced his grandchildren to golf. As an avid naturalist, he enjoyed hikes along the Bruce Trail into his nineties. As a lifelong learner, he was engaged and interested in aviation and military history, birding, gardening, hiking, study of the natural world, dividend stocks and portfolio management. Always a teacher, he enjoyed sharing his experiences, particularly of his farming family life in Norval, and flying adventures in the North.
A devoted husband and caregiver to his wife Margaret, in her long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, he was proud of their ability to manage in the family home they lived in for almost 63 years.
He commanded a room when he was in it. He was our family’s elder statesman and consummate gentleman. Quietly generous and a lover of life, he always recognized how lucky he was for the life he had. He will be missed by all of us.
Bethell Hospice, Inglewood, The Bruce Trail Conservancy or the Salvation Army were among the many charities he supported. Or, alternatively, donation to a charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.