Jan deBruyn, BA’49

Jan de BruynIt is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa, Jan de Bruyn, on February 24, 2017. He died peacefully and gently.

Jan was born on April 9, 1918, in Abcoude, Holland. His family immigrated to British Columbia in Canada in 1926. They first lived first on the Queen Charlottes and eventually moved to New Westminster, then Burnaby. Jan graduated from John Oliver School.

Jan worked in Ottawa before WWII, and here he met Betty Roy. They were married in May 1941. Jan enlisted in the army in 1941, and worked in the Pay Corps until 1946, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. After being demobbed, Jan went to UBC, where he received his BA in English Literature. In 1949, he won a Beaver Club Scholarship to continue his studies at the University of London, from which he received his MA in 1951. After returning to Vancouver, Jan began teaching English at UBC, where he worked until his retirement in 1983.

In 1958, to celebrate BC’s Centennial year and his 40th birthday, Jan and friend Vic Hopwood hiked across the Rockies together, from Jasper, Alberta, to Golden, BC.

After retiring from UBC, Jan and Betty moved to Sandy Hook, near Sechelt, where they had built a retirement home. They lived there until 1995, when they moved to the West Kootenays, close to two of their daughters. In 2002, they moved to Castlewood Village, a seniors’ apartment complex in Castlegar. Here, Jan formed a writing group called the Lifewriters, which produced eight books of collected stories. He was still writing up to a month before his death – now by hand because he couldn’t type any more.

Jan and Betty, who died in 2015, were married for almost 74 years and raised six children together. One of their sons, Frankie, died in 1961. Jan is survived by his children Sydney, Diane, John, Mary, and Kathy; 13 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.