Con Papenhuyzen died at age 87 in Flesherton, Ontario, Canada on February 24, 2019 where he lived with his beautiful wife, Angela (Plas) Papenhuyzen. Just last week Con and Angela celebrated 33 years of marriage with a fabulous weekend in Elora.
Con, Opa, Oom, Pops lived a very full, active and generous life. He was good-hearted, devout and hard working. He enjoyed life, love and humour.
Con was born in 1931 in Antwerp, Belgium and grew up in The Hague, Netherlands during WW2. He even once hid in farm fields from the German soldiers. As a teenager, he joined the Dutch Merchant Navy as a radio operator and sailed through Indonesia. He and his family immigrated to Canada where he attended McGill University and obtained his Mechanical Engineering degree. This profession led him to many places and amazing projects including a dam in South America and nuclear power plant in the U.S.A. Many of his early engineering projects were geared toward protecting the environment. This cultivated his concern for the environment and love for nature. Con retired from engineering at age 65 but returned to work at 71 to fulfill a “one year” temporary position that lasted until age 78.
Con was adventurous and playful with his seven grandchildren, often getting involved in a soccer match or a romp on the trampoline. He was always there to support them at sporting events, concerts, plays and other occasions. He was a role model for how to live fully and actively well into one’s eighties. He loved working with his hands and was always building or repairing a home, basement, garden, deck or pond. Despite his recent struggles with stroke symptoms, it was clear from the goals he was setting that he was planning for a full recovery. Con revelled in the beauty of nature and the rural landscape, sometimes feeling he had missed his calling as a farmer. His dream came true at age 80 when Angela and Con moved to a Flesherton, Ontario acreage after 27 years in urban Kitchener. He loved their garden and greenhouse and spent hours weeding, planting and building rabbit fences. His wish was to die in the garden, wearing his rubber boots.
Con was always fit. He started running seriously in his fifties and continued to place in his age group, including 1st in age 75-79 in the Royal Victoria 8 km and 1st in age 80+ in the Lethbridge Moonlight 6 km. He was an intense cyclist, climaxing in a two-summer cross-Canada cycling trip from Jasper to the east coast at 70.
Con was predeceased by his wife Kathleen (Wyland) Papenhuyzen who died in 1982. They enjoyed life in Montreal, Quebec, San Mateo, California, Salt Lake City, Utah and Georgetown, Ontario.
In the mid 1980’s, Con met a wonderful woman, Angela, who he asked to marry after only a few dates. He said he knew right away she was the love of his life. Con is survived by his wife Angela, his children John (and Allison), Cynthia (and Wes), Jane, Shawn (and Lisa) as well as his seven grandchildren, Rebekah, Celeste, Audrey, Jessica, Joseph, Jacob and Joshua. Con is predeceased by his younger sister Lia Shewchenko and survived by his older sister Elise Depocas.
Con was generous, passionate and dedicated in his volunteer roles with Out of the Cold, political campaigning and spiritual ministries. Con’s wish for us would be not to mourn his death, but to celebrate life: enjoy good jazz music, share a bottle of wine or a pint of beer, advocate for social justice, marvel at God’s creation, remember the poor and keep those rabbits out of the garden.
Mass and eulogy will be celebrated on Thursday, February 28 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Durham, Ontario at 2 p.m. Visitation will be at the same church immediately before the mass beginning at 12:30 p.m. This will be followed by a celebration of life and burial in the spring. Those who wish to provide donations to causes closest to Con’s heart, helping the homeless and Right To Life, can support community charities in his memory.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Con Papenhuyzen February 24 2019..