March 13, 2022
In loving memory ~
Joe Van Bergen passed away peacefully in Port Alberni on Sunday, March 13, 2022 on the day following his 96th birthday. He is predeceased by his wife June, and brothers Tony and Bill. Joe is survived by children Karen and Gail (Hugh); grandchildren Jessie, Valerie and Sam; brother Bay and nephews Paul and Tony.
Born in Belgium, Joe immigrated to Canada in 1926 with his parents Hubert and Blanche and older brother Tony. The family settled first in Ottawa and then moved west to Burnaby, on to Merritt and finally to Port Alberni during WWII. While in Merritt Joe enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy as a signalman. After the war he followed his family to Port Alberni where he met and married June.
Joe worked at Homewood’s butcher shop before moving to the meat department at Woodwards when the department store opened in 1948.
While working for Woodwards he managed the Hardware department, Sporting Good, Automotive and the Marina before retiring as store manager in the fall of 1985.
Joe also found time to purchase and run Hillside Resort at Sproat Lake with his friend Hector for several years during the 1950’s. Later he started a business at Elk Lake in Victoria where he and a partner sold Hobie Cat catamarans and windsurfers to sailors all over the island.
Once retired Joe took some time off so that he and June could travel to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. The following fall Joe decided to pursue a second career in real estate which he did for another thirty years until he retired a second time.
When not working, Joe dedicated his time to the community. He was a long time member of the Rotary Club in Port Alberni as well as the Mount Arrowsmith Ski Club. He was actively involved in politics and once ran for the Social Credit Party. He was also active with the Sproat Lake Advisory Committee for the regional district up until a couple years ago.
Joe lived an active life and enjoyed skiing at Mount Washington well into his 70’s. He competed in hydroplane races at lakes around B.C. with his boat Sassy and was national champion in his class in 1959. Joe was also instrumental in bringing hydroplane racing back to Sproat Lake along with other members of the Sproat Lake Regatta society.
In his final years Joe spent his time looking after his beloved home at Sproat Lake and enjoying time with friends and family, often with a cold beer in hand on the dock.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 on Thursday, March 24, 2022 at the Chapel of Memories, 4005 – 6th Ave with Captain Michael Ramsey officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joe’s memory to the West Coast General Hospital Foundation, 3749 Port Alberni Hwy, Port Alberni, B.C., V9Y 4S1.
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