Jacob Speelman

Obituary of Jacob Speelman

Jacob (Jack) passed away peacefully Saturday afternoon surrounded by his family, at the Residence St. Louis, at the age of 86.  Born April 19th, 1931 in the Netherlands, he was the son of the late Jan Speelman and Jaapji Speelman (nee Groenendijk).

Jack is survived by his beloved and cherished partner of 32 years, Denise St. Louis; and Denise’s son, Dominic (Barbara) Giroux. Also survived by Jane Kalkman, the mother of his children:  Judith (Jim), Catherine (Peter), Teresa (Dave), Walt (Kimberly), and Brian (Darlene); loving “Opa” to grandchildren Justin, Patrick, Heather, Juliana, Nicole, Jennifer, Keegan, Mab, Simon, Amelie, Charlotte, Mitchell, Ellen, Laurlyn, Braileen, Briyanah, Briley, George, Gage, Lydia and Clara; “Groot Opa” to 4 great-grandchildren Garritt, Maverick, Ava and Landyn.

He will be sadly missed by his brothers Jan (Reinie) and John (Adriana) and numerous nieces and nephews.

Born and raised near Rotterdam in the Netherlands, he survived the German bombings as a teenager during World War II and subsequent near-death from diphtheria. He immigrated to Canada with his family on the Tabinta in 1948. He started his career as a draftsman in Halifax, NS. A talented artist, he continued his career from 1964-1987 as a restoration officer for Parks Canada, helping to restore and stabilize historic sites, ensuring the artistic historical authenticity. If you visited the Fortress of Louisbourg, N.S., the Citadel of Halifax, N.S., Dawson City, Yukon, or buildings around Parliament Hill in Ottawa – among many locations - you have likely seen the influence of his work. From 1987-1989, he was part of the design team for the construction and original exhibits of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec (now known as the Canadian Museum of History). From 1989-1995, Jack was the Restoration Officer for Public Works Canada Parliament Buildings and in 1995 he received the Governor General’s Recognition Award for the restoration of the Langevin Building (now known as the Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council Office) in Ottawa.

Jack will be remembered for his love of trains, his extensive and minutely detailed HO scale train layout, which took up the whole basement where ever he moved. He was a talented painter, avid photographer, gifted gardener and collector of rare plants.  He enjoyed travel. He loved music, books and movies and had a large eclectic collection. He could discuss any topic, from architecture to zinnias. He was known for his love of Dutch cheese, peppermints, good coffee and white chocolate.

As per Jacob's wishes, cremation has already taken place. A celebration of Jacob’s life will be announced at a later date.

Those wishing to honour Jack’s memory may send a donation to the Residence St. Louis, where Jack received excellent loving care in in his final year, special thanks to Unit 2C. https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=2198&AID=3270