Gerard Jacoubsen

Dad came into this world near the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River in beautiful Edgewater, British Columbia, Canada on April 21, 1933. Born as the sixth child – the third son – during the Great Depression, his migrant Danish family finally settled in the hamlet of Tilly, near the Badlands of Alberta.

“Growing up in the midst of twelve children may have been a factor in Gerard’s becoming so fiercely independent,” remarked Larry recently, a close surviving older brother. “Gerard left home young, in 1950, having found a job at Moore’s sawmill back in Edgewater.” His brother recalls that, “He wrote and told me they had a job for me as well, so when the harvest was over I joined him there. We roomed and boarded together at O.P. Nielsen’s that winter…” Afterwards, the two young brothers pushed ‘jack hammers’ through the mountains, contributing to the building of some of the best civil infrastructure in the West. Mastering the use of dynamite, they extracted mineral resources, aiding in the creation of wealth for the post world war economy.

Good work ethics were the pillar of Gerard’s system of values. In his time, he held a panoply of posts and accumulated skills upon which he would continually draw. While re-shingling the historic Burnside House on Maple avenue in Sooke B.C. for his own account, Gerard earned the loyal friendship of his landlady, the late Ms. Dorothy Bruce, with whom he room and boarded as the 1950s drew to a close and where he would later found his own family.

Gerard purchased the second Japanese Honda motorcycle to be imported to North America and set out for an appointment with destiny – under the auspices of a reconnaissance mission on the Pan-American Highway. Following a near fatal accident on that road just outside of Mexico City, Dad met Josefina. This young lady remained close in his heart as he rode onward through to Panama and returned in 1964 to Mexico, where they became man and wife.

His young family shared its time with Gerard and his love for the Pacific Coast and its majestic ocean. Dad, as a deep-sea fisherman, raised us to be mariners; here he personified his ideals, demonstrating that dignity and self-esteem grew from one’s efforts, no matter how adverse the conditions. His youngest son Harley exemplified this upbringing, preceding him in death in 2004.


Dad loved to travel. In mid 1970s, after Mao’s death, together with his good friend Charlie Perkins, he was among the first visitors admitted into then inaccessible China. The two of them visited Japan, crossed the USSR on the Trans-Siberian Railway, visited Poland, Berlin, East and West Germany, and Gerard went on to visit the childhood homes of both his parents and birthplace of his older siblings in Denmark. The 1980s saw Gerard ascend to the top of the world in Tibet and the Alps, among other diversions.

Unable to maintain the vows of marriage, Dad retired in Saanich, where he continued to work, using his experience as a choker man and faller, climbing and pruning, or simply removing enormous trees dangerously close to private residences in the Greater Victoria Area.

Time was getting the upper hand on this man as he returned from his regular six-month winter escaped in Thailand. Hospitalized upon arrival from Hong Kong at Eagle Ridge in Port Moody in March, Gerard was transferred back home to the Island on April 1. After years of animosity, Father made peace with his ex-wife, our Mother, who brought him large a bouquet of lilacs from the garden of our youth. Peacefully, with the perfume of spring in his lungs and the warmth of Josefina’s hand, Gerard drew his final breath on April 14, 2016 at 16:03 PST in the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is survived by a loving daughter Judy, in Copenhagen, his sweetheart Nui, in Thailand, and two grandchildren Lea and Ansel, who live in Brussels with their parents, Aline and Erland.

Gerard’s last remains were cremated at the Royal Oak Burial Park in Saanich, a stone’s throw from his residence on Maplewood. Memories and condolences may be posted online in the obituaries section of

Scott, Dad’s closest friend of the past twenty years, wrote: “We were all hoping Gerard would be home for the summer. He ran out of energy! He played all the music with no songs left unplayed!”

“Fisherman’s Blues”

I wish I was a fisherman
Tumblin’ on the seas
Far away from dry land
And its bitter memories
Casting out my sweet line
With abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin’ down on me
Save the starry sky above
With light in my head
You in my arms

I wish I was the brakeman
On a hurtlin’ fevered train
Crashing a-headlong into the heartland
Like a cannon in the rain
With the beating of the sleepers
And the burnin’ of the coal
Counting the towns flashing by
In a night that’s full of soul
With light in my head
You in my arms

Tomorrow I will be loosened
From bonds that hold me fast
That the chains all hung around me
Will fall away at last
And on that fine and fateful day
I will take thee in my hands
I will ride on the train
I will be the fisherman
With light in my head
You in my arms

Light in my head
You in my arms

The Waterboys ©1988 Mike Scott, Steve Wickham


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Condolence Messages

  1. Philippe Severyns

    Sincere condolences to the whole family.

  2. Mark Schueremans

    May you have memories for comfort, friends for support, and flowers to ease your sadness.

  3. Sending peace and love to all of you

  4. Wow… This is the first time I saw a photo of your dad. He is certainly living on in you!

    My sincere condolences, Erland! Love, X

  5. Erland en Judy,
    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Please accept my sincere condolences.

  6. Katie Ormiston

    Hi Erland,
    I’m so sorry for you loss. Sending you and your family love and condolences.
    Love always,
    Katie and the Ormistons

  7. I am so saddened to hear this terrible news. I worked for Gerard as a deckhand for a couple years. He was a true gentleman and a world of wisdom. He was a dear friend and i think of him often and with the fondest memories. Rest in peace. With much love Mary-Ann Young.

  8. Gerard, thanks for everything, and best wishes, wherever you are. I hope there are lots of trees there.

  9. Gerard, we will miss your mischievous smile, great stories and numerology readings! You were great fun to have as a neighbour. Happy travels!

  10. Where to start.

    Gerard, I didn’t know, when I became your neighbor 5 years ago that I would gain such a dear friend. A friendship that would stick even as my crazy life took me for a ride from Maplewood to Edmonton and everywhere in between. I was missing you while you were in Thailand with your sweetheart, waiting for your call to say I’m back! To hear your newest stories. . .

    I was only a few days late to see you in Victoria before you left to start your next adventure. Standing at the hospital directory desk, feeling empty, I didn’t know what to do. Except to keep moving forward, on step at a time. So I drove down to the break water to say my goodbyes. Standing there, looking out, thinking about the warmth you brought into my life. The stories you told me, the support you gave me, and our laughing, always laughing.

    Suddenly, you caught my eye, on the big rectangular rocks below, there you were. A mischievous sea otter, rolling around on the rocks in the sun, looking up every now and then. Then hiding behind the rocks, but always peeking out. You looked up at me, directly at me. Thank you, you always knew how to steal a gals heart.

    I’ll miss you my sweet friend. I’ll always hold you close.

    – Jessica

  11. I met Gerard in the early 90’s at the Crystal Pool in Victoria. He had the greatest affinity for the sauna and could outlast anyone in the fierce heat. We shared in common, an interest in healthy food and he was a fountain of information. He told the story of going to the US some years ago and under the care of Ann Wigmore in New York, I beleive, was able to cure himself of cancer using using an intense diet of grapes. I soon learned of his exploits in Thailand and I cannot remember a year that he did not go there for 4 or 5 months in the winter. My wife and I spent a year and a half in Thailand and in 2000 we celebrated New Year with Gerard in Chiang Mai and he later came to visit us in Bangkok.

    I drove him to the ferry a couple of years back for the beginning of his yearly Thailand trip and will always remember him in his eighties kind of bent over carrying a suitcase that weighed the best part of a ton with his lap-top strapped on the side and thinking how is he going to manage that lot on the bus and sky-train but somehow he always did and without any complaint.

    I am very happy to hear that he spent his final time with Josefina. He will be missed by many.

  12. Gerard spotted the Thai products in my garage from a neighbour’s property about 15 years ago and that started our casual but constant relationship. Gerard would “check in” with me from time to time at my Asian Import store here in Victoria. We had experienced Thailand in parallel mind sets and laughed at what it took to become seasoned Thai traveler’s. Gerard was already into his senior years when I first saw him swinging high in the trees he was topping. That image sticks in my head as something that represented his attitude to life in general – not clinging to a branch out of fear of falling or unwilling to go up in the first place – no – Gerard like to swing in the tree and now that I have had a chance to learn more about his earlier life I can see that he was consistent in his approach to living. I drove to Panama and back myself in the early 70’s and I imported the first motorcycle rickshaw into North America and I have been to SE Asia over 50 times so that looking at Gerard I can see the image of parallel more closely and wonder if Gerard felt that when he followed up again and again to check on me – he must have seen a kindred spirit.
    He died living the life he wanted to live and that is something to really respect in a man. Erland who had come once to my shop last year with his Dad who wanted him to meet me was kind enough to come and see me and give me the news of his father – with a box of old albums strapped to a dolly he was in the process of dealing with all that was left, never an easy task. In the short time that we had to visit I could see some of the father in the son and that is a kind of consolation – that “something” that defined Gerard as a fine person is alive and well in his son – the fruit does not fall far from the tree.
    Before he left the shop Erland was kind enough to give me a couple of Gerard’s records one by Fats Waller and the soundtrack to the musical “South Pacific” – I grew up with both albums in my parents house and the songs “Bali Ha’i, Some Enchanted Evening, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Happy Talk, Younger Than Springtime” I would like to think of as the soundtrack to Gerard’s life very well lived.

    “We’re sailing on a strange boat
    Heading for a strange shore
    We’re sailing on a strange boat
    Heading for a strange shore
    Carrying the strangest cargo
    That was ever hauled aboard

    We’re sailing on a strange sea
    Blown by a strange wind
    We’re sailing on a strange sea
    Blown by a strange wind
    Carrying the strangest crew
    That ever sinned

    We’re riding on a strange car
    We’re following a strange star
    We’re climbing on the strangest ladder
    That was ever there to climb

    We’re living in a strange time
    Working for a strange goal
    We’re living in a strange time
    Working for a strange goal
    We’re turning flesh and body
    Into soul”

    Mike Scott and the Waterboys from the album Fisherman’s Blues

  13. We often saw Gerard walking by our house on his way to or from home and would wave or say hello. Eventually he stopped to chat and we got to know him through a series of road side conversations. We discovered a mutual love of organic food and enjoyed introducing him to our local organic farm stand; sharing our home grown garlic, as well as a home cooked meal. It was easy to see that Gerard was a man of fierce independence; one determined to live life exactly as he wanted; a traveller enjoying everything he could of this world and always sharing in the knowledge he held. He will be missed by all who knew him.

    It was a pleasure to meet you, Josefina and Erland. Thank-you for letting us know of Gerard’s passing and for providing some insight into your lives. Erland, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that you live in the same area of Belgium (Brussels) that Thierry’s parents were from.

    Our sincerest condolences,
    Anne & Thierry

  14. I work at Shaw and had the honor of helping Gerard many times. He would come to see me with a big smile on his face and tails of his love in Thailand. I loved seeing his eyes light up and knew there were many stories behind those eyes. My condolences to his family spread throughout the world and his friend Scott.
    ‘those who are loved are never gone’

  15. I shall respect and love him by means of meditation and wish him safe passage into the peace world.

    “Thank you very much, you are my hero!!”

    He did everything for my family and treated us all as movie stars.

    He was a pure, kind man, who shared his love and wisdom with me.

    Easy come easy-go, Gerard Jacoubsen, Oh my God, I felt you deep within my heart on April 14th.

    I will love you forever.

    Please accept my sincere condolences Judy and Erland.

    Lalana Sawangwong “Nui”

  16. Carl Sorensen, Edmonton

    I did not know Gerard (Gunnar) well at all, but I have vague memories of him as a part of the large Jacobsen family in Tilley, Alberta. Gerard’s parents, Asta and Peter (PB) were immigrants from Denmark, eventually settling in Tilley after time spent in Edgewater, BC. Asta and Peter were friends of my parents, Lilli and Ingeman Sorensen – they were among the Danish immigrants who came to Tilley in the 1930s and 1940s. In recent years I re-connected with Gerard’s sisters, Inger (Iwaasa, in Vancouver) and Eva (Manly, in Nanaimo) and his brother Larry (Port Coquitlam). I met Gerard again, and Judy, after many years, in New Westminster at the Annual Conference of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada, where they had come to be together with Inger and Larry. May he rest in peace!

  17. wow, thank you for letting me know about Gerard’s passing. I met Gerard back in 2007 or so when it was posted on an investment site I was following that a bunch of us were going to meet at a restaurant. we had a further meeting at my place a few times. then probably a year or so went by and he shows up at another meeting saying that he had fallen out of a tree from 35 feet doing his job. we all looked at him like he was nuts as he looked fine to us. he told me about the ceregem bed he bought that saved his life. he took me to the place one time and I was hooked. I ended up buying one for myself and I think of him a lot when I use it. I drive the Tofino bus and one time I gave him the gift of a free road trip and he stayed at the hostel there and for him it was good to see some old stomping grounds. I also invited him to the raw food potlucks each month and enjoyed seeing him there many times.
    over the last few years I became quite sick and dedicated myself to be well again, so afraid my connection with Gerard went south. I thought of him just a few weeks ago and thought I must connect with him again. so glad to hear he reconciled with his exwife. thank you so much in contacting me and letting me know about Gerard. he will always hold a special place in my heart. so grateful to have met him and spent time with him.

  18. I met Gerard around 1995 during a break at an event in Victoria, BC. His opening line was that he spotted me across the room and was drawn over. We became close friends as we were like minded in so many ways. I have passed on his experience of curing his cancer with grapes to many people giving them hope by knowing that others have cured themselves. After I moved back to Alberta in 2000 we still kept in contact. It was always nice to hear his voice and about his latest adventures. Since I hadn’t heard from him, Gerard had been on my mind wondering when I would hear from him again. I look forward to our next encounter. Gerard you will always have a special place in my heart.

  19. I’ve really enjoyed reading all of the above. Hearing from so many of Gerard’s friends has helped expand my understanding and appreciation of this very unique soul.

    When I glance at his photo, the image says it all.
    Thank you all.

  20. We send our condolences on the loss of your Dad. Unfortunalely we let you know that, my brother Marc, died in december 2012.
    Luc Lahy

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