Hans Westenberg

Hans Westenberg

1936 - 2023

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Hans

Obituary of Hans Westenberg

Hans (Hendrik) WESTENBERG, M.D.

Surrounded by those who love him, Hans Westenberg chose to leave life as he lived it, on his own terms, on Monday, January 23, 2023. He leaves behind his loving wife and best friend Marion, his much loved children: Willem (Anne), Lisette (Kurt), Anthony (Stacey), and Friso (Toni), and his 10 beloved grandchildren, Max, Jean, Finn, Paul, Charlotte, Emma, Willem, Fenna, Thijs, and Bella. In Holland he leaves his dear youngest brother Miel Westenberg (Lieteke), and six nieces, as well as Marion’s extended family. His parents, his brother Anton and sister Joke predeceased him.

We will all miss him more than we can say. He leaves a hole in our lives.

Hans was born in Almelo, the Netherlands, eldest son of Antony Hendrik Westenberg and Aafje de Zwaan. Hans and Marion married on February 20th, 1961, and emigrated to Canada, the country of Holland’s Liberators, arriving on June 23rd 1961 in Kingston, which they loved at first sight, and where they settled. Hans finished his Medical Studies, (begun at the University of Amsterdam) at Queen’s and KGH, and hung out his shingle in 1964, as family physician. He practised at the same address for 50 years. One of his greatest joys was to be invited to weddings of babies whom he had delivered.

Besides his busy practice, he had a series of interesting medical sidelines. He co-founded the Queen’s University Student Health Service in 1964-1969, (and was for several years the only doctor there who distributed “the pill”!), was the physician for the Naval Reserve in the Kingston Armories in 1986-1987, was investigating Coroner in Eastern Ontario from 1996 until his retirement, plant Doctor for Northern Telecom 1989-2001, and for 5 years he manned the Medical Clinic on Wolfe Island two afternoons a week.

Living in Pittsburgh Township he ran successfully for Township Council in 1977, and equally successfully for Reeve in 1981. His proudest achievements here are the bicycle paths along Highways 2 and 15, the designation of Barriefield as the first Heritage Conservation District in Ontario, and the acquisition of the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum.

In 1964 Queen Juliana appointed him Honorary Consul for the Netherlands in Eastern Ontario, a job he filled with pride and pleasure until 2011. For his many years of service he was honoured by Queen Beatrix with a knighthood in the Order of Oranje-Nassau in 1989, and at the end of his diplomatic career he was given the Netherlands Order of Merit in Gold.

Besides all these professional endeavours Hans was a passionate rower, sailor, horseman, skater, skier, lover of old British cars and enthusiastic hobby-farmer. His lovely Scottish Highlanders are cherished “eye candy” along Highway 2. And his beloved 32-foot boat “Golden Rebel” gave him and Marion and the children years of summer joy on Lake Ontario. He has always been very proud of his Dutch National Rowing Championship in the coxed Four in 1954, and of finishing the gruelling 200 km long Eleven Cities Skating Tour in Friesland, called “de Elfstedentocht” in 1956!

To the very last Hans was a hard working volunteer: the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the Architectural Review Committee, (LACAC), C.O.R.K., the Sailing Olympics, the Pan-Am games in Colombia, Kingston Rowing Club, the John Austin Society, the Ontario Multicultural Advisory Council, the Ontario Medical Review Committee, and other medical committees too numerous to mention. All of them could count on his strong support and leadership. He was so delighted with his recent induction into the Kingston Rowing Hall of Fame, as a Builder.

But his best moments were on the back porch of “The Anchorage”, the 150 year old house he and Marion bought in 1967, and fixed up to be their family home forever, overlooking the rolling pasture all the way to the St Lawrence River, chatting with one of his many friends over a glass of wine, or with a good book in his hand. This is how we will remember him, at peace with his world, happy with the life he lived.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations to The Kingston Symphony, Marine Museum of the Great Lakes or United Way KFLandA would be appreciated.

A celebration of life will take place at a later date.