Pieter Zeeman

Wonderful husband, father & papa, and entrepreneur extraordinaire went to be with his Lord on October 24, 2002. Pieter was born in Schagen, the Netherlands on December 10, 1926. Survived and terribly missed by his wife Lenie (nee Van der Plas); daughter Jacqueline (Len) Williams; son Richard (Marion) Zeeman; and son Ron (Sherry) Zeeman. Also his grandchildren; Natasha, Genevieve & Andrew Williams; Aaron, Michael & Erica Zeeman; and Spencer, Zachary and Nathaniel Zeeman. Also survived by two sisters and one brother.

Pieter led a very interesting and adventurous life. As a young teenager he was a blacksmith and in the latter part of WWII he was involved in the Dutch underground. Directly after the war he joined the Dutch forces, training in Malvern, England. At age 19 he was with the first 800 commandos to retake Indonesia from the Japanese and was given the responsibility of revitalizing the Banka Port to make it operational. This was followed by an affiliation with KLM to organize one landing strip into the Pangkalpinang Airport, remaining as Airport Manager until 1948.

Upon his return to Holland he became a police officer, living and working in Katwijk where he met and fell in love with Lenie Van der Plas. They married on September 9, 1953 and in 1954 with $80 in their pockets immigrated to Canada.

After several months of painting & landscaping in Ontario they decided to “Go West”, driving 9 days on the Trans-Canada with another family of 4 in a small Vanguard. Sawmill work was found first, then work at a small steel shop called Ironcraft. With 2 partners Pieter started Surrey Ornamental Ironworks in 1956, quickly changing it to Surrey Ironworks Ltd. to be more encompassing. 1967 saw Pieter as sole owner through to 1987. A few well known projects by SIW are the structural steel fabrication & erection of the Science World Dome for Expo ’86; the Boeing Museum of Flight; 9 ALRT Stations; Harbour Centre Rotating Restaurant; CP Air Hangar, various bridges, mines, pulp mills, schools and bulk materials handling systems.

From 1988 to 2000 he developed a 15 acre industrial property with his friend & partner, Harry Gordon, P.Eng., erecting over 260,000 sq.ft. of warehousing & buildings.

From 1975 through to the present he partnered with Harry Gordon and David Moss to develop a thin wall modular concrete bulding system now being promoted internationally, several samples of which exist in the Lower Mainland.

Pieter had been on the Board of Directors of Pacific Vocational Institute as well as BCIT, Past President of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the B.C. Metal Trades Association and in 1985 he went on a Trade Mission to China with then Premier Bill Bennett.

Pieter was a fun loving, caring and most generous man who will also be remembered for his great sense of humour, intelligence, charm, wit, positive and upbeat nature. Some of his many passions were fishing & boating, travelling the world over, vocational training, Fair Voting B.C., planning the next project, politics & history, but was most passionate about his family and family traditions. Pieter believed in God, justice & fairness, honour, accountability & responsibility. His trademark was the gentlemen’s agreement – the handshake.

The family would like to thank all extended family & friends for their love and support, Pieter’s GP Dr. J. Robson, his oncologist Dr. K. Murphy, Pastor Spivey and all the incredibly caring & compassionate nurses at Peace Arch Hospital’s palliative care unit and emergency department.

Memorial Service was held November 7, 2002 at Victory Memorial Park, 2977 King George Highway, Surrey, B.C. If desired, donations in Pieter’s memory would be gratefully accepted by Fraser Valley Cancer Centre (B.C. Cancer Agency). tel: 604-940-4083.

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