Died on July 8, 2023 after a brief illness. There was no battle against the inevitable. Instead, Richard employed his fighting spirit in his decades-long battle with alcohol. This enemy he vanquished finally, having taken his last drink in July 2018.
Richard saw death not as our implacable enemy but rather, the inevitable final stage in a life well lived. Richard’s life was not defined by alcohol but rather by service - especially to the cause of women of limited circumstances, whether in their education, financial stability or equality in life. Born in the Netherlands on Feb 13 1941, Richard immigrated to Canada with his family as a boy after surviving the Second World War and then spending several years in South Africa. The eldest of five children, he was a natural leader and one who maintained high standards in every endeavour. Among many life milestones and highlights, he reached the level of Queen’s Scout in the Boy Scout movement, graduated from Victoria College at the University of Toronto (class of 1964), and was a marathon runner for many years. Richard enjoyed a varied and interesting career serving as a member of the Canadian diplomatic corps in various postings throughout Northern Europe. Along the way, he was proud to have served as a security advisor to the RCMP and later, in New York as a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. He was particularly marked by two years in Russia, where his faith in God was renewed and became very relevant; and he often spoke fondly of his final posting in Copenhagen, the best city in the world in which to live, he believed.
Richard leaves to mourn his beloved wife Laurie Robertson, daughter Karen (Doran Donnelly); grandsons Ryan and Allen Donnelly; step-daughter Kim (Scott Gilmore); brothers John (Lee-Anna) of Montana, USA; Ron of Kananaskis, BC; Aart of Surrey, BC; numerous nieces and nephews, and many friends at St. John’s church. He was predeceased by his father Dirk Looije, mother Clara (Toet) and sister Lenie (Winston Kerr).
Friends will be received Tuesday July 18, 2023 at St. John’s Anglican Church, 33 Pine Street North, Port Hope, Ontario from 2 pm until time of Memorial Service at 3 pm. Reception to follow in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a financial donation to your local women’s shelter in memory of the one woman Richard honoured above all others, his mother Clara Toet Looije. Arrangements by Allison Funeral Home, Port Hope.
“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” (Song of Songs, 2:17)