Lewis VAN DER GRACHT
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lewis van der Gracht, eldest son of the late Florence and Joseph van der Gracht. Lewis was born December 30, 1917 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his family spent his formative years orchard farming in California. The family moved to Edmonton in 1926 and then to West Vancouver in 1933. Lewis joined the Canadian Army in the spring of 1940 and served with the Canadian Scottish, later transferring to the 9th Armoured Regiment. While overseas he met Christina (Chris) Ward, a secretary enlisted in the British Army. They married on October 28, 1943 in Royston, England. Lewis was demobbed in 1945. Under the Veterans Land Act, he and Chris acquired a small acreage in Richmond, B.C. In 1948, inspired by Father McEvoy – who was then pastor of St. Paul’s Parish, and with the help of Chris and several cooperatively-minded Lulu Island residents, Richmond Savings Credit Union (RSCU) was formed. The RSCU went on to become one of the largest credit unions in North America. Lewis served first as its treasurer and later as CEO until his retirement in June, 1982. Lewis was a keen innovator: RSCU was one of the first credit unions to adopt the use of computers and with the architectural skill of Arthur Erickson, built the first low-cost housing complex (still in use) in Richmond. Lewis, better known as ‘Van’ during those years, also served as President of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce (RCC) and worked closely with the Municipality in building that vibrant community. His memoir, ‘Don’t Take This Too Seriously’, can be borrowed from the RCC. In retirement, Lewis spent many happy hours gardening; visiting and assisting his children and their families and heading off on road trips with Chris. In October, 2005, his beloved wife Chris passed away. Lewis spent some of his final years in their Richmond townhouse before moving to Chelsea Park Seniors Residence in Vancouver and, more recently, to the Royal Ascot Care Residence. Lewis is predeceased by his infant son, Anthony (Tony) in 1953; his brother, John; sister, Maria (Missy) and is survived by his baby brother, William (Billy). Lewis is also survived by daughters Patricia Maddocks and Jacqueline Price, son Michael, daughter Teresa Krahn and sons David and Paul. Lewis will be remembered fondly by his fourteen grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. The following gatherings will occur: Prayers for Lewis Tuesday May 26th 7 pm Funeral Mass Wednesday May 27th 9 am Both services will take place at: St. Joseph the Worker Parish 4451 Williams Road, Richmond, BC. Private interment to follow at Garden of Gethsemane Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please support one of Lewis’s favorite charities – Covenant House.