Around Town
December 31, 2004 - In Memory of George Propstra by Benno Dobbe

In memory of George Propstra.

December 31, 2004.

Dear Carolyn, Kathy, Tom, Don, Brett, Rob, family, and friends of George.

On behalf of my wife Klazina and my family, please accept our sincere condolences to all of you for your loss. It was during the mid 1980's when I met George. He read about Holland America Bulb Farms in the Columbian, came to our farm in Woodland, and said he wanted to talk to the Dutchman who owned the tulip farm. He told me he was very proud of his Dutch heritage. We became good friends and I have always valued that friendship.

George enjoyed his visits with us. He treated us many times with biscotti he baked himself, not just for our family but for the whole crew. During December he always brought us a special Dutch treat, called "Banket letter", which people in the Netherlands eat around the St. Nicholas celebration, comparable to Santa Claus here. He had learned that recipe from his father. He baked it to perfection, we loved it! A few days before George passed away he stopped by to bring us that special treat for the last time.

George decided to build a Burgerville restaurant in Woodland in 1990. I told him how great his decision was for our community, and that such an important location in Woodland should have a beautiful flower garden. I offered to supply the bulbs and suggested George manage the planting. After completion of the restaurant George came to my office one day in October, in his coverall, and said he was ready to plant the bulbs I promised him! He actually helped with the planting, and was he a proud man when he saw the flowering results that next spring!

Several years ago George needed a wheelchair to get around. We built a ramp to my office, just for George, which we named the George Propstra ramp. He felt that was great, and appreciated it very much. George's wheelchair driving skills were o.k., but he didn't stop for much, and made the nurses a little nervous from time to time. I was just happy he came to see us.

George and Carolyn have done so many wonderful things for the community, including donations to the revitalization of the Esther Short Park. George wanted lots of flowers in the Park, particularly tulips. He insisted that Holland America Bulb Farms supply the bulbs and manage the planting. It has been quite rewarding for us to be part of this project and to help to make the Esther Short Park more beautiful, for all to enjoy.

The Holland Restaurant in Vancouver was a landmark for many years. There were two windmills attached to that building, one on each side. George felt the two windmills were his connection with his Dutch heritage. When the restaurant closed George and Tom decided to give those two windmills to me, hoping I would display them on our farm.

George felt it was important to give back to the community. He enjoyed the gift of giving, and was a true humanitarian. George lived a successful and remarkable life. He leaves all of us with many good memories, which will stay with us forever.

There are two windmills, which are proudly displayed at the entrance to our farm. They will be an ever lasting memory of George, and to the Dutch heritage he so much appreciated. I want to thank you George for the great relation and the friendship we shared! I will miss you!

Benno A.P. Dobbe.

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