Harry was born on March 31, 1941, in Winterswijk, Holland at the height of World War II. His first memories went back to that war. In 1951 the Kruisselbrink family immigrated to Canada and first lived in Barrett, BC. The family moved to Smithers in 1952 and lived for many years on Alfred Ave. where Daddio’s Family Restaurant is today.
In 1955, Harry was hired as a messenger with CN Telegraphs. This was the start of a 40-year career with CN Telegraphs and its various corporate successors. In 1957, he became a full-time telegraph operator. In 1963 he was trained as communications technician. He lived for awhile in Prince Rupert and Kitimat, returning to Smithers in 1966.
In 1963 he met Audrey Vander Kooij who was visiting her sister Sara Veenstra in Smithers. Meeting Audrey changed his life. They were married in May 1965 and had three children, Darren (Leroy), Juanita and Charmaine. In 1979, they took in Ann Plasway whom they raised until she was ready to be on her own. Ann was always considered to be part of the family.
Harry was always interested in community affairs. In the late 1960s he became involved in the environmental movement together with the late Joe L’Orsa and Richard Overstall. The group became known as SPEC Smithers and was involved in environmental matters throughout the valley, including the establishment of a proposed pulp mill in Houston and Alcan’s Kemano Completion Project.
He was elected to Town council in 1973 and served three terms as an Alderman (now known as Councilor). Upon completion of the third term, he retired from politics but remained on the Town’s Planning Committee until 2002. He also joined the local air search and rescue group (PEP-Air) in 1974 and remained with that group for over 40 years. He served as a deacon, an elder and clerk of the Smithers Christian Reformed Church.
Harry also served as a Board member for the local Museum and later wrote a history of the coming of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to the north and the creation of the community of Smithers. It was called “Smithers- A Railroad Town”.
In 1976 Audrey and Harry became foster parents and had foster children until 2005 when they felt they were getting a little old for looking after young children.
Harry’s involvement in community affairs would not have been possible without Audrey’s continuing support throughout all the years.
Harry took his faith seriously and always knew that he lived by the grace of God and that he would die in that grace. Despite the ups and downs that he, like everyone else, experienced in his life, he truly believed the text of today’s message: “the boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance”.
He was also extremely grateful for the opportunities he was given to spent quality time in the Babine Mountains and to take his children, grandchildren, and friends on hiking expeditions in the Babines!
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