Sep 10, 1947 – Nov 21, 2017
Hans was born and grew up in the town of Nove Straseci near Prague, Czechoslovakia. Known to his family and friends there as Pepiku (the diminutive for Joseph), he loved to explore the countryside with his best friend Vladimir, who was like a brother to him. As they grew older a summer day spent fishing while Vlad the artist painted, or a winter’s day spent cross-country skiing would invariably end with beers and a meal of sausages and bread in a pub located in one of the old castles that dotted the rolling hills surrounding the town.
He worked for several years for the Prague Theatre, helping with scenery, as a fencing partner for rehearsing actors, etc., and once helped Milos Foreman, the (later) Hollywood director, to research medieval costumes for a movie he was making.
In 1968, like many others, Hans emigrated to Canada. After three years living in Thunder Bay, then Vancouver, he discovered Quadra Island, arriving with a 12-string guitar and a backpack, and never left.
He loved Quadra and the sea and music, and made his living at various occupations involving the latter two, including clamdigging, diving, tugboat and barge hand, playing music at the Legion and HBI (he was a skilled guitar, harmonica, and fiddle player, having had his own band in the old country).
For several years in the ’80’s and early ’90’s he managed the Quadra Fish Hatchery. Though never formally trained, he had a technical genius for designing, building, or fixing anything that needed it. He built a 30′ Brent Swain design steel boat (except for the hull), for which he taught himself to weld.
Hans was a kind, gentle, loving man with a wonderful sense of humour and a gift for storytelling. He made many friends over the years and although his problems in later years with chronic pain prevented him from seeing them as often as he would have liked, he always kept them in his heart and thoughts.
He will be sorely missed by all his friends here, Vladimir (& wife Pavla) and Hans’ extended family in the Czech Republic, and especially by Judy, his beloved wife of 30 years.
Many thanks to his family doctors over the years whom he regarded as friends, and to the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other staff at the Campbell River Hospital who treated him with skill, kindness, and, I believe, genuine affection during his final days.