A Life Well Lived

Rudi William Kraak was born 4 am December 12, 1994 at Vancouver Children’s Hospital, to the most excited though exhausted parents, Vince and Beverley.

We lived in a lovely old apartment two blocks from Stanley Park, so we had many strolls through the woods and around the sea wall. In 1995, Rudi joined Granny Hope (Stewart) and his Mum Beverley for a trip to Ontario, his first airplane trip of the many to follow.

In January 1996, the Kraak family decided to move back to Sydney, Australia, and on July 2, 1996, Rudi’s younger brother Louis was born. Life was good in Australia, so much sun and many hours spent at the white sandy beaches, body surfing and lazing about. As we had no extended family near, our friends became our family.

Being in Sydney also made it easier to travel back and forth to New Zealand where his Oma, Catharine Kraak, and Opa, Vincent Kraak, Sr., lived in Auckland. They originally came from Holland moving out after the War and decided to stay forever. Vincent has two sisters Fran and Sue and with their families, we would spend many Holidays.

During his years as a child, Rudi went on numerous flights to Canada and New Zealand. On these long flights, both our boys did extremely well with occasional stops along the way (game boys were a big hit then). Also, these were times that kids could sleep on the floor in front of you (more legroom) and meet the pilots in the cockpit. We often made occasional stops along the way. His favourite; Disneyland in California, where he loved the thrilling roller coaster rides.

Rudi was a curious and adventurous child, never shy of scrambling up a tree, jumping off a cliff to the water below, swimming through the surf and snowboarding at crazy speeds. He played soccer and rugby but was never really into these sports – team sports were not his thing, but he tried. He was a natural swimmer and joined a Swimming Club – up at 5 am!

At age 14, in February 2009, Rudi moved to Ladysmith on Vancouver Island with his family. He attended Ladysmith School joining midway through Grade 9. Whatever jitters he may have had quickly disappeared as his cousins Ciaran Boyle and Conor Boyle also attended the school making such a transition easier.

Rudi was an incredible storyteller and would often have the table in stitches – he soon made many close friends in his new home in Ladysmith. It was hard to censor him and he did not appear to have an off switch. He was such a cheery, humorous guy. He tried many types of martial arts but always kept coming back to boxing; he was not shy about getting into the mix.

In 2012, after graduating from high school, Rudi moved to Victoria to look for work.  While out driving with his Mum, resumes in hand, he popped into the Victoria Regent Hotel on Wharf Street but was gone for a long time. They had interviewed him immediately for a concierge/front desk position. When heading home, Rudi’s phone rang, and he got the job. How we laughed as they wanted him to start ASAP!

Rudi worked at the hotel for six years. He was loved by both residents and colleagues, getting many Google reviews as to his kindness, humour and general helpfulness. He would move furniture, water plants, have tea and a chat with the elder residents. He would help colleagues when they needed time off or were new at the job.

He wanted to make a difference in his life and to his community, so applied and was accepted into the military. He was sworn in on his birthday, December 12, 2019 – and was flown out to Basic Training in St Jean de Richelieu, Quebec, January 4th, 2020. He loved being in the military, marching constantly, carrying 40 pounds, bivouacking in minus Celsius temperatures, doing guard duty in said cold temperatures, running obstacle courses – he appeared to love it all. He was always there for his friends, platoon, or anyone if they needed help. He was a kind, generous most gentle human being and thus winning the Comradeship award was no surprise nor when he joined Wounded Warriors and Big Brothers.

Rudi William Kraak died suddenly on Saturday night, July 18th, 2020. He was 25 years old and he will be remembered in our hearts and memories forever. Our wonderful smiling, cheeky, kind, generous, full of life young man. Rudi leaves behind a large family of 7 Aunts, 5 Uncles, 13 Cousins and an extended family of 70 mainly in BC, Alberta, Ontario and the US on his Mothers side and Oma, 2 Aunts, an Uncle, 3 cousins and their families in NZ and Japan on his Fathers side. Rudi has also left behind an extended family in Australia who will miss him so very much.

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that you donate on behalf of Rudi to his two charities, Wounded Warriors, https://woundedwarriors.ca/ and Big Brothers & Big Sisters, https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

www.mccallgardens.com

Click the video below to view Rudi’s Memorial Service held in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens on Saturday August 8, 2020.

  • James Loder

    Rudi I want to thank you for being such an incredibly funny, whacky, cheeky, and loving childhood friend. The times we spent together alongside Boag, Jesse, Evan, and Bella (to name a few) I look back on with great fondness, something I know I was incredibly fortunate to have experienced. Not a year goes by without a multitude of stories being told involving you and the crazy things we did together, including mum talking about the time you came with us to the Snowy Mountains on a holiday and how damn funny you were. It deeply saddens me knowing that I’ll never get to see you again in this life and swap stories from the last 11 years we’ve been apart, something that I had so deeply craved. To Beverley, Vince, and Louis, I’m terribly sorry for your loss, Rudi was truely a genuinely beatiful soul and wonderful human that has left a positive impact on so many lives, including my own.

  • Jesse gallagher

    Over the years, i often have found myself thinking of rudi. Our years together will leave a mark never to be removed by the passage of time. i have so many fond memories at the house in beecroft, a james’s house, at my house, school, literally anywhere i was with rudi we created some kind of memory together.
    I can’t play halo without thinking of him. My heart immediately filled with joy and sadness when hearing the stories of rudi because it reminded me what good friends him and i would still be, maybe we could have played dungeons and dragons too.
    Rudi, i’m so sorry we didn’t get to see you again. It was always my plan to see you again one day. i just always hoped it would be when were older so we could see the person we both blossomed into, so i could show you the tattoos i have that cover up that scare i got when we wen’t kayaking in lady smith. i’m so mad its covered up now. like everyone, i’d give anything to see you one more time.

    To vince, Beverley and louis, my heart is broken for all of you. i would give anything to give you guys a hug and i know mum and dad would too.
    The best way to describe rudi was cheeky. To hear everyone describing him as that made me laugh so much because that’s exactly who he was. He was sort of like loki, up to mischief.
    Hearing the stories reminded me as well of the person he was as i knew him and warmed my heart to know he was still the same person that i knew.

    I can’t form the words to describe how sorry i am for all of you and the loss we all feel. I wish to offer a small piece of science to help you through this time to help ease your pain.
    There’s a law of thermodynamics which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it changes states and we trade energy with our surroundings.
    In death, the collection of atoms of which you are composed are reused. Those atoms and that energy, which originated during the Big Bang, will always remain. Rudi is gone from our lives, but his energy, his being is still with us and will be with us forever.
    Love from down under.

  • James Boag

    I’ll never forget our formative years together, Rudi. You were always kind, compassionate, endlessly amazing fun, and remarkably good natured. You were by all accounts the most extroverted person I have ever met, and likely will ever meet. Jesse, James, and I are all unthinkably saddened that you’re gone, and something we would never have expected to be experiencing so soon. I wish we were all able to see you at least one more time before your passing, if only you hadn’t had spent your flight money to Australia on Neil Diamond tickets like you told us. To the Kraaks, I’m terribly sorry for your loss, no-ones world will ever be the same without his generous, cheeky spirit.
    – James Boag, James Loder, Jesse Gallagher

  • John McKee

    Hi folks.

    This must’ve been a horrible time for you guys and my heart goes out to you.

    I watched the zoom meeting this morning and found it hard not to get choked up. Vince, how you held it together so well for your speech I will never know.

    I imagine you have a thousand things to think about and not being part of the background noise is probably the best thing I can do right now. Drop me a line when the dust settles and some new kind of normal is established, until then my thoughts are with you.

    Love and hugs

    John

  • Monica Stieda

    Dear Beverly, Vince and Louis, our sincere condolences. We are thinking of you and your extended family and know you will find strength in one another. It was a beautiful service, Rudi’s spirit will be felt in many ways.
    Sending our love and light,
    Monica and Mike

  • Tiana Marticotte

    I am sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rudi, Especially to you Beverly, Vince and Louis. I have only known Rudi for the time of his military career and I am completely happy to at least have known the wonderful man you raised. He will forever be in my heart and will always be my A16 brother. Thank you for raising such an amazing man.

  • Barbara Clouston

    Dear Beverley and Vince,
    My heart breaks for you. I had the pleasure of sharing a tiny part of Rudi’s life and was deeply saddened when I learned of his passing. He had a light about him, he was a caring, compassionate soul with a fantastic sense of humour. Words can not convey the sorrow. He walks beside you always.
    Godspeed Rudi

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