Dr. Marco Terwiel, a retired Maple Ridge doctor who was known for his positive spirit, even as he endured a long battle with prostate cancer, died on Saturday morning. He was 76.
Terwiel was born and educated in the Netherlands, graduating an MD from the University of Utrecht in 1961.
While on a break from medical school, he worked at a summer camp for boys in the U.S., and decided to return to North America as a doctor. He studied and worked in Washington state, before moving to Maple Ridge in 1968.
In 1972, he joined Rotary, and in 1989 was one of the founding members of the Meadow Ridge Rotary Club. In 1995, he was awarded Rotary’s highest honour, a Paul Harris Fellowship.
“He stayed involved right to the end,” said Meadow Ridge Rotary Club president Adrienne Dale.
Local Rotarians were impressed by his trips to Nunavut, where he worked both as a doctor and a Rotarian.
“He had a grave concern about education, and people bettering themselves,” she said.
“So our club got involved with the people. He had a great passion for the people.
“He was ethical and loyal – he lived absolutely by the principles of Rotary,” said Dale.
On Dec. 3, he attended his last Rotary meeting. On Tuesday, Dale told the club of his passing in a newsletter, saying:
“He battled his illness for so long and with such courage, while at the same time participating and contributing to our club and his Rotary duties, as best he could, right up until the end, when he said goodbye to the club.
“Although so many meetings he could hardly sit through a meal, he would come and share the hour of fellowship with his club members.”
Terwiel was also president of the B.C. and Yukon St. John Ambulance from 1995 to 1998, and was the national commissioner in 1998-2001.
He was knighted by appointment of The Queen, by the Government General in Ottawa through his service to St. John Ambulance.
In 1998, he was the medical director for the B.C. Summer Games.
He also was chief of staff of Ridge Meadows Hospital in 1972 and 1973, president of B.C. General Practitioners from 1977-1979, president of the Canadian College of Family Physicians in 1992-1993, medical director of Ridge Meadows Hospital in 1994-95, and was a clinical assistant professor to UBC, beginning in 1996.
He is survived by his wife Lila; three children Anook, Bart and Erik; two grandchildren, Erik and Uma; five stepchildren, Sandra, Susan, Deborah, Timothy and Robert; eleven step grandchildren; and one step great grandson.
A memorial service will be held on Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. at the Garden Hill Funeral Chapel, at 11765 224th St., in Maple Ridge.