Henri (Harry) Adrianus Bout
Harry, the eldest of four brothers was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1931 and grew up in the Dutch seaside town of Egmond aan Zee where his parents owned a hairdressers shop. As he got older he had some jobs helping out in restaurants and shops in this tourist town by the sea. When he wasn’t on the beach enjoying the waters of the North Sea he played a lot of soccer. He excelled in keeping the ball out of the net and managed to get himself on the Dutch National Junior team as goalie.
Wanting to further his education after high school he attended the ZeeVaart School (nautical school) in Den Helder. His aptitude in mathematics helped him achieve one of the highest marks in all of Holland on the national math exam. Having earned his ships officer apprenticeship he joined the merchant marines and spent months at a time on ships crossing the Atlantic delivering goods and passengers to various ports in South America and North Africa.
These adventures notwithstanding, Harry, like many young Europeans in the 50’s was up for the adventure of immigrating to Canada and in 1956 found himself in Oakville seeking a new life (and possibly a wife) far from home. He met a beautiful woman named Theresa Van Esch at a dance in nearby Hamilton and eventually convinced her to marry him. They were married on October 11, 1958 in St. Ambrose Church in Cambridge Ontario. He was late for the ceremony because even though he was smart and handy he did not know how to tie a bow-tie and had to drive many miles to find a friend who could help him with this important task. He thought it would be quite romantic to surprise his new bride by taking her on a fishing trip up north. The dress she bought in anticipation of a more civilized honeymoon did not match the décor of his 12’ aluminum boat but it did help prepare her for the future adventures that marriage to Harry would bring.
In due time, they bought a house on Lowrey Street in South Cambridge and started a family which would eventually number four active boys. Harry worked at various businesses including Woods in Guelph, Eastern Steel as a Planner-Draftsman and at the R. MacDougal Company but decided he was finished with taking orders from others and would rather give orders instead. (Since he always had better ideas anyway.) He started his own metal fabricating business, Production Metal and began selling hot-rolled steel. He also founded Golden Triangle Specialty Metals with his son Richard who ultimately took over the business until his untimely death in 2006. Both family businesses are still thriving today under the leadership of his youngest son Henry.
As his family grew up, Harry decided to move them out to the country on Highway 24 where they had lots of room to play and tend to a variety of animals including horses, goats, sheep, cows, rabbits and of course dogs and cats. He spent many happy years attending horse shows with his son Richard. He also continued the tradition (started on his honeymoon) of taking his wife and sons on summer fishing trips up north ensuring that there would be some peace and quiet in his life as the boys were instructed to stay nice and still in the boat so as not to scare-off the fish.
Harry had many practical skills and was the family haircutter, gardener and handyman. He even invented a product that would capture rainwater that fell from the roof top and divert it underground right to the roots of garden plants around the house. Called Rainflo, it won the regional environmental protection award and while it was a technical and environmental success, it did not take off commercially. Harry felt it would have had a better chance of success had it been invented ten years later. He was also practical in his jokes as he enjoyed many hilarious times and misadventures with his numerous brothers- in-law and his best buddy and partner in crime, the late Hermann Leusink.
In due course Harry had established his business and found a great manager in Jim Dolson which allowed Harry to semi-retire and pursue his and Theresa’s dream of travelling the world. They enjoyed many trips back to their native Netherlands and explored other countries in Europe as well as travelling extensively in the US, Caribbean and in Western Canada. The couple also ventured further to more exotic destinations in South East Asia, Egypt, Africa, India and China. They made many friends and positive impressions wherever they went and continued to delight in their travels as they shared their experiences (and future travel plans) with friends and family upon their return.
Their travelling ways were curtailed somewhat when Harry was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. His radiation treatment, while successful at keeping the cancer at bay, had the unfortunate side-effect of painful internal burning and blood infections which continued for the rest of his life. His pain was managed masterfully by Dr. Jim Gowing who became a good friend during the years he was ill. Dr Gowing’s efforts allowed Harry to enjoy his boat and camper, card games, painting watercolours, gardening, woodworking and renovating a home as he and Theresa moved back to Cambridge to be close to family and the hospital. It also gave him the will and energy to fulfill as many roles as Opa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he could. His grandchildren will have fond memories of fishing with him on his boat, of his attendance at their sports events, eating his omeletes, pancakes and raisin bread and his ability to fix anything that they could break.
Theresa had her own health difficulties as she suffered a devastating stroke in 2005 that would rob her of her speech and some mobility. Harry became her voice and right hand and demonstrated quiet patience and perseverance as she learned to manage her new challenges. His caring and loving ways while he also was ill were an inspiration to all who witnessed this couple’s positive acceptance and determination to endure their hardships.
Harry’s dedication to service is also evident in his active participation as a member of the Galt-Cambridge Lion’s Club. In 2004 he was honoured with the Helen Keller Fellowship on behalf of the Lions Homes for the Deaf. He also received the highest form of recognition from the International Lions Foundation in 2005 when he was named a Melvin Jones Fellow for dedication to humanitarian services. He was very committed to raising funds for the Lion’s-sponsored Guide Dog Program and the Cambridge Memorial Hospital. He was a significant supporter of Lisaard House, the local cancer hospice as well as being a very active participant in the Lion’s award-winning fund raising drive in the local Relay for Life for several years. He will be missed by his fellow Lions, especially his dearest friend Jimmy Broomfield who cherished their daily telephone chats.
Harry will be fondly remembered by family, friends and associates as a strong and courageous man who was always a gracious and welcoming host. He loved to share laughs and practical jokes with friends, relatives and neighbours. Intelligent, practical and caring he leaves a legacy of a better world through his successful businesses, strong involvement in worthy causes, and a loving, happy family.