Jacques van Pelt to be laid to rest in July


Jacques van Pelt will be laid to rest at 1pm on July 13 at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Fort Smith.

He will be interred at the Riverside Cemetery, underneath pine trees overlooking the Slave River rapids, beside his daughter Amy Ruth.


Van Pelt passed away in Fort Smith on November 7, 2018, surrounded by family at the Northern Lights Special Care Home. He was 85 years old.

Born in Helmond, the Netherlands, Van Pelt moved to Canada in 1954. He attended McGill University where he met his first wife, Mary. In 1969, he attended Michigan State University and met his second wife, Ruth.

Van Pelt, an environmentalist, made many trips up and down the Mackenzie River in the 1960s. Among other jobs, he started a Fort Smith-based ecotourism business named Subarctic Wilderness Adventures. The business connected people from across the world with locals in the NWT.

He leaves behind his wife Ruth; children Lil, Lisa (Dave), Lora (Craig), and Karla (Todd); grandchildren Ashley (Chris), Amy (Evan), Carrie (Johnny), Michael (Jennifer), Ryan (Kim), Chelsea, Sarah, and Ben; great-grandchildren Latham, Kale, Brody, Kennedy (Jordan), Freya, Finn, Zoey, Aurora, and Jack; and great-great grandchild Revan.

“He found great strength in the Franciscan tradition of nature and spirituality of our Creator’s Home,” wrote his family in his obituary.


“I will return to nature from which I was born, highly favoured,” he wrote before he passed.

“I will be part of the water, trees, the plants, the fish, the birds. That’s my reincarnation capable of returning, in love.

“I have had a rich life and full life in our Creator, and our Creator in me, and I have no regrets.

“I will live on in your memories of me and through my grandchildren, great, great-great grandchildren.”