Last March 31, after a five-month very hard fight with cancer, I lost the most important man in my life, my dear dad, age 72 and a life-long trucker. I wanted to share his story with his favourite magazine, Truck News. John Rutgers was born in Holland in 1936. He started out at age 17 by helping a trucking company and as soon as he was driving age, he started to drive a truck and he was hooked for life. In 1960, he met my mom and the two lovebirds got married. They had two girls. I was born in 1961 and my sister in 1965. In 1980, they decided to move to beautiful Canada. Dad drove truck again, mostly for greenhouses.
As us two girls left home and got married, mom and dad decided to start their own trucking company. Dad finally had his own brand new Volvo truck and trailer and oh boy, he was so proud!
Dad was very young at heart, so when he turned 65 there was no way he wanted to quit driving truck just yet. But finally as the economy was getting too tough, mom and dad retired after driving truck for 53 years. The sad part to this story is that dad never really got to enjoy his so-called retirement.
He stopped driving truck in October 2007 and the following July he had pain in his shoulder. After lots of tests, he was told in November that he had cancer and only had four months left to live. Our worlds forever changed on that day. Dad, the tough trucker, was not willing to give up and just die. But it was not to be, and on March 31 he lost his battle with his three girls by his side. We would never have thought that my dad would die of a disease so bad. Dad survived a heart attack and a hip replacement but he could not survive this battle.
As young girls, my sister and I went on a lot of trips with dad in the truck, so we have seen a lot of this beautiful world. Even as we got older, we went along if we could (including the cat).
As you trucking families know, many a holiday truckers and their families are apart because loads have to be delivered on time with the families praying nothing will happen to their loved one as they drive through storms, rain and snow.
After mom and dad retired, they worked like crazy on fixing up the house, selling it and moving near us girls -but it was not to be. I had always hoped when dad would retire, we would finally be doing all kinds of family stuff together and enjoy his retirement together, but time had run out. I’m wishing that all of you will try to spend more time together or as my dad would say ‘Smell the coffee!’As for my sweet dear dad, on March 31 he went out on his last trip to his final destination: Heaven. Knowing dad, he will be waiting for his three girls with his truck running, the coffee on and ready to explore his new-found heaven. From, a proud trucker’s daughter.
Monique de Roos Beamsville, Ont.
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