Thoughts and smoke for George and Carol. Sad day and sad times ahead for the entire community.
This is not an easy post for me to write.
I have been asked by AJ, on Carol's behalf to post here. I have to say because of pressure of work and other real life commitments, I can't remember the last time I did post on Bladeforums, but it was a long time ago.
George and Carol gave me an unpaid job as I was awaiting my Canadian residency. However the lack of a wage was immaterial as George became my knifemaking mentor and over 12 months he taught me everything he knew without reservation. No secrets, everything he knew, but of course, the skill of a true knifemaking artisan with 25 years under his belt was a hard act to follow. I loved the 'job' which was indeed a joyful experience. I even loved sweeping the floor and dusting the stock!
About a month ago, Carol phoned me on a Sunday night and left a message to phone her back. George has an agressive form of Leukemia and was expected to last only a few days to a week. The last time I saw him I thought he looked a funny colour, and intended to tell Carol about it, but under a different lamp in the workshop, I thought I had made a mistake. Carol was very strong and George and her had talked about death, and I already knew that George was pleased he had outlived some of his family. It still came as a great shock to know that my friend and mentor was not expected to live very long.
Hope came with blood transfusions and an experimental form of chemotherapy at the best cancer hospital in Toronto, however George became a guinea pig and I guess the side effects were not balanced by the gains.
George has now left hospital and is at home in familiar surrounding to end his days, which I am led to believe could be as little as a couple of days. He is helped by hospice daily visits.
Please keep George in your prayers and thoughts for an easy passing, and in the longer term, your thoughts for Carol.
Not sure what else to say, but today has been a very sad and tearful day.
Andrew, on behalf of George's friends of the 'Alternate Tuesday Night Knifemakers Coffee Night Club'.
Andrew, please send our thoughts, prayers, & hope to George. I am new here on the forum & have not had a chance to exactly meet everyone like I would like to. If George is anything like the others with whom I have come in contact with, then I already know what kind of man he is. We will keep he & his wife in our prayers, & pray for the best for him.
Having had the opportunity to meet and get to know George is truely a privilege. George is a very impressive person. George is always willing to take the time to teach you all he can, as Andrew said "Without any secrets". For being such an intelligent person he has a way of never making you feel dumb and he is never unwilling to learn from those who may not know so much. I do admit though it was really quite humbling to have been put to shame with a simple task such as hammering nails and I'm sure Pete will agree.
In my time spent at the shop I learned a lot about knife making, sheath work, metal polishing and vintage motor cycle racing though I know it is only a fraction of what George still has to teach. I think the most important lesson I have learned from him is that material possessions and big paychecks are insignificant when compared to finding a job where you can surround yourself with people you care for and do what it is you are passionate about. Even if it means the workdays may be long and the money may be a little tight.
In the short time I have known George, he has gone from being a random stranger on the internet to someone I can call a friend and look up to like a Grandfather. For this I will always be grateful.
George and Carol are fantastic people. This is heartbreaking news...
My avatar is my Grandaughter, Hanna, who is battling leukemia, and kicking it`s ass!.
Prayers on the way god bless godspeed don b.
My god, this is terrible new's. my thaughts and preyers are with you George, your family and loved ones.
PLease tell George that I am still polishing the scratches. That was his comment on one of my first knives back 12 years ago at the CKG show. He went on to explain how to do the job right and I am still practicing.
Thank you George and Carol for being you through all these years.
Please come and visit my website at www.vanderkolffknives.com
I flew in from Thunder Bay today to be with Carol and George. George knew I was there(lindey was too tonight) but was in and out lots and trying to rest. He has a pain pump and is comfortable, at home with Carol where he wants to be.
I will keep this updated. I am heading back in the morning.
The thoughts and prayers mean a lot to them.
George and Carol are courageous. They are partners who made a life surrounded by their passions. I am a friend, a most humble friend who counts himself fortunate and blessed to know such kind and brave people.
George is an artist. He gave of himself to all that asked. Be it a kind word of encouragement without pretense or a thoughtful suggestion that would undoubtedly lead a person to see the purpose of any activity as an extension of ones personal integrity. He never made you feel that your efforts where not good enough but rather that it was the effort that was to be celebrated and nurtured and … that was all that mattered. George smiled and looked at the promise in all of us who shared his circle of friendship. I will miss him dearly.
He told me a little while ago that his shift was up. He was tired and he gave all he had. It was time to go home. George, your home will always live in my memories of Tuesday evenings of stories and teaching. Sharing your time with an eclectic bunch of misfits and eccentrics who shared a common love of steel and the never-ending quest for all that is sharp! You and Carol opened your lives so that we all could have a place to share ours. For this and ever so much more I thank you both.
Thankyou Pete, c.
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