Rudy Thys was born in Bruges Belgium, January 10, 1930.
He passed away May 27, 2004 in the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake.
Rudy served with the Belgian paratroopers, but he wasn’t happy staying in one place, so he decided to migrate to Vancouver B.C. to join his sister and brother-in-law.
Rudy worked at many jobs. No challenge was too great.
From Qualicum Beach, CN Rail, B.C. Electric at Shalath, and finally via the Sunshine Coast and Williams Lake, to Alexis Creek which he called home for 19 years.
When he decided to try cooking, he asked his sister, Daisy, for recipes. Rudy spoke no English when he came to Canada. As he was a member of the Belgium rowing club he joined the University of B.C. rowing club which helped him a lot.
He came to Williams Lake and operated the Butter Dell Cafe, then on to Alexis Creek.
He leased the cafe at the Chilcotin Hotel for a short time, then he bought the building that was originally the Esso station, which was then used as a bakery.
With a few renovations and tables the Cook Shack was established.
Rudy stayed there for a while, then sold the place and took over Canyon Valley Cafe (the old Hitching Post) in 1992.
He moved all his equipment there and named the place the Cook Shack.
As well as the cafe there were several motel units which Rudy quite often had logging crews as well as travellers.
Nothing stopped Rudy.
He was courageous and determined to make the best of every day.
He was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, so periodically he spent time away for treatments.
But he was soon back in the kitchen on weekends cooking breakfast for the early truck drivers and loggers.
He unfortunately fell in the winter and broke his hip. He was hospitalized for a while, getting pins in his hip, but he was soon back with a motorized wheelchair and a walker helping to do laundry and serving coffee.
In May he was taken suddenly ill and passed away in the hospital.
He is predeceased by his brother Dick.
Left to cherish Rudy’s memory are his family, brothers Willy and Freddy, and sister Daisy.
Also his special friend Mida, who came all the way from Holland to attend the memorial held in Alexis Creek, conducted by Art Joyce.
Rudy’s nephew, Dick Steneker, had words of remembrance, as well as Mida. Rudy will be missed by his family and the many friends he has made in the Chilcotin.
In closing one of Rudy’s favourite pieces of music was played: The March of the Belgium Paratroopers.