By ADRIAN MILLER
RESPECTED and admired Grafton physician Dr Carel van Gend died at the weekend aged 72 after a long battle with cancer.
Dr van Gend had been an active member of the community since his arrival in Grafton 27 years ago, and helped to start many programs not seen before in the Clarence Valley.
He was the foundation president of Camp Creative, which later developed into Artsfest, and through his involvement in the Rotary Club he organised the first bowel screening program in this region. He also initiated the funding of the Clarence Valley Life Education Van.
According to his daughter, Reverend Anne van Gend, he had a great love and zest for life.
"He was very outgoing," she said.
"He loved sitting down and having big discussions about different things. He loved new ideas and books, life was always one big thing to learn for dad."
She said her father had been dedicated to his profession, enjoyed his work thoroughly and was liked by all.
"He just loved his medicine," she said.
"It was never a drudge that he had to get along to, he thoroughly enjoyed working. He was really well liked, not only by the patients, but by the nursing staff as well."
That love for his job was typified by his decision to keep working even after being diagnosed with cancer nearly four years ago.
He only officially retired in February when he was forced to close his Prince Street practice.
Dr van Gend had been based in Grafton for nearly three decades after arriving here with his wife Margaret and family in 1978. When he arrived in town he had already had stints working in South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Canada, the UK and New Zealand.
He is survived by his wife and three children, and by eight grandchildren.
His funeral service will be held at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, 3.30 tomorrow afternoon.
nThe Daily Examiner thanks the family of Dr van Gend for submitting details about his life.