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Duncan freeman, councillor and Heart & Stroke booster Mike Caljouw dead at 78

Mike Caljouw receives the Freeman of the City honour in 2009 after 35 years on Duncan council. - Peter W. Rusland/file
Mike Caljouw receives the Freeman of the City honour in 2009 after 35 years on Duncan council.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland/file

Duncan freeman and councillor, community sparkplug and Cowichan Capitals' fan Mike Caljouw died of heart complications Monday in Victoria hospital.

He was 78.

"Mike probably had the biggest heart of anybody on the council in the 25 or so years I spent there," said former mayor Mike Coleman.

"He was very much a people person, committed to his family and his extended family, which was the whole valley.

"He cared deeply and worked very hard for our community. He gave it his all," Coleman said of the model-plane hobbyist.

"He was a good man and he'll be sorely missed."

Coleman noted Caljouw — awarded city freeman status in 2009 — was a workhorse for the Cowichan Valley Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Colleen Marsel of Heart & Stroke agreed.

"I am so sorry to hear the news Mike passed away. He was a hard working volunteer for the Heart & Stroke Foundation and he will be sadly missed."

Nanaimo native Caljouw helped with the River Race for Heart, the Hearts in Motion Walking Club, the Mall Walk for Heart, Celebrity Breakfast Kickoff, was a past president of Heart and Stroke Fondation, helped with the Big Bike Ride for Heart & Stroke, she explained.

"We will miss Mike greatly; so will the entire Cowichan Valley, that's for sure," Marsel said.

City Mayor Phil Kent remembers serving nine fruitful years on council with Caljouw, including three years as mayor.

"He loved Duncan immensely.

"I felt I had closure talking with him recently at the Duncan Farmer's Market," Kent said of the kind-hearted councillor and ex-air force serviceman who soared on council for 35 years.

"Mike could see the beauty in most things.

"What you saw is what you got. Mike was opinionated, enthusiastic, and there were no airs about him; he was just a down-to-earth person."

Right, said Caljouw's brother-in-law, Dave Haywood, who knew Caljouw for about 40 years.

"Mike was a very cheerful guy.

"When we were holidaying together, he'd be out at 6 a.m. going to local coffee shops," said Haywood.

"It always amazed me how warm he was meeting and talking to strangers."

But Caljouw was no stranger at the Cowichan Arena, home of the Caps.

"Mike never missed a game."

A celebration of Caljouw's life is set for May 7 at 2 p.m. in Duncan's Christian Reformed Church, 930 Trunk Rd.

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