Eltje Harmannus Degenhart
October 16, 1946 – May 8, 2015
Eltje passed away on May 8, 2015 at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan after having suffered a large stroke. While his passing was sudden and unexpected, his family was present at his bedside. His father, Nanno, and his mother, Afina, predeceased him. He is deeply missed by his wife Marguerite, his daughter Alana (Gary), and son Nathan (Kit). His five grandchildren, Uma, Wolfgang, Nola, Nika, and Neve will particularly miss their "Opa" who was always able to make them laugh or smile with his stories and jokes. Also left to mourn are his sister, Diena (Lorne), his brother-in-law, Donald (Alice), his nephews and nieces (Carolyn, Andrew, Jeffery, Bruce, Janine), and further extended family. Eltje was born in Slochteren, Netherlands in 1946 and immigrated to Canada in 1951. His family settled near Weyburn, Saskatchewan and the first several years were times of extreme hardship. Eventually, the family moved into Weyburn where his father worked as a house painter. Following high school, Eltje attended the University of Regina and graduated with a Bachelor of Education with a major in Visual Arts. While in Regina, he studied under Ted Godwin, Joe Fafard, and Art McKay. Returning to Weyburn, Eltje worked as the art teacher at the Weyburn Comprehensive School for over 20 years. There, he devoted himself to the instruction and inspiration of many students and was very proud that several went on to have successful careers in the arts. While very busy as a teacher and as a father, Eltje always made time to continue working on his own art. After retiring from teaching, Eltje devoted himself full time to painting. He was extremely prolific and produced a large body of works that resulted in several shows at galleries throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta (most notably the Assiniboia gallery in Regina). At the time of his death, he was preparing for a show at the Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon. Eltje was a gifted conversationalist who was always eager to meet new people (as many surprised and unsuspecting strangers would discover). He loved to laugh and was quick to launch into a joke (usually at appropriate times). He holds the record for the longest retirement speech at the Weyburn Comprehensive High School. He built an iceboat (that he crashed), a sailboat (that sunk), and two cabins (that are still standing at White Bear Lake). He loved art, music, movies, books, dogs, nature, wine, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and good company. But most of all, he loved his family and friends. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. A Funeral will be held in Weyburn at the Grace United Church on May 15, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix from May 13 to May 14, 2015