In Loving Memory of Our Métis Veteran, Walter Koenders

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In Memoriam

Walter Bernard Koenders

Métis Nation BC is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our most respected Métis Veterans, Walter Koenders.  Walter passed away April 16 in Baillie House care home in Maple Ridge, B.C

Walter was born on 10 February 1932 in Saskatchewan and was the youngest of his four siblings (3 Brothers and 1 Sister).

As a Métis youth, Walter was an accomplished athlete.  He was very involved in competitive swimming and diving. Walter thrived on challenge and participated many years in the Kelowna Regatta, in swimming and diving events.  One year Walter won five trophies in one day in these activities and set a record in swimming.  Thirty years later he was informed his record still hadn't been beaten.

Following in the footsteps of his brothers, Walter joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on 23 November 1951 in Vancouver BC.  Walter was trained as a Telegraph Technician and was Honourably Released from the Canadian Air Force on 23 November 1954 in Ottawa ON. After a short career with the Canadian Air Force, Walter sought a challenge in the communications field and worked with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) where he worked for 31 years. Walter married Mary Gory (Mary Marcroft) at Laughlin NV on the 14th of February in 2001. Walter and Mary have a combined family of 5 children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

In 2012 Walter was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions and distinguished service.  In 2017 Walter was honoured and sashed at our Métis Nation BC (MNBC) Governing Assembly for his service and contribution to the Métis Nation. Walter played an integral role in establishing the Métis Veteran of British Columbia where he held several volunteer committee positions over the decade that MV-BC has been in existence. His leadership and guidance as a Métis Veteran helped many veterans obtain Veterans Benefits and as an Elder could always make positive of any situation.

Walter and Mary were members of the Royal Canadian Legion wherever they resided, most recently in Maple Ridge at branch 88 where they received great support. Members of the Legion frequently visited Walter while he was a resident of the Ballie House care home.

A service will not be held as per Walter's wishes.  Respect to the family can be made by contribution to your local Legions or Legion branch 88.

Walter’s friendly smile, stories and kinds words were always welcomed.  Walter will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his Métis Veteran Brothers and Sisters, his Community, MNBC Board of Directors and Staff, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his beloved wife Mary, their family, and loved ones.

~ President Clara Morin Dal Col

Métis Veterans - BC (2016)