HOLTJER, ELSO BENO
April 17, 1931 ~ October 18, 2012
Elso Holtjer was a 60
year resident of Kelowna and will be remembered by many. Born in
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Elso met his true love
Mecha in 1946 when they were 15. Elso was quick to become a Millwright and at the top of his class in 1947. In 1953 Elso and Mecha married, sailed to Canada and discovered Kelowna. Elso soon went from picking fruit to repairing tractors. In 1954 he joined Kelowna Machine Shop. By 1956 he was mechanic and welder at Orchard City Motors. Elso soon
had a reputation, if it could not be fixed, take it to Elso. In 1958, their first son, James, was born. Also in 1958 while Elso was working days and building their new house at night, he was offered a job with the West Coast Amusement midway, nurturing an aging fleet of trucks across Canada. The team of Elso and Mecha, with Jim in tow, helped keep the trucks, machines and the “carnies” working and in good spirits. In 1964, a new son, David was born and their oldest son James was now at Raymer Elementary. Elso then
started & owned Kelowna Marina where he was repairing and rebuilding boats, with much of Kelowna popping in,
Elso loved the many challenging business ventures like the Unlimited Hydroplanes, Kelowna Regatta, and even moving houses by barge on Okanagan Lake. In 1969, Elso went back into heavy truck repair and in 1970, after 4 years as Service Manager supervising 10 heavy duty mechanics; Elso began working for a large general contractor and
logging firm. Elso and sons, Jim and David, soon were all employed together. Throughout his life Elso bought,
repaired and enjoyed many, many cars, motorcycles
and boats and in 1979 while converting a school bus into a
diesel RV, Elso had an idea. He created “Mechanic On Wheels”. Soon with a self-outfitted service truck with all the power tools etc. he could ever need, Elso was the one to call to repair and get heavy duty trucks and equipment going wherever it broke. Tragically after 24yrs with Mechanic On Wheels, at age 72, Elso was working on a rainy day, slipped and fell off a truck fuel tanker. With his kidneys now failed and lungs damaged, Elso’s last repair project was himself. Elso was Renal and in trouble. But 6 years later in 2008, doctors in Toronto congratulated him on his incredible progress, dialysis was no long necessary. At age 78, Elso and Mecha spent the rest of their lives in & out of hospital care, surviving off of each other`s love & taking care of each other. This January, Elso’s true love, lifelong partner and teammate of 67 years – Hermina (Mecha) Maria Holtjer,
sadly, but blessedly, died at the age of 82 – needless to say, he missed her very much. Therefore, it was no surprise that this October, Elso took his last journey and went
off to be reunited with his one true love.
Elso is survived by his sister Gerda Luijten in the
Netherlands, and sons Jim in Summerland, BC. and David
in Oliver, BC.
For those of you that have known both Mecha & Elso,
we would hope you benefit from their words,
“life is short – turn the page” and
“always kiss each other good night”.