Friday 13 April 2001

Crash victim had plans for dream trip
Longtime Valley resident killed a month before visit to native Holland

Janet Hunter, with files from Graham Hughes
The Ottawa Citizen

Wayne Hiebert, the Ottawa Citizen / Richard Van Grinsven was killed yesterday in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer about 40 kilometres north of Perth.

Just a month before he was to return to his native land for the first time, Richard Van Grinsven was killed in a head-on collision early yesterday morning.

Mr. Van Grinsven, 59, was southbound on County Road 511, about 40 kilometres north of Perth, when the van he was driving crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Van Grinsven was a child when he came to Canada from the Netherlands with his family in the early 1950s. The family settled in the Killaloe area before moving to southern Ontario, but Mr. Van Grinsven never returned to Holland.

"He had never been back and he was just going to go in May," said his neighbour and longtime friend, Carol Van Massenhoven.

After many years, Mr. Van Grinsven, with his own family, and their close friends Carol and Joe Van Massenhoven, and their four children, moved back to the area 21 years ago. The families settled on adjacent farms in Brudenell, about 10 kilometres south of Killaloe.

"His family was very important to him and living where we lived, here," said Mrs. Van Massenhoven last night.

She said Mr. Van Grinsven, his wife Maria, and adult daughters Mary and Tammy, were not only great friends to her family but great neighbours also.

"He was a good neighbour to everyone," Mrs. Van Massenhoven said. "He was there to lend a hand if you needed him."

Mr. Van Grinsven had in recent years put his hand to growing and showing giant pumpkins, often competing with his wife.

As well as farming and trapping, Mr. Van Grinsven covered Eastern Ontario selling farm implements.

Mr. Van Grinsven was active in his church, Our Lady of the Angels in Brudenell, and helped with the annual church supper.

"Because of his business in the whole of Eastern Ontario, I think he was known fairly widely," Mrs. Van Massenhoven said.

She said Mr. Van Grinsven was working yesterday morning when his van collided with an empty tractor-trailer on its way to an open pit mine near the hamlet of Tatlock.

The truck normally carries calcium carbonate to the OMYA Canada Inc. processing plant just west of Perth.

The van, going down a long S-curve, wound up under the tractor unit and was carried across the road and into the ditch.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to Perth Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and shock.

Traffic was rerouted around the accident site until midnight while the crash was investigated.

An autopsy will be conducted today. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.