Obituary: Arthur Ralph Munneke

Arthur Ralph Munneke: 1950 – 2022

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved father and grandfather Arthur Munneke. Art passed away in July, at the age of 72, after a short but courageous battle with Aplastic Anemia. He was surrounded in love by his children and grandchildren as he took his final breaths. As per his wishes, an intimate burial and celebration of life was held shortly after.

Art was born in Barrhead, Alberta on May 20th, 1950, to Joanne and Ali Munneke, who had just arrived from the Netherlands. He spent his early childhood on a farm with his siblings, Jim, Pat, and Anne.

Art fell in love with Geraldine Camping, and in 1976 they visited Salt Spring Island for the weekend, and stayed. They bought a log cabin on Reynolds road, and raised their 3 children, Hanna, Christopher and Simon.

Art was generous with his time, both in work and play. He loved a good project, and a great conversation, to which he added lots of laughter and wit. Thanks to his open mind and adventurous spirit, Art was never afraid to learn or try something new, and was an excellent teacher.

In the early Salt Spring days, he brought these qualities into his community on Reynolds Road and beyond, lending an enthusiastic and helping hand in everything from the neighborhood chicken slaughter, to building houses, and the local “Olympics". Much of this community remained his dearest friends until his final days.

In the early ‘80s, he formed Salt Spring Plumbing, got to know the SSI contracting community, and helped build countless local homes. Art also spent several years as a commercial fisherman. He formed a lifelong bond both with the sea and with his fellow fishermen. Art made his final commercial fishing voyage in the summer of 2020, with his dearest fishing companion.

Art deepened his love affair with the sea by racing and cruising on sailing vessels. He wove his way into the hearts of the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club community - an unsuspecting Albertan gone Fisherman among West Coast Yachters. During these years he honed his skills as a mariner, developed more lifelong friendships and passed his deep love and appreciation for the sea to his family.

After separating from Gerri in 2007, Art spent most of 6 years living his dream of sailing the world. The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, California, Central and South America, Galapagos, Polynesia, and New Zealand.

On the final leg of his journey, single-handing his boat back to Canada, he was hit by a cyclone in the South Pacific. He almost met his end in that storm, but thanks to his calm, problem-solving attitude, his exceptional seamanship, and a remarkable rescue effort, he survived.

He remarried to Cipriana Torillo in 2018, they separated just months before his death.

More than anything, Art loved his family. He spent his last 9 years living on Salt Spring Island next to his 3 children, their spouses (Ladyme Munneke and Hughson Welch), and his 5 grand children; Keshua, Levi and Zyah Welch, and Annacacia and Amaya Munneke. The grandkids lovingly called him Bapa. He was so often found chasing, joking, and playing with the kids. In his final years, he was always looking for ways to lower his footprint on the world, and make it a better place for those around him.

He is so deeply missed.

If you loved Art, raise a glass to his adventurous and generous spirit next time you are near the water. He would love to see you there.

If you would like to do something in Art’s memory, consider donating to the Junior Sailor’s Scholarship program at the Salt Spring Sailing club, so that more young people can come to know the joy of harnessing the wind and sea. Truly this would make him smile.

January 24, 2023 8:09 AM

  • Anna Watkin says:

    Our deep condolences to your whole family on your loss. Big hugs love the Watkin Family

  • Annie2 says:

    Such a full life! I can see how much he will be missed and wish I had known him directly. Condolences to the family. (My granddaughter loved the Sailing Club camp this past summer and I will be sure to make a donation in Art's name)
    Anne Parkinson

  • Wendy H. says:

    We met Art before we moved to Salt Spring when he worked on our cabin. We felt lucky to have such a great plumber. Condolences to the family.
    Ashley & Wendy Hilliard

  • Mielle Chandler says:

    My deepest condolences. I only met Art once...a very memorable meeting and conversation...and was so inspired by his creativity.

  • Marnee Bellavance says:

    So many fond memories, good laughter and smiles. His presence mattered. My condolences to all who knew him

  • Nicholas Gaitt says:

    A good- kind and generous friendRIP ART

  • Hanna says:

    Thank you

  • Hanna says:

    Thank you so much, Anne