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Kees van de Graaf Sr., the giant of Dutch Dredging BV. has passed away

3 January 2017

Cees van de Graaf Sr. // ceesvandegraaf_s.jpg (89 K)We were notified last week, by the close family, that Kees van de Graaf Sr. passed away peacefully, on the second day of Christmas. It was especially noted that he died peacefully in the solid confidence that he was going to a better place to meet his creator.

The memorial service was held last Saturday in his home town of Dordrecht, the Netherlands. It was attended by a huge group of his family and relations, and close friends and acquaintances - many representatives of the dredging community. It was a solemn and impressive ceremony in harmony with Kees’ deep religious convictions but, both his sons, Hugo and Kees Jr., pictured their father in a touching personal elegy with joyful and amusing tales.

We all knew Kees as a straightforward man, who was clear, sharp and reliable, but he was also sociable and committed. Kees did not care for status or ranking. Everybody was important to him in equal measure and he was always ready to reach out with a sensible helping hand. Within his dredging company this earned him the nickname “Ome Kees” (“Uncle Kees”).

Starting as a young academic in Dutch Dredging BV. his sturdy hand in management grew the company from 2 dredging vessels to a highly successful 40 vessels at the last count. He proved to be a thoroughbred dredging entrepreneur, and that’s not all… In addition to his many achievements as a dredger he also made formidable contributions to society and the dredging community in general. Referring to the latter, his numerous offices in CEDA, EUDA, IADC, VBKO, CB and VvW are all testament to that.

We have lost a giant in dredging. Let us comfort ourselves with the thought that we had the honour and pleasure, to know and work and be friends with him. I can hear Kees saying “Dat is juist m’n jongen!” (“That’s right m’lad, carry on!”). He will be fondly remembered.

Johan Pennekamp
Chairman CEDA Dutch Section