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Gerry Segger Heritage Collection Resources: Biographies of Donors to the Collection

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Biographies of Donors to the GSHC

Gerry Segger and Gerry Kuipers

When the Gerry Segger Heritage Collection was founded in 2013, the archive received significant donations on behalf of two individuals: Gerry Segger and Gerry Kuipers. Both
Segger and Kuipers immigrated to Canada in the 1950s following World War II and became friends shortly thereafter. The biographies below are intended to provide researchers with context as they navigate the collections of both individuals.

SeggerGerry Segger

Gerry Segger was born to Jan Albert Borggreve and Geesken Benierman in Gölenkamp, Germany on May 28, 1940. Segger’s family formerly had the last name Borggreve; however, the name was changed to Segger because Jan Albert Borggreve was adopted by an uncle with the last name Segger. Segger’s family history in the county of Bentheim extends back to the 1800s.

Gerry Segger was raised on a farm. In his autobiography My Story, Segger recounts childhood memories of farm life, raising pigs and cows, as well as hearing nine bombs dropped during World War II. Segger was five years old when World War II ended. Although Segger grew up in Germany, his family had close connections with the Netherlands. The German county of Bentheim is bordered by the Dutch provinces of Overijssel and Drenthe, and Segger’s church community in Bentheim was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church classis.

Segger remained in post-war Bentheim for 13 years until he immigrated to Canada in 1958 at the age of 18. Segger married his fiancée Hildegard Rahier on July 10, 1967 and had two children: Scott and Jason.

From 1963 until 1972, Segger worked for Holland Life Insurance Society. In 1973, Segger founded his own life insurance company named Segger and Associates. Subsequently, Financial Life of Canada named Gerry Segger the 1979 Leader of Sales. In the 1980s, Segger published articles on finance in various journals such as International Insurance Sales Magazine. In 1995, Segger was appointed General Agent for Transamerica Life Insurance Company in Edmonton. In 1999, Segger & Associates was purchased by HUB International and Segger subsequently founded an investment company named Hilger Investments.

Throughout his life, Gerry Segger has been an avid traveler and has travelled to all seven continents. Following the founding of the Gerry Segger Heritage Collection in 2013, the archive has grown to contain everything from Segger’s letters including correspondences between him and his family, as well as Christmas cards, former passports, and hundreds of documents Segger saved between 1950 and 2019. Segger’s autobiography My Story was published in 2012 and copies are also available in the collection.

Gerry Kuipers

Gerry Kuipers was born to Johanna Schraa and Hendrik Kuipers in Den Helder, North Holland on July 31, 1935. Although he was born in Den Helder, Gerry Kuipers was raised in the Dutch town of Zwartsluis in the province of Overijssel. Kuipers’ family history in Zwartsluis extends back to the 1800s; Kuipers’ grandfather, Hendrik Schraa, was the renovation architect for the Hervormde Kerk of Zwartsluis in 1932 when the steeple was erected.

Gerry Kuipers was raised on a barge (known as a tjalk in Dutch), which is a traditional flat-bottomed boat used to transport cargo through shallow water. The Kuipers’ tjalk was named “De Twee Gebroeders” (The Two Brothers) and was used to haul combustible peat between the Dutch cities of Zwartsluis and Den Helder. Because of Gerry Kuipers’ upbringing on a boat, Kuipers only received formal education up to sixth grade.

Kuipers was four years old when World War II started and ten years old when it ended. In 1954, at the age of 19, Kuipers immigrated to Canada alone, unaccompanied by his family. Kuipers married his fiancée Willemina Scholten on October 27, 1960 in Edmonton. In the 1960s, Kuipers had four children: Grenada, Jolanda, Henry, and Ronald.

Over the course of his life, Gerry Kuipers founded a number of different companies. In 1964, Kuipers founded Rainbow Eavestroughing, and he subsequently founded Rainbow Metal Products (1982) and an investment company named Hardwill Holdings (1990).

Kuipers followed the Reformed Christian tradition and served as a deacon in Third Christian Reformed Church from 1970 to 1973 and as an elder from 1974 to 1977 and from 1979 to 1981. Kuipers also served two terms as a deacon in the Orthodox Reformed Church of Edmonton: first from 1991 to 1994 and again from 1998 to 2001.

Gerry Kuipers passed away on May 13, 2013. Although he is remembered for his work as an entrepreneur as well as an antique car restorer, Kuipers’ significance to the Gerry Segger Heritage Collection actually pertains most to his hobbies. Kuipers was keenly interested in genealogy, Dutch and English etymology, as well as stamp collecting and coin collecting. The Gerry Segger Heritage Collection contains Kuipers’ genealogical notes and records in binders, as well as a large family tree, Kuipers’ Gens Nostra collection, and photocopies of records from Bentheim, Germany. In addition, the oak roll-top desk and filing cabinet on display in the library are former possessions of Gerry Kuipers.