Norm Van Elslander
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NORMAN VAN ELSLANDER
January 18, 1936 - February 3, 2023
With great sadness, we announce that Norm passed away on February 3, 2023.
Norm was predeceased by his father Alec and mother Nellie; brother Donald; his wife of 59 years Peggy and daughter Lorilyn. Norm is survived by his children Leonette (Martin) and Todd (Darlene); sisters-in-law Janet Van Elslander and Bev Banks; many nieces and nephews; and life long friend Dale Ostrom.
Norm began his entrepreneurial journey working as a young boy alongside his parents in the family grocery store. From there, he branched out to many other pursuits working in restaurants, hotels and bars. His first start of ownership was a Chicken Delight franchise. Then in the early 1960’s Dad had an idea to start a pizza restaurant. He wanted the name to sound authentic so he called the restaurant, Gondola Pizza. The very first location was on Pembina Hwy and Oakenwald. He worked tirelessly with Mom for many years growing the restaurant into a success with many Canadian franchises. He accomplished his goal and sold the business. Still having the need to be in the restaurant business, he started another venture called Mr Mustard. That, too, was successfully franchised and eventually sold. Gondola Pizza needed his expertise once more so Dad returned to the helm to make it thrive once again. Eventually in the 1980’s Gondola Pizza was sold a second time. Looking for a change Dad ventured into commercial real estate. He built, renovated, owned and operated strip malls. In 1993, they decided to expand on being landlords and purchased The Medicine Rock Café which they operated for 12 years. Then after a two year hiatus from restaurant business they jumped back in again and opened Van Goes Pizza & Chicken. A few years later he decided to step away from the restaurant and sell. Dad was never satisfied staying still. He was constantly looking for the next venture. Whether that be purchasing land and developing it, opening another restaurant or any other idea that came to mind. His creative business sense was always working. Even in his last days he was talking about wanting to build condominiums.
Many in business would know Norm as a shrewd businessman always seeking the best deal possible. If you did business with Norm you were guaranteed two things: a discount was demanded and bills were paid Net 30 days. Those who accepted his terms were assured of a lasting business relationship.
Personally, Norm was a family man who loved his wife, children and extended family dearly. He took great pleasure in providing for his family making sure we were happy, healthy and always protected. Dad always wanted to share food, drinks and good times with those he cared about. He loved making food and telling you to come by and pick it up. He was also a loyal friend who could be counted on to help either financially or if you had a problem he could solve. If he couldn’t help directly then he offered his advice or knew someone who could. He never questioned whether to help only where you needed him to be. He especially enjoyed mentoring others by demonstrating his skills or sharing his knowledge. Most of the time this was cooking related.
As tough as Dad was on the exterior those who knew him, knew he had a kind heart and was a generous soul. There are many examples of Dad having a soft spot for people in need of help.
Dad always wanted to be with the love of his life, Mom and they shared many passions together: cooking and fine dining, their cabin, family & friends at Twin Lakes; and traveling especially to B.C., Hawaii & California.
Norm’s family kindly requests that his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by visiting his tribute page at EthicalDeathCare.com. A photo-biography, as well as memories and stories published by those who knew him, are available there.
In Accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place and a dual Celebration of Life service for both Norm and Peggy will be held at 2:00 pm on June 22, 2023 at 603 Wellington Crescent.
A Hui Hou Kakou Dad!
(Hawaiian, Until We Meet Again)
We Love You!
Norm's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page.
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