Former mayor of Houston Adrian Meeuwissen has died.
Meeuwissen, who sat as head of Houston’s municipal government on two separate occasions (from 1979-1983 and from 1985-1986), passed away on the evening of Father’s Day with his family by his side. His passing comes just weeks after the passing of his wife Johanna in May.
In a June 23 post the District of Houston offered its condolences to the family in a post showing a number of pictures from Meeuwissen’s time in Houston politics.
“The following photographs represent a celebration of only a few of his accomplishments throughout his time with the municipality,” the District wrote. “May we remember him collectively as a great leader from our community.”
In his obituary, family members characterized him as a proud individual who worked hard to support his children and encourage them to become hard-working and contributing members of society.
For another former Mayor, Tom Euverman, who was re-elected to Council after recently retiring, previously serving in both the role of councillor and Mayor (from 1986 to 2002) Meeuwissen will be remembered as a friend, a colleague, an incredible athlete and — perhaps above all — another local who carries what Euverman referred to as a well-known stubborn streak within the Dutch community.
“The Dutch are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak in them,” he explained, noting his own Dutch heritage.”I don’t know how true that is, but if there’s any truth to it, Adrian had that for sure.”
Looking back to his time on council with Meeuwissen, Euverman remembered him as a Houstonite who would always fight for what he believed in — from advocating for the rights of business owners throughout the region to various personal interests in everything from seniors infrastructure to schooling to the local curling ring.
Once again highlighting that Dutch perseverance, Euverman characterized Meeuwissen’s time on council and as mayor as quite simple: when he believed in something he would fight for it, regardless of the circumstances or what others thought.
“When he was right he was right. There was no ifs ands or buts about it, that’s the way it was,” explained Euverman, thinking back on a number of times when Meeuwissen became extremely passionate about the position he was making in chambers.
And while him and the late councillor didn’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, Euverman said there were a number of times where the two acted as quite strong allies against a common issue.
“When Equity Silver mines came to town … Adrian and I felt that they should pay some taxes toward the community and so he fought really hard to make that happen,” said Euverman, noting the trips they made to Victoria with others to advocate for the position. “We couldn’t get them to be part of the community as far as taxation goes or have a boundary expansion to include them … but we fought pretty hard on that front and that was one of his really strong points.”
In the end, while unsuccessful in their overall ask, Euverman noted council at the time was successful in obtaining an number of concessions, such as money to pave Butler Avenue to the mine’s location.
Beyond his time in municipal politics, Meeuwissen was also an accomplished athlete, having routinely participated in the B.C. seniors games in everything from long jump to javelin to shot put. In 2012 — the last year he would compete in the games due to a knee injury — Meeuwissen would come home with a total of nine medals: three gold, three silver and three bronze.
It’s in stark contrast to a man who came to Canada with little capital aside from a hearty stock in perserverance and initiative.
“I think he came with, it must have been about ten dollars in his pocket, I think, and over the years of hard work, he ended up doing quite well,” said Euverman, who said he will remember the former mayor as someone who would always try to finish what he started and let his own moral compass guide him.
“He was a doer — he had the community 100 per cent in mind, you’ve got to give him credit.”