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Old-time Surrey farmer George Zaklan has died

‘When he was born there was 3,000 people in Surrey,’ said daughter Stefanie Zaklan Duff
George Zaklan rests on a bench in 2022 near Bear Creek Park, near the new stone marker that features his map of Surrey’s “stump farmers” of the 1930s and 1940s. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

Old-time Newton farmer George Zaklan died Thursday, Jan. 26 at Surrey Memorial Hospital after suffering a stroke at home on Monday morning. He was 90.

“Just to see all the cranes and all these tall buildings, just a visual from his bedroom window,” his daughter Stefanie Zaklan Duff said Friday. “When he was born there was 3,000 people in Surrey and there was no Surrey Memorial Hospital.”

Zaklan lived at same house and farm on 132 Street and 84 Avenue for 90 years. Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose used to buy his vegetables there. He described Zaklan as “very entrepreneurial.”

“He was pretty aware of what was going on,” Bose said, adding Zaklan had a heart for preserving Bear Creek Park.

READ ALSO SURREY NOW & THEN: ‘Stump Farmers’ of 1940s mapped on new heritage marker, including exiled families

Long-time friend Annie Kaps knew Zaklan for 80 years. “We grew up in that very Slavonic neighbourhood.”

George Zaklan is survived by his wife Evelyn, daughter Stephanie, son Mike, and two grandchildren. He will be cremated and a stone marker will be erected at Valley View cemetery but his ashes, as per his request will be scattered on the farm. His funeral will be held at the Serbian Orthodox Church in Burnaby, but a date and time have not yet been set.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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