In Loving Memory of Ulrike Bemvinda Rodrigues

We are sorry to share the news that Ulrike died unexpectedly on January 3, 2021 due to a neurological event at age 59. As far as we can tell she died at home in her sleep. The coroner has not yet completed an autopsy.

Ulrike will be missed by many, including her mother Ursula Rodrigues, widowed, brother and sister-in-law Jürgen and Kim Rodrigues, brother and sister-in-law Yvan (Tiger) and Sarah Rodrigues, high-school friend Chris Sprague, and countless friends across the world.

Ulrike spent her youth in Guelph, Ontario.  She attended Centennial High School, involved in the school newspaper and Guelph's emerging punk rock scene. She graduated from University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts, and worked in graphics and commercial art before moving to Vancouver in her late twenties.

In recent years she has focused on writing, cycling, and travel, and has played a key role in Vancouver's homes-not-hotels movement as Vancouver residents found affordable housing displaced by Air-BnB rentals. Throughout her life Ulrike has welcomed a diverse array of friends. She has contributed to the music and arts communities, and has been heavily involved in the Vancouver bike scene.

A few months ago Ulrike started experiencing symptoms of loss of memory, difficulty writing and using the computer, and fatigue resulting in her quitting her job to pursue testing. Sadly the problem was more severe and acute than anyone realized, and she passed away before her scheduled MRI appointment later in the month.

Ulrike generously willed her apartment to Atira Women's Resource Society to be used as furnished housing, and her savings to create an endowment fund called Basic Needs + Mitey Deeds – a legacy fund to connect women and girls to shelter, support, and potential.

Respecting her wishes, there will not be a funeral. Please help commemmorate her by sharing your memories here.

Share Your Memories

Please take a moment to share your memories and photos of the time you have spent with Ulrike by clicking this link: Share a memory.

by Janet Hughes on Friday, January 15, 2021 - 02:30

Ulrike was a wonderful friend during one of the most difficult times of my life (mid 80s in Guelph) and although we ended up at opposite ends of the Earth, we still occasionally got in touch. Opinionated but fair and always supportive and kind - but never taking any bullshit. She was always unashamedly herself. Ulrike, you were a bright star, so full of energy and life. You will be sorely missed. I’m sure that she’ll be telling those in the afterlife what they could be doing better.

by Yvan Rodrigues on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 13:32

Ulrike's endowment fund is now able to accept donations. Donations can be made online, or writing a cheque to Vancity Community Foundation and writing Basic Needs and Mitey Deeds on the memo line. Cheques can be mailed to:

Vancity Community Foundation
409 - 312 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6A 2T2

by Debra on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 11:47

I didn't know Ulrike well, but over the years of living in the Fairfax, I would run into her around the building. I'd see her leaving or returning with her bike, or tidying up around the property. This past summer a few of us residents, including Ulrike, shared drinks and snacks in the garden several times... neighbours getting to know each other a little during a difficult time. Ulrike rounded up several of us to spread a huge load of bark mulch around the garden beds of the property and had plans to replant them with new greenery. She cared, she was a dedicated soul and we will miss her. 

by Janet Pohl on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 11:27

I have just read 5 pages of memories from friends and family of Ulrike and they have all captured her perfectly.  She was an exceptional woman.

My husband Arthur and I met Ulrike on her 50th birthday weekend at a Gabriole Island Haven Communication Workshop.  She and Art teamed up early in the session for a 5-5-5 exercise.  After that she joined Art and I at meal times so we could get to know each other better.  Since then we got together at least once a year.  On one of her early visits she brought us a bottle of Boujelais wine called "FUN" which my husband really enjoyed and bought for years, mainly to remember Uli.  I think where ever Uli went she brought fun and joy and honesty.  She was very supportive to me during my husbands' illness and death.  I am so glad I got to know her and that she was able to attend my 70th birthday celebration in 2019.  I loved reading her blogs and sharing in her travel adventures.  Bring your joy and outgoing spirit to your new domain Uli.  Love, Jan

by Jen DeTracey on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 03:58

Uli and I both moved to Vancouver in 1992. I met her at the A&B Sound training. She had just been hired to work as a graphic designer at their HQ and I was working at the downtown retail location. I remember going to many concerts with Uli (free tickets from the record labels). During these performances, she liked to move around the night club watching and listening to the bands from different view points.

The picture with the yellow blind was her the first appartment she rented in Mount Pleasant after living in the West End. It was was up the hill from 4th Avenue. That night we went to a Fetish party at a night club. Her in black heels and a playful attire. Ulrike knew how to create an adventure out of every outing she made whether it was in her own city or half way around the world.

Uli love doing road trips. We did many together. Several camping adventures included setting up a tent at the edge of a farmer field one night. We also camped up around Boston Bar at a free camp site. (I can't find all the pictures from these adventures sadly:( It was a camp site that had more black bears than campers. One afternoon we were taking a hike on a trail near the site and encountered a black bear less than 3 meters away. Uli was very calm, made noise by clapping while I was freaking out inside.

We traveled to Vancouver Island, (see pics) and hopped on walk on passenger ferry that stopped at many places. I think it was near Ucluelet, BC. Uli would have remembered exactly where it was. She had a great memory for details. 

She was very excited when she purchased her condo in Mount Pleasant. When she was travelling, she would rent it out. For a number of years she rented it out while living a huge shared house, which is where she met PH, the love of her life. I hope they their souls have reconnected.

Uli give me many thoughtful gifts over the years. I remember telling her that when I was a teenager that I watched the Brady Bunch. I remember telling her that one afternoon that I was watching the very first episode, when I was called up to help my Mom make dinner. I told Uli about my teen angst and disappointment. Some where she found the first three eposides of the Brady Bunch on VHS, where Mike and Carol has just met and got married. She wrapped it up and give it to me as a gift. Uli paid attention to the little details. I suppose that's make made her a great writer, story telling and explorer.

Our lives weaved in and out since PH death. When my partner and I moved to Mount Pleasant in 2014, I was just around the corner from Uli apartment. This is when we reconnected more regularly until I moved to Montreal in 2017.

At this time, in 2014, was on the stata counsel and was in starting to deal with the Air BNB issues in her building. She was dogged about changing the city bylaws and bold in her approach to address the real estate agent who owned many suites in her building and was renting them out through Air BNB. Her passion for affordable housing was relentless. This is when she was exploring what her legacy of giving would be.

I was saddened, shocked and heartbroken when saw the Facebook post about Ulike's death. It is clear from all the stories, posts and photos in Memory of Ulrike. She is loved and will be remembered by so many of us.

by Dunni on Monday, January 11, 2021 - 22:33

I met Ulrike once. Nancy, (My Canadian Mum as I fondly call her) was giving me a bike but wouldn’t be home on the day I was to receive it. She arranged with Ulrike, who was her neighbour to meet me and give the bike on the Saturday afternoon I was to receive it. Ulrike did not only hand the bike over to me, she took her time to explain some of the things that I needed to fix before using the bike. I particularly recall her telling me that I might need to change the tyres to slimmer ones later if I wanted to use the bike daily on the road. Afterwards, she walked me to the bike shop to pump the tyres and get a helmet. I was thankful to have received such attention and enthusiasm from someone who only just met me.

Although this is the only memory I have of Ulrike, she made a kind impression and I am glad I met her, even if it was just that one time. May her soul Rest In Peace.

by Monica Hepburn on Monday, January 11, 2021 - 16:45
I didn’t know Ulrike well, but she left an impression as a warm, community-minded person. I’m not surprised to see how well loved she is. As neighbours we would see each other come and go and she always greeted me with a kind hello. My condolences to her loved ones for this tragic loss.
by Tania D on Monday, January 11, 2021 - 09:07

I met Ulrike at work, and we became friends. We lived blocks from one another and she looked after my cats and I, her plants. She loved happy hour and we would meet up every few months for happy hour snacks.  She was always in for a good deal if she could find one.

She always cared about others and her community and I will always remember her for that. She helped me set up my bike which someone abandoned at her building and was always there if I needed advice or tips navigating the neighbourhood.

I will miss her passion for cycling, the environment, travelling and community and our occasional happy hour. Miss you, Ulrike.

by Ulrike's last work team ... on Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 18:05

To read the words of all who experienced time with Ulrike, I am left feeling a void at not having known the real woman.  My experience with Ulrike, was only through the Society of Techinal Communications (STC) body, and in what became her last work environment.

In the short time I'd known Ulrike, I was impressed with her.  She was talented, smart and strong willed. I was excited to learn that she was joining my work team, but disappointed that opportunities to meet for coffee or lunch were not possible with COVID present.

She left us to soon, and we're saddened to think how she may have suffered with her final health challenges.

The team would like to contribute to her endowment fund, but we need to know how we can make this contribution please.

Yvan: The fund will be set up for donations in a few days. Please check back soon.

by Chris Sprague on Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 15:41

I’ve known Ulrike since high school in the 1970s.  She was smart, vibrant, fun to be with and wise enough to see trouble and steer clear of it.

As teenagers, did we hitch-hike with our friend Martin 160 km to go camping at Killbear Provincial Park, after telling our parents we were bussing to Wasaga Beach?   Um…..maybe

Did Ulrike and I climb the fence after hours to get the hot tub running at our Louisiana campground so we could drink some Gentleman Jack whiskey in the midnight hot tub bubbles?   Uh…probably

I’ll never forget the time in the 90s that we were picked up on Vancouver Island by some guys who needed an adult to ride in the box with their lively kids.  Ulrike happily shared the truck box with our bikes, the kids, the kids’ candy (which they shared freely with her), the laundry and some paint cans, as we roared north on the Island Highway.   She had a blast with the kids, and ended the ride excited with shining eyes.  This, after we had bailed on another ride, because she did not feel safe.

She was so fun to travel with because she was always up for new experiences.  We transformed a cycling trip on Vancouver Island into a hitch-hiking, cycling trip on Haida Gwaii.   We rode our bikes out a dirt road in the rainforest to Rose Spit, and, of course, made sure to stop in at The Path, an off-the-grid cocktail bar and restaurant on the way.

Her care and empathy for people in need sets an example for us all.   We once encountered a man who was about to jump off of one of Vancouver’s bridges.  No way could Ulrike ride past him.  We talked him down and into a coffee shop, where Ulrike disappeared into a locked washroom with this stranger for 20 minutes, scaring me, of course.  She managed to soothe him, and we got him as much help as he would take…Ulrike’s brown eyes pouring out care, worry and sympathy.

This empathy continues on with the donation of her condo and her savings to help women and girls in need.

I’ll so sadly miss cycling through Vancouver’s streets with her, on our way to a cinnamon bun or some gin tasting.   I’ll miss hearing of her fun-filled travels.

Ulrike set a fantastic example for us by stepping lightly and with purpose on the earth while she made her community better and enjoyed life.  I’m so grateful for the multitude of blogs and photos to help us remember her beautiful smile and adventurous spirit.

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