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 stroke caused by a brain tumour at age 59. As far as we can tell she died at home in her sleep.

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 Yvan Rodrigues on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 06:32

We have received news from the neuropathologist.

Ulrike had a brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. It is a lethal malignant brain tumour that in Ulrike's case caused a fatal bleed (stroke). It had also spread to her limbic system, which was likely the cause of the symptoms that led to her inability to work, and seeking diagnosis for her difficulties with impairment of memory, speech, and writing.

by Gwen Varns on Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 12:37

Happy big 60 Ulie, I will raise a glass in your honour tonight! Here's a photo of us hiking with Sonja in the Olympic Peninsula, I'm guessing in 2014. Miss you and love you girl!

by Chris Sprague on Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 10:50

Happy 60th birthday, Ulrike.   I wish you were here to celebrate it with us.

by Patrick Gauch on Monday, April 5, 2021 - 11:46

I met Ulrike in grade 10 at Centennial CVI in Guelph and she became an influence on me for the next ten years. She was a friend who was always there to support you, celebrating the good times and helping you through the bad. In grade 12 and 13, she helped me be a better writer and inspired me to be a better person.

We went off to university (she went to Guelph, I to Waterloo) but always found some time to connect. She introduced me to the new music and the Rocky Horror Show (Elora Cinema was fun, seeing the play live at the Danforth Theatre in Toronto was unforgettable).

Unfortunately, as happen in life, we lost touch. I moved east to Ottawa and Ulrike went west. From what I have read here, Ulrike didn’t stop connecting with people and impacting lives for the better. She had a full life that ended far too soon.

I offer my condolences to her family and many friends who have lost a bright light.

by Craig MacPhail on Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 20:20

My deepest condolences.

I met Ulrike in the late ’80s working at an ad agency in Hamilton before she left for Vancouver. While our paths had not crossed before, we shared having attended the University of Guelph and working on the Ontarion, the student newspaper. We hit it off right away while we worked across from one another in a graphic arts studio (it was before computers). The day was filled with conversation and music – through Ulrike, I was introduced to The Selecter, the Violent Femmes and the Cocteau Twins, to name a few. I recall many enjoyable lunches and after-work beers.

Ulrike was bold and forthright in her views and did not refrain from challenging accepted wisdom. One particular conversation that has stayed with me was on gender-neutral language. Back then, common usage was to assign the universal “person” with the male gender. Ulrike argued that instead, we should be using “they” or “them,” which led to the discussion that as marketers should we follow our audience with the words they expect or lead them with an example of more fair usage? Ulrike, of course, argued that we should lead them. She was right. As I have continued in my career, I have followed the view that one can be an agent of change, even in seemingly mundane communication projects.

After Ulrike moved to Vancouver, we stayed in touch for a time, but like all things, we drifted apart. For the last long while, my contact was limited to reading about her adventures and liking her career progress on LinkedIn. From my experience with her and the many recollections here, clearly, Ulrike was wonderful. I am thankful for having known her and wish her well on her journeys.

Craig

by Yvan Rodrigues on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 18:54

Occasionally you will see that spam bots slip past the "human checks" and post an entry. It might take me a couple of days to notice and delete these.

This is the cost of allowing posts without registration, verification, and that hassle. If it gets worse, I'll have to limit access to the site and require registration before people can post.

by Etta on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 13:07

Inquisitive. Adventurous. Engaging. Long walks, candid talks. Neighbourhood cafes and curry diners. Travel tales and activist spiels. Fearless ventures on the Honda Cub....and other wheels. The visit to the owl rescue sanctuary and then sighting the snowy owls in Boundary Bay. 

by Janis Harper on Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 11:48

 

Although I first knew of Ulrike in connection with bicycle advocacy, I didn’t get to know her until she submitted to my anthology “Emails From India: Women Write Home,” and I selected her thoughtful piece “Bicycles and Bare Breasts” for publication in it (Seraphim Editions, 2013). We first met at another contributor’s house at a party to celebrate the book’s imminent launch in fall 2013; and Uli read beautifully at the overly crowded Vancouver launch at Café Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive, as well as the following year at a reading of the book on Gabriola Island.

 

Ulrike was good at making things happen. She helped snag an invite for me to present “Emails From India” at the Goa Arts and Literary Festival (2014) in India; we stayed at the same hotel (which she had arranged) and spent time together in Panjim and at the festival. She was on one panel with me at the festival, and when the festival coordinators suddenly needed a host for a workshop, Ulrike jumped right in. She wasn’t afraid of speaking publicly, and knew how to hold the attention of an audience. Calm, articulate, intelligent, she commanded the stage while generating warmth and an invitation to connect. And that’s also what struck me about Ulrike—her ability to orchestrate connections with people and projects, and to lend whatever talents were required. She had a nose for promotion, too. She was savvy.

 

I know Ulrike’s discovery of her Goan roots enriched her life greatly, and that is what brought us together—India, and writing about it. We kept in touch when we both lived in Vancouver and saw each other occasionally. Smart, vibrant, ridiculously beautiful, articulate, adventurous, up for anything . . . Ulrike Rodrigues. Thank you for sharing your stories, yourself, with us all. I treasure all you brought to my life. May this journey be your best one yet.

by Paul Mendes on Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 17:12

I met Ulrike through her battles against AirBnB operators at the Fairfax. She was a lovely lady who really stuck her neck out when it counted.  Such a kind and gentle soul. 

by Hugh Piggins on Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 15:37

I got to know Ulrike (or Rik as she went by back then) while we were in high school in the late 1970s. We took some classes together and she cajoled me into writing (very) occasional contributions to the school newsletter that she edited. At high school, she was already independently minded and one of the few people interested in punk and new wave music. She introduced many of us to Patti Smith and we learned that she was passionate in her beliefs and that you needed to be able to fight your corner if she challenged you. She was also a very warm and considerate person and someone you could bounce ideas and thoughts off of in the negotiation of those awkward late teen years.  

Following high school, our paths diverged as I was the traveler, inter-railing around Europe and studying in the UK, while Rik stayed in Guelph.  We exchanged letters a couple of times a year and I always looked forward to hers as she expertly interweaved a bit of gossip with thoughts on culture and the utility of higher education. We briefly overlapped in Guelph in the mid-80s, but after that, we lost touch as we both left the city for different parts of Canada.

Some 20 years later we reconnected over an interest in touring bicycles, and an erratic exchange of emails ensued. About 8 years ago I happened to be passing through Vancouver and I sent her a last-minute email hoping she’d be around. As good fortune would have it, she was. Ulrike re-arranged her plans at very short notice and was a great host, with a refined knowledge of local hostelries and expert advice on what to see and do in Vancouver.  She delighted in bringing me up to speed with her numerous travel plans and local activism as well as the latest news of her family. It was wonderful to see her and to witness at first hand that she had lost none of her warmth, spark and spirit. We promised we would try to keep in regular touch, but our correspondence remained stochastic.  

It was a great shock to learn of Ulrike’s sudden passing. I always admired her fearlessness and adventurous free-spirited nature and I occasionally lived vicariously through reading of her travels.  It is clear from other tributes here that Ulrike led a full and rich life and touched many people. The world is a lesser place with her gone and I will miss the thought of her cycling in far flung corners of globe.  My sincere condolences to her family and many friends.

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