Biography hero with old family pictures


Gary was born in Montreal, Canada to two immigrant parents. As a young member of the Seventh-Day Adventists, Romelda was a missionary nurse in her native Philippines, helping to deliver aid to children in various small villages across the 7,000-island nation when she answered the call to come work in the Netherlands in the mid-1960s. It was in Holland that she met Herman.

Herman was five years her junior when they showed up at the same party. He was instantly smitten by the young nurse and determined to pursue her. Finding the Dutch language too much of a challenge to master, Romelda heeded the call from her Filipina colleagues who had emigrated to Canada where once again a recruitment campaign summoned nurses from abroad to come work in their country. In Canada, they spoke English, and she packed up soon after to move there. Herman, still wishing to have Romelda in his life, followed soon thereafter, sending her letters with promises to join her.

Romelda and Herman married in a small apartment in Hampstead with a small gathering of friends and witnesses in 1967. Two years later they started a family with their first child, Gary Elliott, an anglicization of Herman’s father’s name, Gerritt, and an homage to the Prime Minister of Canada at the time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

In an attempt to escape the turmoil of the FLQ crisis in Montreal, the Horsmans briefly moved to Toronto, but soon returned after Herman realized how much he didn’t quite enjoy living there.

In 1971, Herman and Romelda welcomed their second child, Jocelyn-Ann. Jocelyn eventually went on to have a career in nursing after graduating from John Abbott College. She now lives in California with her husband and two children. As a nurse, she has been on the frontlines battling the Coronavirus epidemic of 2019–21.

It was not long before Herman landed a job in the West Island, a mostly anglophone group of suburbs west of downtown. It was here where Gary spent his formative years, attending schools in Dorval, Pointe-Claire and Pierrefonds where he graduated from high school in 1986. His parents were officially divorced that same year after a 10-year separation during which Herman moved to Vermont and eventually remarried.

Gary was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church, but became a born-again Christian in 1984 at Lakeshore Church in Dorval. He still attends there and participates in the music ministry as a piano player and keyboardist.

He went on to attend John Abbott College for two years, first in Health Sciences and then transferring to Social Sciences. He spent one semester at a Bible college in Minnesota before returning home and eventually attending Dawson College in their graphic design program where he graduated with honors in 1993. He has worked as a Graphic Designer from the day he graduated.

Herman died tragically of lung cancer in 1990 at the age of 45. Romelda died quietly of heart failure at a party she hosted for her son’s 50th birthday surrounded by friends and family in 2019. She was 80 years old.

Gary married in 2005 and four years later, the couple had a daughter named Sara. The couple has since divorced in 2011 but remain dedicated co-parents to their only child.