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 Julie (Sprague) Wilson on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 15:18

I was a friend of Ulrike in high school. She was quick-witted, clever and enthusiastic, and was immediately accepted into our group when she moved from Toronto to Guelph.

Jurgen, I cannot believe Ulrike ever played with Barbies; that is so unlike the "Rikki" I knew!

Although we drifted apart, Ulrike was still part of my life, as I heard of her many escapades with and through my sister Chris. I was never as bold and daring as Ulrike, and am in awe of her many adventures that I've read of here.

My condolences to the whole family; you have lost a much-loved treasure! Tiger and Jurgen, I remember with fondness how much she cared for you both, and was not shy to express that, even as a teenager. Thank you to the family for making me welcome in your home so many years ago!

by John DeCorso on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 09:23

I am so sorry to hear that Ulrike passed away. We were in a great group of friends at Centennial CVI in Guelph in the late 70s. I lost touch with her after high school, but it's wonderful to read of her many contributions and initiatives. My sincere condolences to her family and friends. The picture was taken in 1978 or 1979 in Rockwood, Ontario, during a short autumn hike.

by Cyprian Fernandes on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 17:12

There is greatness and Ulrike, in the same breath. I did not know but my soul has been nourished by her writings, her wonderful humanity and the unique soul she was.  My heart cries for her and the tears of all the people who have signed and others who have acknowledged will celebrate her forever. If  U knew U, then you must have been blessed.

by Gwen Varns on Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 21:38

Ulie my dear friend, over the past 13 years you’ve been my faithful companion over countless shared meals, cocktails, comedy - good and bad, plays, dance, movies, multiple road trips to Washington state and that horrible time we checked out theatre sports.

In August during our annual trip to Havana for Mojitos you disclosed that you were struggling to understand the computer system at your new job. I tried to assure you sometimes it takes us older folks more time to learn new things. In September you took me to a “new” restaurant for my 50th birthday but didn’t realize we had been there before and both agreed to never go back. I laughed because I hadn't recognized the name of the restaurant but you were more concerned as your issues at work had not gone away. And on a sunny November day over a beautiful lunch you told me you quit your job as the cognitive issues were not resolving, that the doctor was running tests but nothing was confirmed. I let you know that I was there for you and could see by your reaction that you felt that to be true.

We’ve had many amazing times together but that day stood out as one of the most lovely and heartwarming. I felt honoured to be your friend and know the feeling was mutual. Sadly, that was the last time I saw you and now feel gutted that I couldn’t make a date happen in December.

We’ve both been through so much in 13 years and have been steadfast at each others side through it all. I’ve admired your ability to unabashedly sit at a bar by yourself and you said you admired my ability to tell it like it is. I feel so absolutely devastated by your loss Ulie and I want you to know how much I love and admire you. I miss you terribly my dear friend.

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.