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 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.

by Lori Kittelberg on Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 16:18

I got to know Uli during our many lunchtime walks and after-work beers when we worked together at City Hall. 

A sensitive soul, she provided me with insights that helped me gain a new perspective on my son's thoughts and behaviour. He too is a sensitive person and I remember him enjoying her company at a staff gathering, then later at one of my family's holiday "orphans' dinners" with friends whose families lived far away. Uli's ready smile and curious nature made it seemingly easy for her to fit in with anyone. It's no surprise to me that she had such a wide, wonderful range of friends. One of my photos was taken at a Thanksgiving dinner, the other was taken during a birthday beer outing.

I became a fairly regular (albeit fair-weather) bicycle commuter, something I don't know would have happened without her encouragement. Our conversations veered from serious topics like race, identity, and family, to the fun stuff like music, food, and travel. When I see salted caramel anything, I think of how she couldn't understand people's obsession with it. She did, however, enjoy a good crostata, particularly with a good coffee.

We joked about our trips to the "four corners" formed by some of our favourite independent coffee shops near City Hall. Uli, I'm going to miss you. I can only hope we meet again some day at another version of the four corners. Until then, rest easy, my friend. 

by Jude Snaydon on Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 16:05

I met Ulrike (circa 2005) when she came to MEC to meet the copy editor. We chatted while she waited for her meeting. Something about her drew me immediately. A magnetism and such a warm smile. Copywriting was not my dept. and I have no recollection how we stayed in touch, but we did. We both loved travel and riding. I admired her adventurousness. I respected her willingness to stand up against injustice. My heart goes out to all those who were close to her. The world needs more Ulrikes.

by Ian Cook and Sue O’Rourke on Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 14:28

Ulrike and I initially met as members of the BC Association of Travel Writers. She was always the one organizing get-togethers such as “Beers with Peers” and a few of us would always take her up on it. When my wife and I moved to France in 2013 Ulrike and I had lost touch, but a couple of winters later we met by chance on the streets of Panjim in Goa, India.  

Of course we spent time together over the next few days and by the end of the stay, Ulrike was coming to see us in France the following winter to not only visit but to house/cat sit while we did a bit of travelling. She brought a bike with her and cycled to more places than we had during her stay. She also became very much a part of the community in our little French village and came to visit again for a summer bike tour a couple of years later. 

This is all such a shock that such a vibrant, healthy woman could have this happen so quickly. RIP Ulrike; your legacy remains.

by Gwendal Castellan on Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 13:30

I recall meeting Ulrike for the first time in Amy's living room for a Momentum magazine editorial planning session. Being new, she was friendly and along with everyoneade me feel welcome. Since then our love of cycling, in the city and out beyond for adventures short and long has meant that we have cris crossed each other many times over the last fifteen years.

One anecdote I'd like to share is when we were both on the board of the then named Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition. We both had come together with the shared realization that the name and the brand elements were no longer adequately reflecting the breadth of activities and ambitions of the organization.

Over the next few months we discussed how to develop a process to create a new brand that better reflected the organization, its ambitions and how it would be in the world. Ulrike was resourceful and forceful, she was able through her gentle and open style to bring people on board and found a contact at a national communications and marketing company willing to provide pro-bono work for the non profit.

Ten years later Hub is a thriving and amazing organization that has grown into its new name and I like to think that Ulrike was part of the transformation into a diverse and inclusive community organization.

I will miss her dearly, her warm smile and and her earnest dissatisfaction with the status quo. Our community has lost someone who was an inspiration as she engaged in so many ways with a vision of a better world. I am certain that this inspiration will live on in all who knew and collaborated with her throughout the years.  Ride on in peace. Gwendal 

by Mana Amessi on Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 04:21

My family and I met Ulrike in Lauzun, when she visited our common friends Ian and Susan Cook in South of France then housesat and took care of their cat Friday. We had many opportunities to chat in my bar, enjoy music together, gatherings in the village with friends and neighbours and she immediately fitted !

There are so many adjectives that come to my mind when I think of her or see her picture and all of them are positive : smiley, welcoming, smart, warm, interesting, joyful, discreet, friendly, happy....the list is almost endless! To us, who met her for such a short time, it's been a shock finding out this morning she had passed away, I can't imagine the loss for her family and closer friends.

My daughter Aliénor, who's 13, my son Tristan, who's 12 and myself wish to let her relatives and friends know how much joy she brought everywhere she went and how much we wish she had been able to come back. Her blog shows what she did when she was here, a big part of her time here in South of France was spent meeting people and discovering tiny villages and I'm sure, just like us, they will remember her smile forever. Rest in peace lovely lady !

by Marie Rodrigues on Friday, January 8, 2021 - 18:24

My first meeting with Ulrike was when I married her Uncle. She was just a shy teenager and attended our wedding with her brother.  Her contagious smile in the photo taken on our wedding day, and her strength at that young age is so obvious in this photo. It was the same day her father was in hospital having had a major heart attack.

Years went by and she moved to Vancouver. In 2008, I contacted her, to meet up as I was visiting her city along with my daughter. Ulrike went out of her way to plan some sightseeing trips for us. We spent a great week with her and I was so proud to see what a beautiful woman she grew to be. Adventurous, intelligent, and fearless, she traveled the world on her own, and also rode a motorbike with such bravery. 

She visited us in Toronto for my daughter Clarissa's wedding, May 2019.  I know she had a good time as I watched her dance to the beat of the music just standing near her table. I had to drag her on to the dance floor to join our group of women trying to keep up with the rhythm of the song.

Rest in peace Ulrike, you are always in my prayers.
Aunt Marie