We also had to say goodbye to many entrepreneurs from Flemish Brabant in 2023.
Café owner and market seller Felix Claus / 1951 – 2023
On January 9 we said goodbye to Felix Claus. He was 72 years old.
Klaus was a well-known figure in Vilvoorde, where he ran the Koning van Spange café. In 1995, after working as a market vendor, he took over the management of the café on the Grote Markt and set it up with his family (his wife, Janine van Campenhout, and his two sons, Stephen and Johan). The place to be by. They kept the café open until the end of 2010, but its memory will live on for a long time.
“People still talk to us about it as if it were yesterday. Even though so many years have passed,” says Johan. “The same thing always comes back. That was a beautiful time. It was a homecoming for many people. It was a cafe with a soul. Everyone received a friendly word, a nice chat, and a good pint in a clean glass. because our father He Said…”
Klaus has been fighting colon cancer since 2020.
Queen Seagers store owner / 1973 – 2023
On April 13 we said goodbye to Quinn Seagers. He was 49 years old.
Segers has operated Kadotheek at Haacht since 2005. Less than ten years later he expanded the business through the Leonidas subsidiary. He was also the president of the Municipal Merchants Association for several years and organized many activities to highlight his fellow entrepreneurs.
“We will miss him so much,” says Yeti, who runs a clothing store of the same name in Hachette with her daughter Valerie and was also a member of the Merchants Association with Quinn. He added: “Not only was he a very kind and likeable man, but he also made tremendous efforts as president, a commitment for which we are all grateful.”
Seagers leaves behind a wife and son.
Tom van Oershoven / 1944 – 2023
On July 6th we said goodbye to Tom Van Oershoven. He was 78 years old.
Van Oorshoven was the driving force behind the sleepwear and home linen store in Heatwood in Leuven. He died at his home after a struggle with illness. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Banking Baron Paul Emanuel Janssen / 1931 – 2023
On September 10th, we said goodbye to Paul Emanuel Janssen. He was 92 years old.
Paul Emanuel was a scion of the well-known Janssen banking family and was also a banker at General Bank all his life. In 1988 he became CEO of General Bank and Chairman of the Board in 1992. After Fortis acquired General Bank in 1998, he resigned.
During his career, he was also President of the Belgian Banking Association, a director and member of the management committee of the Federation of Belgian Companies (VBO) and served on the boards of companies, including Solvay, Atlas Copco Sweden and Antwerp Diamant. Bank and Lhoist Group.
Founder of the e-bike brand Karim Slaoui / 1987 – 2023
On October 5, we said goodbye to Karim Slaoui. He was 36 years old.
Slaoui founded e-bike brand Cowboy in 2017 with school friends Adrian Rose and Tanguy Goretti, having previously co-founded meal delivery service Take Eat Easy in Brussels. Slaoui was passionately involved in bicycle development. At the end of 2022, he was forced to resign from his position at Cowboy after a rare form of cancer continued to return.
The cancer was first diagnosed in 2019, but after a series of treatments the disease kept coming back. He eventually died at the age of 36.
“Karim was a gifted engineer, a tenacious entrepreneur and a visionary in every sense of the word. Without him there would be no Cowboy,” his friends and business partners Rose and Goretti said in a press release. “We have lost a good friend and partner, and the world has lost a brilliant mind. Karim not only played an important role in the development of Cowboy, but also made the world a better place to live in.
Baron businessman Aldo Vastapani / 1926 – 2023
On October 31, we said goodbye to Aldo Vastapani. He died at the age of 97 years.
Vastapani was a businessman who was a jack of all trades. He started out selling spirits, but later turned to importing cars and some catering ventures, among other things. Vastapani has had the most success in the real estate sector. From the 1950s onwards, he made a name for himself as one of the “concrete barons” who worked to regenerate the North Brussels area.
In 1958 he also managed to obtain a monopoly on the sale of tax-free products at Zaventem Airport through his “Skyshops”. Vastapani also had several ventures abroad, including tax-free stores and two game parks in South Africa and an agricultural company in Congo.
In 2006 he was made a Baron and in 2007 he was made Commander of the Order of Leopold, despite rumors that he was having an affair with Queen Paola. He was even rumored to be Prince Laurent’s father. He himself found those insinuations ridiculous.
Freetourist Jeff Verschueren / 1950 – 2023
On November 15 we said goodbye to Jeff Verschueren. He was 73 years old.
Jeff Verschueren, or Jefke Fret as he was known in Tremello, founded Frettor Bingo with his wife in the late 1970s. Later he also took over the management of the Den Dok cafeteria in the swimming pool. In addition, he was always busy with one project or another in the community. “Like a real café owner, he can always talk about everything,” he recalls Ken Verschuren telling him. “He had his ideas about everything. But he always wanted to help everyone.”
He also always had a positive outlook on life, says his cousin Het Nieuwsblad. He always passed this positivity on to us as cousins. Even on his deathbed he remained positive and gave us a thumbs up. The saying “optimist to the core” applies perfectly to him.”
Verschueren had been struggling with his health for years and was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. He died at home surrounded by his family.
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