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In Memoriam (9) 2023.
Januari 20, 2023. In Memoriam: Mathy Engelen, 65, NL/Be. Today we received the shocking message that Mathy Engelen suddenly passed away by a heart attack. Many fans who visited Maastricht will know him. Recently (July 2022) Mathy finished his Vrijthof panorama drawing from Ruud and Ineke’s hotel window. We can hardly believe it is true. He looked so lively and healthy. We are so sad. Our thoughts go out to his family. May he rest in peace.
On the Maastricht market square: Frank Steijns is buying a drawing for André’s studio.
January 21, 2023. Paper from Lanaken (Belgium). By Eddie Vandoren. Translation Ineke/John. In the evening of Friday 20 January, the well-known Lanaken artist Mathy Engelen passed away unexpectedly. He would be 66 in April and was beloved throughout the region where he was recognized and honored for his beautiful drawings, etchings and watercolors of many historical buildings, villages and city- scapes in 'his' Maasland. Mathy Engelen died completely unexpectedly on Friday evening during dinner at home from cardiac arrest. For a while he was a member of the non-profit organization “Tourism Lanaken”, something that illustrates his interest in heritage and tourism and, above all, his civic sense. With him, Lanaken loses a great, valued artist who leaves behind an incredible artistic legacy.” Mathy was trained as an architect and practiced that profession for several years. But his love - let's say passion - for art, made him choose a full-time existence as an artist. “He had a preference for 'his' Maasland. He has depicted the villages of Lanaken and the surrounding area, but especially Maastricht and Liège in hundreds of artistic etchings, drawings and watercolours.... In this way he has left behind an unprecedented collection of striking buildings and town and city views. He was also good friends with the princely de Merode family, which has been linked to local history for centuries. He was a regular guest at Slot Merode, not far from the town of Düren in Germany. He has also often immortalized that castle, just like our own Pietersheim and the many other remarkable buildings in the area. The artist was still very active. He recently had a stand at Magisch Maastricht and he was a guest at the old- timer fair Interclassics, also in Maastricht. Mathy leaves behind a wife and two sons.
Ruud and Ineke: This painting of André’s castle is hanging on the wall of our house, in The Hague, Holland.
January 21, 2023. In Memoriam: Jim Morgan (86) USA Another shock was the message that Jim Morgan, Ruth’s husband, passed away at their home in Nevada, USA. Ruth and Jim (Ruth primarily) have been André fans from the very beginning (1997!) and traveled every year to Maastricht to attend the Vrijthof concerts. We are so sad. Ruth must be heartbroken. Our condolences, thoughts, love and prayers go out to Ruth, their son and daughter. We wish them much strength in bearing their loss.
We think that Ruth and Jim were the fans who had the earliest personal contact with André, as proven by photos. In 1996 André Rieu was for the first time on American TV at PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) with “From Holland with Love”. A year later PBS showed a video clip of André playing the Second Waltz in Amsterdam (1994 soccer stadium) and ice skating in the village. That was to promote the coming concert tour to the USA in 1997. During André’s performance in Buffalo, NY, Ruth worked as a volunteer for PBS, taking pledges. She also pleaded to show more André concerts on TV and both Ruth and Jim met André in person in the PBS studios in 1997.
After 2002, more fans learned to know each other via Sonja’s translations website in the USA, so we also got to know Ruth and Jim. Since the first Vrijthof concerts in 2005, Jim and Ruth traveled each year to Maastricht, where they stayed during the entire concert series. Ruth had tickets for the concerts and Jim preferred to invite guests in their balcony room of the Hotel DuCasque. Many fans have watched the concerts from that balcony room and enjoyed Jim’s hospitality. Friends for more than 20 years, we’ve made many trips together, in Holland and in the USA. Jim studied Dutch, read Dutch newspapers, and ate Dutch food.
He is the only American we know, who loved to eat herring with onions, “kibbeling” (fried fish chunks) and the café snack “broodje bal”(meatball sandwich). He always helped us fix the banners on the hotel facade and the flags on the fan dinner ships. Ruth was responsible for making the hundreds of buttons being given away to the fans. Jim had not been doing too well the last few years and recently suffered from a stroke. We’ll miss him terribly.
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