Rest in Peace, Ulf von Dehn
On November 7th, BEST Service Pros founder Ulf Joachim von Dehn passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife, children, extended family, friends, and his many dogs at his side.
Ulf lived a life full of energy, colour, and a true sense of responsibility to his family, friends, and employees. His early life in Estonia instilled in him a deep and enduring sense of work ethic, self-sufficiency, and a strong family responsibility that only increased as his life advanced.
When he was 12, Ulf and his family were forced to flee Estonia to Germany as a consequence of Germany’s 1939 wartime pact with Stalin. At the age of 16, Ulf was conscripted to serve as a soldier in Germany’s degraded army in the waning months of WW II. In April 1945, Ulf’s commanding officer purposely diverted his brigade towards the substantial British Army in Northern Germany, instead of sending them back to defend Berlin. This decision forced their surrender to the allied forces. Ulf credited this act with saving his life and the lives of the other young soldiers in his brigade. He was released in November 1945 from the British POW camp.
During the post-war years, Ulf further illustrated a life of resiliency and responsibility. Despite very limited resources, Ulf studied Forestry Engineering and achieved a PhD in Wood Technology in 1953, which later influenced his decision to immigrate to Vancouver’s lush rain forest to consider a career in forestry.
Upon his arrival in Vancouver in 1953, Ulf pursued a host of different jobs, from mushroom picking as a new immigrant to working in the BC Forestry Research Council at UBC. He also received his professional engineering status in BC. He found eventual success in starting his legacy company in 1956, Best Cleaners and Contractors, a company that has successfully advanced to the second generation (now Best Service Pros).
All of his children, grandchildren, and extended family count him as a hugely positive role model in their lives. Family and friends will lovingly remember him for his maverick yet positive approach to life, his pride in the BEST company, and his countless, and oft-repeated, stories about his business, as well as his pun collection and his outspoken direct humour.
Rest in peace, Ulf. We thank you for the exceptional leadership, hard work and dedication you brought to BEST over the past 60 years. We will miss you.