Facts and Events
Tragedy struck again in 1968, when, he drove from Amsterdam to the Hague for a rugby match with a friend and his younger brother, Ronald. For reasons that have never become completely clear, an accident occurred that killed not only an elderly couple in a different car, but also his friend and his brother Ronald. Bert was the only one to survive. He would never talk about this event later in life. Bert ended up in the OLVG hospital in the OLVG hospital in Amsterdam to recuperate from his injuries. He hit it off with one of the attending nurses, fell in love, and got married in 1969.
The early years of family life were very happy ones. Sailing on Bert's sailboat in Loosdrecht and attending jazz concerts were among the highlights that would be recounted later to me. They soon had two children, both living van Eeuwijks. The family moved to Noordwijk in 1973, where Bert had found a position as insurance agent for the Rabobank in Noordwijkerhout. He continued to play rugby, but broke his collar bone in a match against a Scottish team and would never play rugby thereafter.
Around 1978, the family moved to Ede, Gelderland, Netherlands, where Bert worked for RVS insurance company as a trainer. By the mid-1980's, Bert was side-tracked into a role running a tied insurance agent in Doorn, Utrecht, Netherlands, following a conflict with his manager. When this didn't work out, Bert was made redundant and he started up his own insurance agency, van Eeuwijk Assurantieen, which he ran from home. While this was far from easy, Bert got his lucky break when a long-standing client of his, Cor Coster, an Amsterdam jeweller who Bert had known since the 1960's, asked Bert whether he could arrange professional incapacity insurance for some of Holland's top soccer players: Gullit, van Basten, and Rijkaard. Cor Coster was the father-in-law of Dutch soccer star, Johan Cruijff, and had become the manager of several top Dutch players. After initially trying to enter into an arrangement with Stibbe Meijster of Rotterdam, who turned the approach down with disdain, Bert established a successful relationship with brokers and underwriters at Lloyd's of London. After arranging this specialised insurance for these three famous players, Bert's professional insurance product for soccer players grew quickly. By the late 1990's he had nearly half of all Dutch professional soccer clubs and hundreds of soccer players as clients. Bert's success and unusual way of doing business - selling multi-million guilder policies over the phone at night or on the weekends, financing his clients, and writing his own cover notes - gave rise to considerable opposition among the soccer establishment and the Soccer Players' Union in particular. This ultimately led to some nasty press articles and even a court case. Though Bert resented these personal attacks, business continued to be good. But Bert found it difficult to enjoy this success, always fearing that some disaster would lead to bankruptcy.
While business was successful, Bert's relationship with living Duwel hit the rocks and they ultimately admitted defeat when they divorced on 1987. Bert was never good at talking about his feeling, but it was clear to all that he never accepted this outcome and viewed it as a major personal failure. Nevertheless, during one of his business trips to London in 1988, he met a German woman with whom he fell in love. She moved into the family house in Ede, the Netherlands, within a few months. In 1990, they bought a villa in Lunteren, Gelderland, the Netherlands and Bert was set to start a new phase in his life.
Business life continued to be good and personal life appeared to be turning for the better. Then, in the fall of 1990, Bert started to have stomach problems. Initial diagnosis pointed toward an ulcer. Bert never felt that the diagnosis was correct and by spring 1991, the initial diagnosis was proven incorrect. Bert had a form of stomach cancer. An operation in the summer of 1991 led to the removal of his entire stomach and his spleen and the prognosis was decidedly negative. After enjoying a short spell at home, he returned to the hospital in late September 1991, but continued to run his business, chasing debtors, selling his business, and establishing a charitable foundation. Remaining the rationalist he was to the very end, he decided to end his life by euthanasia on 18 October 1991, aged 46, leaving behind his mother, brother and two sisters, girlfriend, ex-wife and two children.