A reflection by Tony Seed*
This reflection was written on October 13 and expanded on October 17. Some 400 people gathered at an outdoor memorial meeting to honour the life of work of Robert Devet held in Halifax on Thursday evening, October 14.
Robert Devet was born in Holland in 1954 to a progressive, anti-fascist family. His maternal grandfather, Hendrik Koch, was a family physician in a poor working class neighbourhood in Amsterdam who championed the rights of women to have control over reproduction and a political activist in the international communist movement who also moved to the Soviet Union for a period. After having been taken prisoner in 1941 fighting the Hitlerite German occupation of the Netherlands, he died in 1942 in the Nazi concentration camp Neuengamme near Hamburg. His name is on the national list of honour in the House of Parliament in The Hague. Robert Maarten de Vet was a son of Huibert A. de Vet (born in 1920) and Sophia Louisa Jacoba (“Pop”) Koch (born in 1918). Both his parents took part in the heroic resistance of the Dutch people in different ways. His father was an expert forger of documents used to get Jews to safety and his mother was a member of the communist party (CPN) during and right after World War II and worked on its newspaper De Waarheid. Robert was part of a broad wave of youth who came forward in the Sixties to oppose the racist and fascist South African apartheid regime and the American war of aggression against Vietnam. In a reflection, his sister Hélène de Vet writes that “especially his mother, but in a certain way also his father, were independent and outspoken people. They were neither conformist nor bourgeois. We like to think that all of us children have inherited some of this contrarian ‘family’ attitude.” 
Robert emigrated to Nova Scotia with his partner Maria van Gurp from Halifax in 1979 where they soon married. He worked as a civil servant with Service Nova Scotia in information technology. After Maria passed way and his retirement, without any formal background in journalism he began writing for the Halifax Media Co-op in 2012. In stylistic terms, his writing was simple, straightforward and to the point. He was a faithful interlocutor who conducted interviews with respect. Colleague Hilary Lindsay notes that he authored over 300 articles between September 30, 2012 and December 19, 2015. He was without a doubt motivated by the direction of the anti-social, neoliberal agenda of the Nova Scotia government, which he experienced first hand. His last series of articles for the Halifax Media Co-op supported the almost two-year-long strike of newsrooms staff at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, part of the Saltwire media monopoly, which he backed up by participating on the picket line of his colleagues.