John Dyrholm, a Danish resident of Thailand since 1954 passed away on Monday 5 November 2012 in his home in Bangkok. John Dyrholm was 81 years old. He is survived by his life partner Khun “Noy” Chuanpit.
John Dyrholm was active and engaged in local affairs and was a busy commentator of politics and other current issues in emails which he circulated among friends both in Thailand and in Denmark.
In an interview with Bulletin, the magazine of the Scandinavian Society Siam of which he was an honourable member, John once told about his early years in Thailand. When he arrived in 1954 as an employee of the East Asiatic Company he continued almost immediately to Surat Thani where he worked at the saw mill of the Company for the next two years.
In 1956 he was transferred to Bangkok, where he met one of his many lifelong friends, Jorgen Ib Hedes, who had just arrived fresh out of Copenhagen. In Bangkok, John Dyrholm continued to work with the teak trade of EAC for the next couple of years.
In 1959, John Dyrholm resigned to work independently as a buyer’s agent for teak wood and veneer logs. He later became also a buyer’s agent and certifier of jute and kapok exports for a German company. This business, which initially was a side line business, he expanded together with his friend Soeren Langkilde-Jensen, another Danish long time resident of Thailand.
In 1983, John Dyrholm joined Sun Furniture Group where he managed the export sales of the company’s garden furniture and other wood products. These were good years for him and he remained with the company until he retired in 1992 at the age of 61.
As a retiree, John Dyrholm continued doing various business activities from his and Khun Noy’s home in Bangna east of Bangkok, until eventually physical health problems kept him from being as active as his fresh mind wished he could be.
John Dyrholm was aware that he represented a living piece of important Danish history in Thailand and he remained in close contact with many friends who shared his personal knowledge of this era. Among the closest were Bent Christensen, who took over his position at the EAC in Bangkok in 1960 and Poul Weber who arrived around the time he left the EAC and Jorgen Lundbaek, who came in close contact during his years at Sun Furniture and found business contacts for him in the years after his retirement.
Another well-known person from the same era, Sven Marquardsen died only three months ago on 20 May, 86 years old. He and John Dyrholm arrived Thailand around the same time, but while John Dyrholm was in the wood business, Sven Marquardsen sailed with the company Thai Navigation. He nearly drowned at that time when the ship, he was on, went down in the middle of the Gulf of Siam. It took 24 hours before he was found and plucked out of the water. He left EAC and formed in 1969 Marine Surveyors (Thailand) Ltd. together with Captain Bent (last name?) and Jorgen Lundbaek. They remained partners until Jorgen Lundbak in 1982 formed Mermaid Maritime.
John Dyrholm only gave up his usual optimistic spirit last week. One of the last things he did was donate his old books from his childhood home, where he was the only child, to the Scandinavian library which is about to be established on the penthouse floor of the new Mermaid Hotel Bangkok.
John Dyrholm practiced Buddhism most of his adult life and his funeral will therefore be a traditional Buddhist ceremony. However, the temple rites are pending an investigation by the Royal Danish Embassy if there should be any relatives in Denmark unknown to himself or Khun Noy. When these rites are scheduled, the funeral will be announced separately.