Alex was born on October 2, 1937 in the city of Surabaya on the Island of Java, Indonesia, formerly known as the Dutch East Indies. The Second World War began in Indonesia in 1942 and Alex’s entire family was imprisoned in the infamous Japanese concentration camps of Grogal and Tjideng. After the war ended and liberation came to Indonesia, Alex and his surviving family members were repatriated to the Netherlands in 1946 and they settled in their ancestral home of Scheveningen.
Alex sailed the world’s oceans in 1956 and was later drafted into the Dutch military service and assigned to the Medical Corps. He completed his professional training as a draftsman and emigrated to Canada in July 1959, arriving at Quebec City aboard the S.S. Waterman. After travelling to Toronto, he moved to Cape Breton where he discovered Louisbourg in the late summer of 1960 and it soon became home. Alex was hired by the Federal Government in 1961 as part of the reconstruction of the Fortress of Louisbourg. He became a Canadian citizen in 1964 and married his love Emily Lawrence that same year. His hobbies included fishing, sailing and scuba diving.
In September 1965, Alex located the legendary French treasure ship Le Chameau which had shipwrecked off Cape Breton Point in 1725. Further exploration off Cape Breton’s coast revealed additional wreck site discoveries including the Feversham in 1968. His first book, Canada’s Treasure Hunt, was published in 1968. In 1971 he sailed across the Atlantic in a quest to find a lost Portuguese galleon in the Azores.
In 1977, Alex, Emily and his children opened the Atlantic Statiquarium Marine Museum which was visited by many thousands of visitors over the years. Alex spent many years collecting artifacts from across rural Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to help preserve the history of the local inshore fishery. Many of these artifacts and exhibits are now on display at the Ocean of Opportunity Marine Science and Heritage Centre located on the Louisbourg waterfront.
Alex retired from the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1997 after 36 years of service to Canada. Ever active, he published his collection of treasure hunting stories in the book Seaweed and Gold. Inspired by continued interest, he penned a second, expanded edition containing newly uncovered research about the “Great Louisbourg Treasure of 1758”. It included archival evidence corroborating the enduring story of a vast hidden treasure near the old fortress where those yet-to-be-found riches still await discovery.
In recent years he picked up his paint brushes again and completed several paintings, historically illustrating the various themes of the Fortress, the Royal Battery, the Battery Island fortifications, as well as the fisheries. Reproductions of these works are on display at the Louisbourg Beggars Banquet.
Alex was an adventurer, a treasure hunter, scuba diver, sailor, fisherman, writer, researcher, draftsman, storyteller, historian, pewter smith, and artist, in addition to being a husband, father, brother and an Opa. He shared so much with so many.
Alex is survived by his five loving children, daughter Phyllis B. (James Yorke) Parrsboro; sons, Edward C. (Kathleen Gillis) Bedford, Jason (Chantal Ouellette) Orléans, Ont., Morgan, Louisbourg, Julian R. (Sandra Holloway) Dominion. Also, granddaughters, Chloé, Mylène, Madison; step-grandson, Nicholas; his brother, Hans G. Storm and sister, Louise Wauben (The Netherlands).
Alex is predeceased by his loving wife of 47 years, Emily Lawrence (2011); his parents, Cornelis Storm and Maria Storm-Spaans, and his sisters, Mary, Aletta and Carla.
Cremation has taken place, visitation for Alex will be held Friday August 17, 2018 from 1-4 p.m. at the SW Chant & Son Funeral Home, 564 Alexandra St., Sydney. With a private family burial to follow in St. Bartholomew’s Cemetery, Louisbourg.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the An Cala unit, Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton, 1482 George St. Sydney, N.S. (www.hospicecapebreton.org) or to the Temple Sons of Israel, 55 Whitney Avenue, Sydney, N.S. B1P 4Z6.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www.chantfuneralhome.ca.
“I was born into a difficult world of war and strife not of my making and made the best of it. But with some luck I became a survivor. I left many family members on foreign shores, where they rest today. I led an adventurous life with a quest for new things, always searching, always questing. And although I travelled the world, I found my love, my peace and my happiness in Louisbourg. I want to express my thanks to the many people who stood by my side when it was needed”. - Alex Storm
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Chant's Funeral Home.