Obituary of Mary Vander Hoeven
Vander Hoeven, Mary.
February 2, 1928-April 4, 2019
Peacefully on April 4, 2019 at home, with family at her side. Mary leaves behind her beloved husband of 68 years Cornelis, her children Paula (Frank) Sneek, Mary (Peter) Fransen, Joanne (Rick) Philp, Margaret (Rick) Turner, Helen, Andy (Gina) Vander Hoeven, and Peter (Valerie) Vander Hoeven. Mary was pre-deceased by her son John in 1969. Mary was the proud Oma of 22 grandchildren, and Super-Oma of 19 great-grandchildren.
Mary came to Canada as a newly-wed in 1951 from The Netherlands. She settled in the Niagara Region, where she stood side by side with her husband, building a wonderful life for her family. Her laughter was infectious, and she will be missed by all who knew her. Mom’s legacy and gift to us, was to love deeply and unconditionally.
Visitation will be held at George Darte Funeral Home, 585 Carlton St, St Catharines, on Sunday April 7, from 2-4 & 7-9pm, with Vigil Prayers at 3.30pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at St Alfred Church, 272 Vine St, St Catharines on Monday April 8, at 2pm, with burial to follow at Pleasantview Cemetery, 2250 Hwy 20 Fonthill. If so desired, donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association would be appreciated.
Recently at mass, the priest suggested we were called to do three things. Clean house, serve others, and have faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The priest’s interpretation of “clean house” was to constantly be checking that our thoughts were in line with the teachings of Jesus. Throughout our childhood, our family would attend this church every Sunday, and our mother would continue nurturing our faith at home through prayer, whether over meals, or praying the rosary. So yes, our mother was devout, but she took “clean house” a step further. As my brother in law Rick would say “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean”. As children we remember dusting window ledges and door frames every week…who does that? Our mom! We had to iron everything including my dad’s boxers…who does that? Our mom! Now while I can’t claim to keeping a clean house anywhere near her standards, our mother’s example continues on, not only with her children, but I can see it in my children too.
When it comes to “serve others”, we’d have to start with our mother’s devotion to our dad Cor. Not only was she his partner in marriage for 68 years, she was his business partner, his sounding board, his rock to lean on. Together they raised 8 children, and were blessed with the growth of those children’s families: 22 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren...and counting. Mom’s service work doesn’t end there. One of our first volunteer jobs was accompanying our mom to St. Alfred Church to clean the alter. We all know the phrase that “In giving you receive”, and our mother gave freely of her talents, in this case for mending the lace on the altar’s cloths, and the priest’s vestments. While Mom was rewarded in this case with compliments from the pastor, she served others because it was the right thing to do, to help your neighbour, to help your friends, to help whenever asked, the reward being that ”in giving you receive”. Mom felt such pride in her needlework, but you’d never hear her boast. She’d knit for anyone who asked, including my brother’s Pee-Wee hockey team’s matching touques. This early exposure to hockey fueled her -some might say misguided- love of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Our mother also sang with a group of ladies for funeral masses, volunteered with the Catholic Women’s League, and sorted clothing for the Warehouse of Hope. Up until around ten years ago, a senior citizen herself, Mom would say she was “going to visit with some old people“ to bring them comfort. Definitely a full life of service.
Lastly mentioned by the pastor was “to have faith in Jesus”. Our mother never wavered from her belief in a loving God. On more than one occasion I remember calling my Mom with woes that seemed too much for me. Mom’s advice would inevitably include the phrase, “be thankful for what you have, and see how the Lord will provide.” Our mother’s faith was called upon many times. Mom & Dad journeyed together leaving everything and everyone they knew in The Netherlands to move to Canada, the struggles to start a business, Joanne’s accident, and pivotal for our whole family, the loss of their son, our brother John in 1969. Through all of these rough roads, our mother never faltered in her faith that the Lord would provide.
At this point I’d like to make a special mention of the devotion our father demonstrated toward our mother especially during the last few years of her failing health. Dad never missed a lunch or dinner with Mom, he was always by her side, just as she had always stood by him.
Mom’s laughter was infectious. She loved telling a good joke, but was often laughing so hard at the coming punchline that she couldn’t finish. We’d all be laughing, tears running down our face, punchline or not. Regardless of who it was walking into the room, Mom’s eyes would light up, and she made you feel special and loved. This past week we were given a gift. All my brothers and sisters and spouses gathered in my parent’s apartment for their 68th Wedding Anniversary. We shared a delicious meal, followed by a sing along to old albums that Joanne brought out of the closet. Mom was even doing the “Birdy Dance” in her wheelchair. Just two days before she died she was playing and winning Rummy Cup games.
As sad as we are for our loss, we are extremely grateful that Mom’s passing was swift and peaceful.
We will always love you. Thank you Mom, for all that you were.
ril 8, at 2pm, with burial to follow at Pleasantview Cemetery, 2250 Hwy 20 Fonthill. If so desired, donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association would be appreciated.
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