Alice DePater, a resident of the Hartford Retirement Centre in Morrisburg for the past eight months, passed away at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Tues., May 8, 2012, following a brief illness. She was 87.
Alice was born in Ermelo, The Netherlands, on Jan. 14, 1925, to her parents, Jacob and Beertje Teunissen (nee Bakker). Alice worked in the large family garden, speed skated on the local track, played the harmonica, loved reading, enjoyed school, Sunday church, and family socials. The Teunissen family supported each other through the difficult years of occupation and post war recovery. After the war, the music performances started up at the town bandstand. Being a music lover, Alice would be there. One memorable evening a young man saw her in the crowd. Struck by her beauty and golden curls of hair, he followed her home to ask for a cup of water.
Three years after their marriage, they immigrated to Canada with a newborn baby. It was in those early years that the silent strength and resilience of Alice showed itself. Soon there were four young children who needed her maternal care. In a new country under challenging circumstances, she raised and loved her family. Her energy was boundless. She kept everyone happy, fed, and organized. With grace and dignity, she made the best of every situation.
When her husband became ordained as a pastor, and two more sons were added to the family, a new chapter of life began. Each chapter began by moving. With every move the family made, she packed and unpacked, and set up another comfortable home. Throughout her life, she was always there to support her family. When grandchildren were born, she would be there to quietly do what was required. When a crisis or tragedy affected a family member, her calming comfort would be present. Sociability, family, and hospitality were in her character.
Her talents as a good mother were carried on to the next generation. As a grandmother and great-grandmother, her generosity continued. From their birth, she loved and cared for every grandchild and great-grandchild.
As a wife and life partner she was devoted, patient, and selfless. She followed her husband through a whirlwind of changes and challenges. With dignity and honesty, she supported her husband in his calling. She was his life-long love, strength, and comfort. Alice lived her life with humility, kindness, love, and dignity.
Alice is survived by her husband of over 63 years, John, her children, Margo (Jack) VanGilst of Finch, Bea (Renny) VanGilst of Elma, Jan (Elizabeth) of Almonte, Alice Douma (Dean) of Ingleside, James (Barb) of Kemptville, and Stephen (Sue) of Cornwall, her siblings, Harmen Teunissen, Gerrie DeWith, and Grietje (Jan) Geurts, all of Ermelo, The Netherlands. Alice will be fondly remembered by grandchildren: Matthew (Anne), Katrina (Steve), Benjamin (Tracy), Luther, Reuben (Emily), Stephanie (Tim), David (Melissa), Tim (Erin), Andrew (Rachel), Dan (Sarah), Dylan, Dexter, Ava, Nathan, Melissa (Dennis), Jason (Jenny), Aaron, Thomas (Michelle), Miranda (Fraser), Steven, Jennifer, Alexandria, Madison, and Erik, and great-grandchildren: Mika, Naomi, Petra, Jonas, Rachel, Ezra, Elijah, Kate, Noah, Leah, Ethan, Gabriel, Allison, Desi, Haley, Micah, Eli, Tristan, Dryden, Logan, Colton, Jackson, and Jacob. She was predeceased by her parents, Jacob and Beertje Teunissen (nee Bakker), her sister, Albertje DeWith, her brothers, Dirk and Jan Teunissen, and her son-in-law, John Douma. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on Fri., May 11 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church on Sat., May 12 at 11 am, with Rev. John Noordhof officiating, followed by interment at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg. The pallbearers were grandsons Matthew VanGilst, David VanGilst, Dylan DePater, Aaron Douma, Thomas Douma, and Erik DePater.
Donations to the Christian Reformed World Relief Fund or Timothy Christian School would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
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