Irene Heerkens, a resident of the Chesterville area, passed away peacefully at The Garden Villa in Chesterville on Thurs., Aug. 15, 2013. She was 81.
Irene was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Nov. 14, 1931 to her parents, Jacobus and Ariena Hekelaar (nee Roos). On March 10, 1954, she married the love of her life, Cornelius “Cory” Heerkens, and started a honeymoon trip that lead to their arrival in Canada on April 2, 1954. The honeymoon never ended. After immigrating through Pier 21 in Halifax, they arrived in Tillsonburg with 50 cents in their pockets and two suitcases of clothes. Irene worked alongside Cory in the tobacco fields in Tillsonburg, the textile plant in Lindsay, and as a farmer’s wife when they purchased a farm south of Chesterville in 1959. They eventually became very proud citizens of Canada, and they raised their three children on the farm, which Irene lived on until a short time before her death.
After they stopped farming, she went to work at the pottery factory in Ingleside, then at Caldwell Linen Mills in Iroquois, and she finished her working career at Winchester Cheese.
She loved to cook for her family, which her family truly appreciated, and she was an avid bingo player. She also enjoyed going to yard sales, garage sales, and flea markets within a 50 mile radius of her home. Her nickname “road runner” was well suited to her. There were many laughs and good times in the Heerkens household. She loved flowers and it didn’t matter whether they were real or artificial, as long as they were colourful. She also enjoyed shopping, and will be missed in many retail stores.
Irene is survived by her children Frank (Susan) of Russell, Peter of Chesterville, and Linda Richards (John Bedingfield) of Ingleside, her siblings, Dirk (Jannie) of Holland, Pleintje (Paul) Vanderlind of Winchester, Adriana Kleinje of Holland, and Jennie (Art) Dulooves of Holland. She will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Jeremy (Jamie), Tammy (Jordan), Kandi (Dan), Tanyss, Chris (Amanda), Mindy (Dave), Stephanie (Corey), and Samantha (Tyler), and by great-grandchildren MacKenzie, Bailey, Madison, Kassidy, Aiden, Leah, Kayla, Michelle, Corrinna, Chantz, and Lily. She was predeceased by her husband, Cornelius, and her brothers, Arie and Jacobus. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville on Sun., Aug. 18 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church in Chesterville on Mon., Aug. 19 at 11 am with Father Cosmas Ajawara officiating. Cremation followed the service. The pallbearers were grandchildren Jeremy Heerkens, Tammy Heerkens, Kandi Heerkens, Tanyss Heerkens-Sharp, Chris Heerkens, Mindy Durouchie, Stephanie Richards and Samantha Richard-MacGillivray. Interment of cremated remains was at Grantley Cemetery.
Special thank you to all the doctors and nurses, friends, family, and the staff at The Garden Villa for their dedication in assisting Irene on her final journey. Thank you and God bless you!
Donations to the Mesothelioma Society would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
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