Cornelia Maria Heystee
December 12, 1929 – June 22, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cornelia (Corrie) Maria Heystee (nee van Wijk) on June 22, 2018 at the age of 88. She passed peacefully at the Hospice Wellington (Guelph) with family at her side.
Corrie was born in Kortenhoef, The Netherlands on December 12, 1929 to Cornelia Maria van Wijk-Goes and Johannes Gerardus van Wijk, the youngest of seven children. She grew up in a very loving and close-knit family. Thus her decision to leave her family and travel to Canada, where she would join her fiancé, was difficult, but in the end love conquered. As a young woman, Corrie rarely travelled far from home with her biggest trips being to nearby cities like Amsterdam and Volendam. So when she decided to move to Canada to join her fiancé she was embarking on an adventure and a trip of a lifetime.
Corrie’s two sisters and four brothers travelled with her to Rotterdam in the back of a truck owned by a brother-in-law. Her parents, however, said their good-byes at the house because they could not bear the thought of seeing their youngest child depart on a ship to a far-off land called Canada. It is likely that her parents were very sad because they thought they would not see their daughter again for a very long time. Unfortunately Corrie’s mother was right in that she died in 1959, five years before Corrie was able to return for her first visit in the summer of 1964.
On October 29, 1952 and at age 23, Corrie departed from The Netherlands at Rotterdam. She arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax on November 6, 1952 after a crossing aboard the Rijndam. Corrie immediately boarded a train for a two-day trip to Ottawa where she joined her husband-to-be, William. Her arrival was about a year after William’s arrival in this country in June 1951. Always the adventurer and looking for a place to escape from the poor economic conditions of post-war Netherlands, William decided that Canada offered good opportunities.
On June 13, 1951, during the bus trip to Port of Rotterdam, William and Corrie exchanged engagement rings, and made plans to marry in about one year’s time. The original plan had William returning to The Netherlands for the marriage. Unfortunately after a year of working on a farm near Barry’s Bay at minimum wage, he was not able to save enough money for the round-trip boat fare back to The Netherlands. Thus it was decided that William would sponsor Corrie as an immigrant to Canada. A condition of the sponsorship was that they had to be married within one month of Corrie’s arrival in Canada. Corrie and William were wed on December 6, 1952 and were happily married for the next 60 years.
Following marriage, Cornelia and William lived in Ottawa for a short while, then over a period of about 20 years, in Edwards, Ramsayville, and Carlsbad Springs. In the last 40 years of their marriage, they lived in their home near Vernon, which William built. During this time Corrie was a homemaker and loving mother to her three children. She assisted William in his small home renovation business by managing the financial affairs of the business. Corrie was active in her church and did volunteer work in the community. Her greatest gift to others, however, was her happy demeanour, which brought joy and happiness into the lives of others.
Corrie and William were able to make many return trips to The Netherlands to visit family. They also travelled to various locations in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Being proud Canadian citizens, they also made trips to different locations in Canada.
Corrie is predeceased by her husband, William Henry Heystee. She was the dear mother of Bill (Colleen), Mary, and Richard (Audrey) and the proud grandmother of Mark, Chelsey, Bryan, Steven, and Ian. She is predeceased by her two sisters Sophia and Marie, and her four brothers, Dominicus, Gijs, Johannes and Nicolaas.
A sincere thanks to the palliative care team at Hospice Wellington that cared so wonderfully for her and supported her family in their time of need. Thanks also to staff at Guelph General Hospital and the Village of Riverside Glen for the care they provided. Prior to her move to Guelph, Corrie received wonderful care at Gary J. Armstrong (Ottawa) and Russell Meadows Retirement Community (Russell).
Cremation has taken place. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. John’s the Evangelist Church (2546 Stagecoach Rd., Enniskerry) on Sat., July 28 at 11 am. There will be a reception following the Mass. A private family interment will be performed at a later date.
As an expression of sympathy and, in lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice Wellington www.hospicewellington.org or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada would be appreciated.