Ben Wouters, a resident of the Chesterville area for the past 55 years, passed away at Central West Hospice in Ottawa on Wed., Feb. 3, 2016. He was 88.
He was born in Gilze, The Netherlands on June 22, 1927 to Antonius and Johanna Wouters (nee Geerts). He was the ninth of 11 children. While doing military service in Indonesia in his early 20’s, he realized there was little future for him in Holland, so he made the decision to immigrate to Canada. He came first on his own and worked on various farms in Southern Ontario. After two years of hard work, he returned to Holland to convince his sweetheart, Mary Van Hooydonk, to return to Canada with him. Soon after marrying in February 1953, they left for Canada with very little money and speaking very little English.
After a few years in Southern Ontario spent working on other people’s farms, Ben and Mary moved to Chesterville in 1961, to begin life on their own farm on the Boyne Road. They started out market gardening, initially growing onions and lettuce for Ottawa markets, but later switched to poultry farming.
Throughout a 25-year period, Ben, with the help of Mary, built a successful farm operation that is still in the family today. They also “built” a large and close-knit family – eight children and 19 grandchildren, with the first great-grandchild on the way. He loved and was very proud of his big family.
Ben was honest, hard-working, loyal, independent, and inquisitive. He loved good conversation, and even in his last days, kept up with current events, especially politics, as well as the goings-on at the farm.
He was a life-long learner. In retirement, he learned new skills to fill his leisure time such as fishing, golfing, cross-country skiing, and woodworking. He also took a keen interest in technology by learning how to use a computer. During his illness, he kept in touch with family on his iPad that he kept close by his bedside.
He had a strong sense of community, which included supporting his church parish, driving cancer patients to appointments, delivering Meals-on-Wheels, being involved with various charitable associations, and just simply being a good neighbour.
He also had a very strong sense of faith – in God, in his family, and in himself. He always seemed to understand that there was a reason for things unfolding as they did.
Ben was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He will be remembered for his love, wisdom, and always present sense of humour.
Ben is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary; his children, Annette Larmour (Brian) of Kemptville, Joanne Baker (Wally) of Morrisburg, Liz Wouters of Haida Gwaii, B.C., Marianne Wouters (Doug Hunter) of Ottawa, Margaret Wouters (John Parker) of Toronto, Laura Wouters (Bryan Dunham) of Belleville, Tony (Trish) Wouters of Winchester, and Bernadette Carson (Jim) of Victoria; and his siblings, Lisa Van de Valk of Rochester, N.Y., Christ (Pieta) and Lucia Van deValk (Jan), all of The Netherlands. Opa will be fondly remembered by 19 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his infant daughter, Teresa, his sisters, Anna Wouters, Marie van Hoek, Bertha Wouters, Trees VanGestel, and brothers Sjaak, Bart, and Kees Wouters. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville on Fri., Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Mary of the Presentation Roman Catholic Church in Chesterville on Sat., Feb. 13 at 11 am with Father Cosmas Ajawara officiating. Spring interment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Chesterville. The pallbearers were grandchildren Will Larmour, Joe Baker, Andrew Parker, Erica Seeley, Andrea Wouters-Snowdon, and Jenna Wouters.
Donations to Care Hospice Ottawa or St. Mary’s Church would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
Online condolences may be made at www.marsdenmclaughlin.com