Johanna “Joan” Willemina Zandbergen

Joan Zandbergen (nee Kappers) passed away peacefully on Tues., Aug 3, 2010 at the St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville where she had been a resident since may 2010. She was in her 97th year.

Joan was born in Holland on Sept. 19, 1913, the eldest of four children. She married her sweetheart, Fred Zandbergen, on May 14, 1936. Together they raised a large family, who have many memories of their mother. In April 1952, they immigrated to Canada and settled in Brinston, where she remained until her move to the lodge.

During the war, and later in Canada, a lot of people were helped by Fred and Joan. There were often families that had been displaced or needed shelter in the house. Nobody was turned away.

The following is an excerpt of what was read at the funeral by one of her daughters. “We stand before you today to remember a lady who helped shape our community. I have often thought that Mom was born in the wrong time. Had she been a few years younger, I am sure that she would give Stephen Harper a run for his job. Her love for the young people of the church and community was evident until the end of her life. I can’t speak about her early life, but I do know that growing up I saw first hand her love/action connection. If there was a need, she didn’t sit back and say somebody should do something. No, she was there with her sleeves rolled up and ready to go. She started a Saturday program where she helped the disadvantaged with literacy skills, from that grew a service organization that was called Seaway Community Services. It was so successful that they put themselves out of business. Does anyone really know how many years that she was involved with Round Lake Camp? Either on the committee or in the kitchen? There were the years as leader for the girls’ clubs in the church. Even in her dementia she was concerned for the youth of the church and community. When she was told that the old Dixons [Corners] school had been purchased and was going to be a community centre, her face lit up and she was so thankful that the youth of the community would have a place to go.

The Helping Hands of Matilda Township was another area of interest. She gave many years of leadership and organization to the club. She avidly sought out new speakers and destinations for their trips.

Her door was always open to those in need. There was always a bed to sleep in and food to eat. She had prepared many meals for those in need. She baked sugar cookies by the dozens. Many pots of pea soup went to the bazaar for Timothy Christian School. Her life was filled with love in action. Who could forget the countless toques that she knitted. We can honestly say that her toques are worldwide. There are also the toques that she knitted for the newborn babies. Her knitting needles were never far from her, and seldom quiet.

And then there is the image of Mom toodling around town on her scooter. Sunday mornings on her way to and from church, visiting her friends, and delivering her sugar cookies.

Her love for the Lord was present, even in her darkest hours. Her dementia caused many dark times during their final months. But her last days were filled with praise. As the family gathered on Sunday, occasionally she would wake up. She raised her arms and said in a clear, strong voice “Amen, Amen.”

This is our mother, Amen, Amen.”

Joan is survived by her children, Janny (Arie) Geurkink of Iroquois, Freda (Harold) Tibben of Iroquois, Henry (Hennie) of Brinston, Dini (Nick) Frans of Midland, Alice (Jim) Van Doorn of Stittsville, Richard (Yettie) of Iroquois, Bill (Coby) of Brinston, Fred (Mattie) of Brinston, John (Theresa) of Brinston, and Jo-Anne (Bill) Hoftyzer of Brinston. She will be sadly missed by 36 grandchildren, 65 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great-grandchildren, her sister-in-law, Dick Kappers in Holland, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Fred, in 1988, a son, Rutger, in 1942, two grandsons, two granddaughters, one granddaughter-in-law, one great-grandson, two sisters and a brother.

A service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance was held at the Community Christian Reformed Church in Dixons Corners on Fri., Aug 6. The pallbearers were the oldest grandchild from each family. They had the privilege of carrying their grandmother to her final resting place. They were Jack Geurkink, Stan Tibben, Albert Zandbergen, Beverly Frans, Jacinda Van Doorn-Drennan, Nelson Zandbergen, Laura Harbers, Andrea Ward, Darlene Bierman, and Stuart Hoftyzer.

The arrangements were entrusted to the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Iroquois.

A sincere “thank you” to our friends and neighbours for your sincere kindness, phone calls, cards, and words of comfort in the passing away of our mother, Joan Zandbergen. We will treasure her memory and your kindness in our hearts.

­ The extended Zandbergen families.