Today on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, we celebrate the reunion of our Dad, Father-in-law, Opa and Great Opa with his beloved wife Diny, in heaven. He leaves behind 87 years of very fond memories.
Dad was born St. Oedenrode, “The Vogelzang”, Netherlands on September 17th, 1933, to Johannes and Marie (van der Heijden). He was part of a large, loving and boisterous family; Toon (Betsie), Bert (Truus), Jan (Mien), Ben (Annie), Leo (Betsie), Rikie (Wim), Laura (Ad), Mia (Ben). Seeking new adventures and opportunities, Dad and his best friend Harry Bongers immigrated to Canada in 1958.
Few years later, while dancing up a storm at the Dutch Social Hall one day, Dad met his one and only true love, Diny Nooyen. It was the start of an unequalled love story and they were married on May 5, 1962. Dad was always at Mom’s side; whether dancing at a wedding, playing cards with his family and friends, working in the barns and fields, or planting a vegetable or flower garden. Even after Mom passed away in 1998, his devotion continued as strong as ever. Family was everything to Dad, and being part of Diny’s family, Harry (Christine), Wim (Monique), Pete (Toos), Arnold (Rikie), Marius (Mary), Jo (Chris) was integral to Mom and Dad’s everyday life.
Dad was not given an opportunity for a formal education, his work ethic and interest in world events made him wise beyond his years. He loved debating issues of the day and cheering on his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. He was industrious, moving from numerous odd-jobs to building a successful farm. He continued to farm with Ronny in his later years, until his dementia made it difficult to continue. Slowly and progressively forgetting essential details, Ronny took on the responsibility to tending to Dad’s every need; answering the phone at all hours of the day. Elly and Brian are eternally grateful to Ronny for his tireless devotion to Dad.
Dad was a devout Catholic, the epitome of kindness and generosity and doing what was right, even when it was the harder path to follow. He was a true gentleman and role model, emphasizing education, hard work, sports and respect for each other. These values live on in his children Elly (Chris) Ronny (Kelly), Brian (Manju), his grandchildren Jessica (Jordan), Joy (Lucas), Justin (Silvana), Jordan, Brianne (Darren), Bryn (Niki), Kourtlan, Konnor (Samantha) and Sasha and his great-grandchildren Skyler, Pearce, Mia and Ella. Dad loved nothing more than having children around, to spoil them with treats and gifts.
It is so hard to say goodbye to someone who leaves us with so many fond memories and an example to live by. Dad, we hope to make you proud! And we know we will hear your words of wisdom, if we falter.
It gives us all comfort, peace and joy to know that you are reunited with Mom to continue your love story.
Love ya, love ya love ya.
A private funeral for Martin will be held on Saturday. Family and friends wishing to remember him with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Alzheimer Society https://alzheimer.ca/chathamkent/en/take-action/donate or the Chatham-Kent Hospice https://www.chathamkenthospice.com/donate/.