Gerry Willemsen

A photo of Gerry Willemsen

Service:

St. Mary's Church
Saturday August 8, 2020
11:00 a.m.

DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS, SEATING IN THE CHURCH WILL BE LIMITED AND EVERYONE IS REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK OR FACE COVERING. PLEASE CALL THE FUNERAL HOME AT 519-676-9200 TO RESERVE A SEAT IN THE CHURCH.

Visitation:

Private

On Thursday, August 6, 2020 Gerardus (Gerry) Willemsen, loving husband to Wilhelmina (Wilma) and father of four children, quietly passed at the age 90, with his wife of 64 years at his side.

Born in Zevenaar, Holland 1929 (Gerry) was one of Wilhelmus and Josephine Willemsen seven children; four brothers Wim, Henk, Teunis, and Bennie and two sisters An and Door.

After the second world war, Gerry immigrated to Canada. He landed in the Port of Halifax, on an ocean freighter that was converted to a passenger boat. He took a train to Winnipeg with a suitcase of clothes and a few dollars in his pocket. He worked in the wheat fields in Manitoba in the summer and travelled to British Columbia in the winter to work on the railroad.

In 1955, Gerry drove his Ford pickup truck across country (sleeping in the truck at night). He arrived in Blenheim, Ontario where he met Wilma.  He got a job working construction on the Southwestern Regional Center. After it was built, he got hired on growing fruit and vegetables for the patients and staff. Evenings and weekends he worked for Dorsser’s Welding building grain dryers.

He loved his animals and had many chickens, goats, pigs, ducks and ponies but his favourite was his love for a dog, of which he had many.  He loved to garden just as his father did in Holland. You would never leave his house without a basket of cherries or beans or a head of cauliflower that could fill a bushel basket.  Whenever you needed help he was there.

After he retired, he loved helping his children build their houses and landscape their yards.  He helped Will with numerous projects at Sunripe and travelled back and forth from Blenheim to Sarnia delivering broccoli.  He collected firewood from the orchards behind his house and still spent an hour a day chopping wood into his 80’s.  Gerry loved Canada and repeatedly told everyone that Canada was the best country in the world.

He loved time with his 12 grandchildren: Matthew, Jeremy and Jessica, children of Wilma Cartier (Kevin); Kysa, Ryall and Mia, children of Will Willemsen (Ingrid); Justin, Nicole and Kaitlyn, children of Joyce Morrison; Zachary, Joshua and Kirsten, children of Larry Willemsen (Renee).

He adored his 6 great grandchildren; Savannah, Gillian, Aaliyah, Lucas, Evan and Hudson.

Thanks to Blenheim Community Village for their outstanding care and compassion and the Fathers of St. Mary’s church.

A Funeral Mass for Gerry will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Blenheim on Saturday August 8, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.  Due to current restrictions with limited attendance related to COVID-19, friends wishing to attend the Mass need to call the Blenheim Community Funeral Home at 519-676-9200 to reserve a seat in the church.  Everyone in attendance will need to wear a mask or face covering.

Friends wishing to remember Gerry with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Alzheimers Society in Chatham.

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Condolences

Condolences from John and friends at McGuigans Orchards at Cedar Springs

Dear Mein/ Tante Mein and Family, We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Husband/Dad. We know how hard it is to loose someone so special regardless of their illness. We hope you find comfort in each other and your memories. With heartfelt condolences to you and your family from Ann and our entire family

Sorry to hear of the passing of Gerret I was real nice guy

To the Willemsen family. Our hearts go out to all of you. I remember your dad well from our visits to the farm. He was a great man. He will be missed. May your memories of him carry you through this very difficult time.

Will, and the whole Willemsen family: I am so sorry to learn of your dads passing. May your may wonderful memories sustain you now, and in the times ahead. Thinking of you, Myra Pettit (nee Foulis)

Sorry to hear about Gerrys passing , condolences to the family. I am sure he will be missed.

Larry,Rene and family so sorry for your loss my thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time Pat Wardle.

Condolences to the family. Gerry was a wonderful person well loved my many. RIP Gerry. Peace be with you all.

To Wilma, Will, Ingrid and the rest of the Willemsen family We are so sorry for your loss. Gerry was a very kind man. I always enjoyed talking with him when I stopped by with the Sunripe truck. Please know our thoughts are with you all during this sad time. Our condolences.

Dear Will, Ingrid & family. So sorry to hear about your Dad. You are all in our thoughts & prayers. Our deepest sympathy. Suzanne Larocque & Raymond Ellenor

I was so sorry to hear of Gerry's passing from my mom. I remember my grandparents Herman and Marie Derkzen speaking of how kind Gerry and Wilma were to them when they were all newcomers to Canada. My condolences to Wilma and the family.

Thinking of you Will, Ingrid & your family & certainly your dear Mom I extend my sincere sympathy to all of you at this sad & difficult time. Always so hard to lose a parent no matter what age they are. Lots of great memories for sure. God Bless Everyone of You. Margaret Brintnell (Brad's Mom)

Dear Wilma , I walked home with you one Saturday night in the snow from Mass at St Mary’s church. You are a lovely lady, we talked about your dear husband. God Bless you and may your husband Rest In Peace. Rosey

Joyce and family, What an entrepreneur and worker you Dad was! Those who have shown us love, brought us joy and made us laugh, have given us the lasting gift. May you find comfort in your beautiful memories.

Dear Rene Larry and family , my deepest sympathy in the loss of your father /inlaw,I only knew him from church but was such a sweet man .Thoughts and prayers at this difficult time .

Condolences on the passing of Gerry, prayers for the family

My sincere condolences and hugs to especially Wilma from your Church "hugger" ... my thoughts and prayers to all of you, cherish your happy memories.

Renee and family, Sending prayers and condolences to you at this time of sorrow. Hope you find solace in sharing your wonderful memories of a life well-lived. Garry and Elaine Warriner and family

Wilma We are very sorry for your loss of your husband … we will be praying for you and your family …

Wilma & Kevin: Our Deepest sympathy to the Family

Please accept our deepest sympathy and prayers to you and your family on the loss of your husband and their wonderful father. He was a gentle soul for sure.

Sending our deepest sympathies to all. You are in our prayers.

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.