November 10, 1933 – Harlingen, The Netherlands
February 17, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta
Our loving Mom and best friend has been called home to be with our Dad who passed away in May. We, Corinne Wilkinson (Scott) and Joanne ter Harmsel (Janet) have lost a beautiful person in our lives at the age of 80 years. Mom was our hero, inspiration, and biggest cheerleader. She taught us to be quiet leaders, compassionate, respectful, and to give generously to those less fortunate. She filled us with confidence, never judged, always trusted and taught us it was okay to fall.
Mom was born in Holland where she lived as a young girl through World War II. At a tender young age she bravely participated in underground efforts. Her family home was bombed and she was forced to grow up all too quick. From a family of seven children, she is survived by two brothers, two sisters, a sister-in-law, as well as many nieces and nephews. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1954 when her father wrote on their immigration papers that it was to provide a better life for his children. Mom embraced Canada as her new home and her first job as a nanny. She fell immediately in love with the children and corresponded with them her entire life. Mom met Dad (also from Holland) through her brother, Bill and they were married in Edmonton in 1956. Soon we, the loves of her life, were born. Mom stayed home to raise us until we graduated from high school – something we will cherish forever. We know ourselves, but also from many envious friends, what a great Mom we had, showering us with love, but at the same time, teaching us the important things in life. We had the best school lunches, amazing hand-made Halloween costumes, coolest home-sewn clothes, magical Christmas holidays, and a patient teacher who helped us with our homework every night. We played games, sang, danced, skated, tobogganed, did arts and crafts and were allowed to play in every sport we wanted to. She came on our school field trips and baked for all the special occasions. We were everything to Mom, and Mom was everything to us.
When Mom did enter the workforce, it was with the CGA Association as Bookstore Manager, sharing her caring nature with thousands of students over 21 years. After retirement, Mom went back to her crafts – sewing, knitting, painting, metal art, stained glass, and more. Mom and Dad were avid gardeners, nurturing cucumbers and tomatoes in their greenhouse and a yard full of stunning flowers. Mom, like the rest of us, was an avid Calgary Flames fan, with game schedules posted on the fridge and a meticulous record of all final scores.
She volunteered every week with Confederation Park 55+ Centre, sang in the Northminster United Church choir, was involved in every church activity, enjoyed art classes and scrapbooking, and continued to spoil us as she had her entire life. Our annual “mom and daughters” summer vacation was a highlight in our lives, travelling to Osoyoos for 17 consecutive years.
Mom will be dearly missed, but passing away on Family Day, we can’t help but think Mom and Dad were missing each other. We love and miss them both, but we know they are now in a beautiful place together. Our new family is each other, and thankfully we have 50 years of wonderful memories.
A celebration of Mom’s life will be held Wednesday, February 26 at McInnis and Holloway, Chapel of the Bells, (2720 Centre Street North) at 2:00 pm. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. Friends and family who wish to make a donation in her name may do so to the Calgary Flames Foundation which does incredible work with many charities in the Calgary community Mom loved.
In living memory of Joan ter Harmsel, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McInnis and Holloway Funeral Homes, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Telephone 403.276.2296.Print This Obituary & Condolences