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GERRITSEN, Gertrude

February 19,1917 – Arnhem, Netherlands
July 4, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Gertrude Gerritsen passed away peacefully in her sleep a few months after turning 101 years old in February 2018.

Gertrude, her husband William and their three children Truus, Bill and Joe immigrated to Canada in 1953 to seek a better opportunity than that offered in war-torn Europe after World War II. The family originally moved to Sylvan Lake, where the owner of the Wooden Shoe Bakery had sponsored William as a baker. She loved Canada and the Canadian people who she found to always be very kind and hospitable.

After a few months in Sylvan Lake living in unfavourable circumstances, the family moved to Red Deer where there were better employment opportunities. Gertrude worked as a domestic in a boarding house and also worked in private family homes as her domestic skills became known in the community. Later Gertrude worked at the Provincial Training School, an institution for children and adults, looking after patients with a variety of mental and physical disabilities. She worked there for many years until William retired because of health problems, and encouraged her to retire as well.

Gertrude loved swimming and being around water, as did the rest of the family. Many weekends in the summer were spent in either Sylvan Lake or Gull Lake camping on the beach and swimming in the lake. Summer vacations were spent in the Okanagan, Spokane and Coeur D’Alene always near lakes either tenting,  or later with a holiday trailer.
Gertrude and William moved to Calgary in 1978 after their retirement to be closer to daughter Truus and son Joe who were now married and living in Calgary. Being close to the mountain meant more opportunities for camping and visiting Banff, Lake Louise and other national parks in Alberta and BC.
When her husband William passed away in 1990, her life changed because she had never learned to drive or have a driver’s licenses, but that did not deter her from getting around. She purchased the annual Calgary seniors transit pass, learned the bus routes and schedules, and went everywhere with the LRT and bus system.
We will always remember Gertrude for her loving nature and kindness. She loved her husband, children, grand children and great-grand children, as well as one great-great grandchild. She was always very sociable and loved doing things with her family and extended family. She loved having people over to enjoy tea, her favorite beverage, and plied her guests with homemade cookies and other assortments of baking.

Gertrude was the youngest of nine children all of whom predeceased her. She is survived by her three children: Truus Vandenbrink, Bill Gerritsen and Joe (Angelin) Gerritsen, as well as grandchildren Debbie (Don) Murray, Terry Saunders, Keith Vandenbrink, Shelly MacMullin, and Robert Gerritsen, great grandchildren Chad (Terri) Murray, Sean Murray, Toni Vandenbrink, Tori Saunders, Michael MacMullin, Sammuel MacMullin, and Jakob MacMullin, Kora Lee Gerritsen, and Cole Gerritsen, and great-great grandchild Hunter Murray. Gertrude was predeceased by her son-in-law Jake Vandenbrink, daughter-in-law Mary Gerritsen and her grandson-in-law John Saunders.
The family extends gratitude to the employees of the AgeCare Midnapore Indepent Living and Long Term Care facilities where Gertrude lived after she was no longer able to be independent and live in her own home.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the funeral home. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Gertrude Gerritsen, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Tony Vandenbrink :

    Kay and Tony will miss this fantastic women who was a good friend and even at her advanced age was well informed and kept up to date with current affairs.She had total recall of the war years the Museum of The Regiments interviewed her recently about the
    airborne landings in Arnhem in 1944 where she lived .They were pleased with the results.
    We have lost a remarkable women.

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  2. Sandi VandenBrink :

    Mrs. Gerritsen, as I knew her was a truly remarkable women. I remember asking her while celebrating her 99th birthday at the Country Club the key to her longevity? Without missing a beat she said “Keep walking” and promptly ambled down the stairs. She was always a delight to visit with and impeccably dressed. I even remember getting a shop recommendation of where she bought a lovely blazer. Her smile, sharp intellect and kind heart will be missed. Sincere condolences to all the family, of which there are many.

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  3. Debra Johnson :

    My great Aunt Truus was a lovely woman. Although I have not seen her in years I still have many fond remembrances of her from my childhood. She had a very warm personality and was always a lady. My condolences to her immediate family.

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  4. George & Leany Vandenbrink :

    Debby , Terry, Keith & Family Please
    accept our sincere condolences with
    the loss of your Mom and Grandmother

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  5. Helen Willison :

    My heartfelt condolences to all the family, a truly remarkable lady who lived her long life to the fullest. I was a church visitor many times & always came away feeling blessed Her wisdom, gentleness ,kindness & hospitality was second to none.,always cheerful with a contagious smile. The world is a better place for her having lived, she will be missed.

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