Geertje VanderHeiden

Geertje "Gertie" VanderHeiden (DeBoer)

Thursday, May 5th, 1932 - Wednesday, January 20th, 2021
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We are thankful to God for our mom, mother-in-law, sister, Oma, and dear friend for many years. In His infinite wisdom he took her home to be pain free, standing in the Glory of Jesus Christ, her Saviour, in her 89th year. She was admitted to hospital on January 4th, 2021 and was relieved of her suffering early morning on January 20th. She was dearly loved and will be missed by her children and by many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Gertie was the beloved wife of the late Nicolaas (2004) and the loving mother of Leonard† and Jane VanderHeiden, Louise† and Eric Strating, Jim VanderHeiden, Nellie and Norm Schuurman, Theresa and Nico Barendregt, Jackie and Len Hordyk and John and Amanda VanderHeiden. Beloved Oma and Great Oma of Mark & Paula VanderHeiden (Bradley), Lisa VanderHeiden, Jeff & Christine VanderHeiden (Evan, Emma-Jane), Andrew & Brooke VanderHeiden (Braden, Logan), Tanya & Shawn DeJager (Nicole, Emily, Shane, Hannah), Shawn & Melissa (Ashton, Jaylen, Avery, Ella), Krista Strating, Megan & Alex Byl (Jackson, Austin, Georgia), Carrie & Dan Hartman (Asher, Owen, Nora), Candace & Jon Jagt (Clara, Macy, Max), James & Cori-Lynn Schuurman (Rhoda, Elijah, Eden, Ivy), Jason & Kristen Schuurman, Jacqueline, Erwin Barendregt, Kevin & Vanessa Hordyk (Hunter), Liana & John Demik (Willow, Preston, Thatcher), Adrian & Jillian Hordyk, Amber Hordyk, Kelvin, Nolan, Zachariah, and Callie VanderHeiden. Sister of Tom† & Theresa† Reitsma, Peter† and Linda† Oosterhoff, John† and Joanne DeBoer, Konny and Ann DeBoer, Mike† and Dini DeBoer, Mary† DeBoer, Les and Ali (Ann†) VanEgmond, Gerry and Nellie DeBoer, Simon and Betty Breukelman and Peter and Alice Lof. Also missed by many nephews and nieces and family members in The Netherlands. Due to Covid restrictions on gathering size, visitation will be private by invitation only and a private service will be held at BALLARD MINOR FUNERAL HOME, Dunnville on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 11:00 am. Both the funeral service and the preceding graveside service will be livestreamed on the Ballard Minor Funeral Home Facebook page, commencing at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Anchor Association Inc. The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to the Shalom Gardens staff for their loving care extended to mom for the last seven years. Friends are invited to send condolences and sign the Book of Memories at

Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.(ESV)

Mom was born May 5, 1932 in the Netherlands, in a small town called Hauwlerwijk in the northern part of Holland. She was the fifth child of Jitze & Loltje DeBoer (good Friesian stock) who later immigrated to Canada in May of 1949. Coincidentally, mom celebrated her 17th birthday on the boat Tabintha. She would later celebrate her 63rd birthday on the plane crossing the Atlantic for a visit back to the mother country. The family left Holland April 29 and nine days later set foot in this great country. The first year in Canada was spent in Cobden, a farming community that lies between Ottawa and the Algonquin Park. The sentiments that mom expressed most about this time in Cobden concerned the harshness of the winter, the remoteness of the little house in which they lived and alienation from a church community, all things that would have been so very different from life in Holland. It was mandatory for an immigrant family to spend a minimum of one year at the place of sponsorship. Knowing our own Dutch natures, I think it was probably a year (exactly to the day) that her parents bought a farm in Smithville on Rd. 16.

The first years in Smithville the family worshiped in Hamilton at the Protestant Reformed Church and later at the Hamilton CanRC and somewhere along the line she met the light of her life. May 21, 1954 they were married, twice (better twice than not at all). Since our ministers were not yet legally licenced to marry, they first married at the Court House in Hamilton and then again on Sunday, before God and with His people.

The first years of their marriage were spent in Aldershot where Dad worked at Unsworth Greenhouses and mom worked down the road at an egg grading station. They lived in one of the workers’ houses on the Unsworth property and it was here that mom and dad were known for singing while doing the dishes together. Summertime, the windows would be open and the next door neighbours would comment on this since dad would sing melody and mom would sing counter-melody. Later on at family sings, they continued this duet and the siblings remember this fondly. The hymn that they would sing often was Hymn 41 in our BoP, ‘Christ Above All Glory Seated’ and the counter-melody to this hymn is beautiful. The words of this hymn are even nicer and it is this rich legacy that mom and dad have left behind for us as children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

As a married couple with five children, mom and dad were again drawn back to the Smithville area; by this time there was a Christian school there and the Deboer clan would also have been a drawing card. The early years of their marriage, mom spent as mother and homemaker. She did not have a driver’s licence and this alone would have tied her to the home. Later, when they lived in Dunnville, she did manage to get her preliminary licence and drove for the five years that she was allowed but two attempts to get her final licence failed and she gave up. During these five years she did manage to sneak in one accident and this put a damper on her driving aspirations. Many years later at Shalom Gardens, Nel had a ‘whale of a time’ getting her to even try out the motorized wheelchair that we got for her. But once she did master it, there was no turning back and she was not shy in showing off her accomplishment. On the other hand, when she resided in Dunnville town proper, she went all over the place in her motorized scooter.

Later years, when most of the children were married and out of the house, mom and dad took up a more active role in the Anchor Association. It was at this time that mom took the initiative to take a Pharmacology course @ Niagara College. She was in her 60’s by then and she did very well receiving accreditation for this course; an accomplishment worth noting since her formal education was terminated in Holland well prior to their immigration.

Already since the days of the greenhouses on the Fourth Concession, mom has been obsessed (maybe too strong a word) with physical health and natural products. It was always, “Mrs. Weatheral said this and she said that….”. How many times did mom and dad not visit the ‘chinese doctor’ for this or that herbal remedy. It was mom that introduced the famous ‘Doctor Bender Salve’ into this family. She was even ordering it for various fellow residents at Shalom Gardens.

I’m sure that for her grandchildren, the memories of her gift giving stand out. At Christmas time she always gave the traditional chocolate letter. This was not always the correct letter corresponding to their first name. We are not sure but we think that she would do this if she judged that the correct initial would not give them enough chocolate. For the birthdays, her gifts always consisted of good deals that she managed to get at various garage sales. In these instances, she would not always consider their actual age.

Mom is also remembered for her wicked game of sjoelbak. She would warm up each piece prior to sending it down the board and she usually was the winner.

Mom was predeceased by Dad and later by two of her own children. At her final days in the hospital she expressed that she was ready to go home. This was a great comfort to the sibling present at that time and also to the rest of us that could not be present. Even though some of her last moves proved rather difficult, from her last full home in Dunnville, then her years living at Ebenezer in Hamilton and finally scaling down further to the Shalom Gardens, her last years here in Grimsby were good years for which she and we thank our Heavenly Father.
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Memorial Program

We have provided a digital copy (PDF) of the Memorial Program that we supply at the time of the service. To Download this file please click the filename below. Geertje "Gertie" VanderHeiden (DeBoer) - Memorial Program

Service Details

  • Interment

    Riverside Cemetery
    Address Not Available
    Dunnville ONTARIO



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Ria Boot

Posted at 07:22am
My condolences to the children and grand-children and all other family of tante Gerie. This morning I heard from Therese that the Lord called tante Gerie home to be with Him in glory. May you all be comforted and strengthened by our Heavenly Father. Ria Boot

Mare Dethan

Posted at 11:07pm
Our condolences to the children and grand-children of Aunt Gertie and to all her siblings. I will always remember Aunt Gertie as a soft spoken, kind hearted woman. I remember the visits we had with her at Shalom when Yonson and I happened to be back in Canada. Each time she would tell proudly about her kids and grandkids and show the pictures on the wall. And we could tell she so much appreciated it when Yonson prayed for her. Thankful to God that she has no more suffering.

Henry Bergsma

Posted at 01:45pm
Diny and I ,cousin to Gerty, express our deep sympathy to all with the death of you Mom. It was good to participate virtually in the services today. After my Mom and Dad, Folkert Bergsma and Antje Brouwer, died we didn’t visit the Niagara much and so didn’t see much of the deBoer clan, or the VanderWier clan for that matter.
We wish that you may be comforted in your faith and family. And may the Lord bless you all.

Lammert en Rita

Posted at 06:40am
Lieve familie, oprechte condoleances vanuit Nederland van ons! We wensen jullie allen veel sterkte voor de komende tijd. Op vele gebied zullen jullie je moeder missen. Respect en waardering gaat uit naar hen die haar zoveel bezochten en mantelzorg verleenden! Lieve groet van oom Lammert en tante Rita

Leo en Petra

Posted at 02:05am
Our sincere condolances to everyone of the family! We remember tante Gerie from the holiday visits she made to Holland and later the holiday visits we made to Canada... as soon as we entered her home, she started to speak Dutch to us, as if she wanted to show us that she wasn’t forgotten how to do it! She enjoyed the visits and so did we! Good bye tane Gerie, untill we meet again! Strength to the family for the coming time. Xoxo Leo en Petra

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