Joanne De Jaegher
On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Johanna “Joanne/Jo/Grandma Jo” Henrica Theresia De Jaegher (née Goring) at the age of 87, passed away peacefully at the Notre Dame Health Centre in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. She was surrounded by family at the time of her passing.
Joanne was born on March 4, 1932 to Dina (Oma) and Josef (Opa) Goring in the Gelderland province of Holland, near the German border, and lived there until 1936 when the family relocated to Apeldoorn. She was the second of seven children, though sadly her eldest brother Theo would die in 1944 as a result of an unexploded shell in a local park. She lived through both the Depression and the Second World War as a child in Holland. Her mother managed to feed her family despite limited rations and her father evaded capture by Nazi raids on multiple occasions. During major bombing runs towards the end of the war, the family would take shelter in their neighbour’s basement, a member of the Dutch Resistance. It is perhaps these experiences that caused her to develop a remarkable resilience and strength that enabled her to be such a positive force in the lives of her children and many others.
After the war and the liberation of Apeldoorn by Canadian soldiers, and in search of a more secure life, the family (with Tante Bertha) immigrated to Canada after being sponsored by Uncle Gerry, one of Opa’s brothers. They travelled to Rotterdam on June 13, 1951 where they would board the Volendam, arriving in Québec City on June 24. From there, the family boarded a train to Winnipeg and then drove with Uncle Gerry to St. Alphonse where the family moved into a home furnished with donations from local people. The four eldest living children went off to work, including a nineteen-year-old Joanne who found work as a farmhand for a relative outside the town of Swan Lake, then at the Mariapolis hotel, finally at the Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg.
In 1954, Oma and Opa moved to Winnipeg, residing in East St. Paul, where Opa worked for a market gardener. Joanne married Adrien De Jaegher that same year and lived on a farm in the Swan Lake area. There they raised five children. Joanne was a wonderful parent. She created experiences and opportunities for her children well beyond their economic circumstances. The adventures that she led on the farm made it seem like a vast world unto itself. She had a tremendous ability to see her children and grandchildren as unique individuals and valued and developed them as such. Her capacity to generate curiosity about the larger world and to engage in lifelong learning is embedded throughout her descendants and they are certainly far better off for it. Perhaps most importantly, she modeled care and full acceptance for others and often fiercely expressed that “it takes all kinds to make a world”. The family were congregants of the St Martin of Tours Catholic Parish in Swan Lake. She worked as a health care aide and then a cook at the Lorne Memorial Hospital in Swan Lake. For a time she managed and operated the town coffee shop. Following the death of her loving husband Adrien on August 6, 2017, she moved to a small apartment in Somerset, overlooking the fields.
Joanne was an excellent cook, fashioning delicious soups out of whatever happened to be in her fridge. She was also an avid knitter and crafter more generally. In her later years she knitted a great deal for charity; particularly warm clothing for Winnipeg’s homeless population and “fidget muffs” for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. She loved her family dearly and enjoyed creating elaborate scrapbooks to memorialize special family moments. Joanne also created a family tablecloth onto which the names of new additions to the family are embroidered. She enjoyed reading and playing Scrabble, particularly with her children and grandchildren. Her interest in the larger world led her to some travel experiences in Europe and all over Canada. She travelled with Adrien, with friends, and with children and grandchildren. She could make a short fishing trip to “the Horseshoe” in the valley feel like a most exciting undertaking.
She will be greatly missed by her children, Bonnie (Remi), Sandy (Russ), Kevin (Lili), Barry (Jennifer) and Mark (Teena); grandchildren, Colette (Tyler), Jennifer (Jason), Eric (Candace), Jason, Derek (Erin), Jeff (Vanessa), Justine (Tara), Lindsay, Sadie (Bobby), Dallas (Autumn), Haley and Skylar and great grandchildren, Emyrsen, Cameron, Kayden and Jacob. She is also survived by her sisters Ria, Lucy, and Liz; her sister-in-law Jenny and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Joanne was predeceased by her loving husband of 63 years, Adrien, as well as her brothers Theo and John and sister Betty.
In Joanne’s own words, written for a family memorial book in 2012, “In 1954, Adrien (Jigger) and I were married. I remember Uncle Gerry asking me why I did not look for that rich farmer he had talked about! But my farmer and I were in love and we had five children and as of the year 2012, we have 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. I would call that rich!”
Indeed, everyone who knew Joanne felt richer for knowing her. She will be dearly missed but not forgotten.
A Memorial Service will be held at Adam’s Funeral Home on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Siloam Mission, 300 Princess St, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1M3 or to the Lorne Memorial Health Foundation, Box 40, Swan Lake, MB R0G 2S0.
Adam’s Funeral Home of Notre Dame, Manitoba in care of arrangements. Phone 204-248-2201 or 1-888-400-2326. For more information and condolences, please visit www.afh.ca
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