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Jannes Poelman

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Jannes Poelman

April 19, 1933 - June 14, 2016


Jannes (Opa) Poelman passed away peacefully on June 14, 2016. He spent his last few weeks at home, surrounded by his loving family, overlooking the family farm. 

Jannes is predeceased by his son John in 1996 and his grandson Anthony (Bud) in 2001. He leaves to mourn, but not without hope, Neeltje (Nel) his loving wife of 61 years; along with his children: Audrey (Ralph) Vander Schaaf, Shirley Poelman, Grace (Don) Huisman and Gerald (partner Shannon Harris) Poelman; eight grandchildren: John, Amanda, Jennifer (Justin), Greg (Katie), Stephanie (Shaun), Taylor (Andrew), Kristina and Brian; three great-grandchildren: Casey, Lainey and Charlotte, and great nephew Bas Krauwel who was very helpful with Opa’s care in the final few months. 

Jannes was born in Nieuw Buinen, Holland, on April 19, 1933, and immigrated to Canada in February 1952. He met the love of his life on the three-week journey to his new country and began work in the Okanagan before moving to Vancouver Island. Jannes married Nel Vanderkley on June 4, 1955, and together they began farming in Shawnigan Lake, where they were later blessed with four children.

In June 1964, Jannes moved his family to the current Cowichan Bay Rd. farm where the family continues farming today. One of his biggest accomplishments to date was receiving the Master Breeder award in 2008, the highest award for dairy farming in Canada. Jannes had a passion for growing and harvesting crops, which he helped with until, with great sadness, he could no longer. Jannes was also an avid gardener, bee and aviary keeper. Jannes was instrumental in starting the Mill Bay Farmers Curling League and remained an enthusiastic fan of curling and many other sports. 

Jannes was very active in his community: a lifetime member of the Vancouver Island Holstein Club and a member of the Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Institute and Cowichan Agricultural Society. In addition, he sat on the board of the Cowichan Creamery, Duncan Christian Reformed Church and Duncan Christian School for many years. His faithfulness to any commitments he made reflected the way he faced life. He was a role model to his family and his community. 

Jannes always had an open door for family, friends, employee’s and even strangers, and left a lasting impression on those who spent time with him. He had a big heart for children and treated all kids like his own grandchildren, always making time to share a laugh with them. His big smile, large hands and unmatched work ethic touched many. 

The family wants to thank VIHA Home Support and the Nurse Next Door for all of their care and support over the last couple weeks, and especially to Dr. Decker for his home visits. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation: Building Fund. Address: #4-466 Trans Canada Hwy, Duncan, BC, V9L 3R6 

A memorial service will be held at Duncan Christian Reformed Church, 930 Trunk Rd., on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at 1:00 PM. Refreshments will be provided after the service. 


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.


I have known Jannes for many years and much appreciated his steady leadership,first president of young people society and me as secretary.After we moved to Ontario in 1973,Jannes visited us in Toronto and we went together to see the Maple Leafs,he was attending I think the Royal Winter Fair,we bought the tickets from a scalper outside the arena.Our condolences,John and Wiepie Witteveen,London,on

From: Margreth
Relation: uncle

Lieve Oom Jannes dank voor alle fijne jaren die ik met u heb mogen beleven. U bent als een 2e vader voor mij. Ik heb mij altijd zeer welkom gevoeld op mijn 21e toen ik een jaar bij jullie woonde maar ook in de vele jaren daarna met mijn gezin. Uw kracht en persoonlijkheid zullen altijd in mijn herinnering blijven. U heeft heel wat mooie dingen verwezenlijkt! Dankbaar zijn Henk en ik dat wij in april nog een paar weken bij u zijn geweest en uw warmte hebben gevoeld terwijl u het toen al best zwaar had. Het geeft een goed gevoel dat onze Bassie u nog een beetje comfort heeft kunnen bieden in uw laatste weken. Met diep respect & bewondering voor de zorg waarmee tante Nel u verzorgd heeft, leeft u altijd voort in mijn gedachte, die van Henk, Bo, Bas en uw jongste zus Grietje de-Groot Poelman. Veel liefs van ons allen.

From: Gary Lok
Relation: Friend

On behalf of the Lok family, I like to pass on our deepest sympathies to your family on the passing of Jannes.

I like to thank Jannes and Nel for all you have done for me personally. Jannes was a large contributor to helping me become a young man. He gave me the opportunity to help out around the farm and taught me about hard work, to be strong. He taught me about the importance of family and The relationship with Giod.

While I haven’t seen Jannes for many years he has always been in my thoughts and was an immense effluence on helping mould and shape me personally during my younger years.

I only found out about Jannes passing last night and would have loved to be there today to pass on my best wishes to the family.

Our deepest sympathies to Tanta Nel and the children.


Gary Lok

From: Pauline Jackson
Relation: I know his daughter Audrey.

I would like to send my deepest sympathies to Audrey and her family on the loss of her father Jannes. Audrey I will keep you in my prayers in the days to come. May God comfort you and be with you. Pauline.( Genereux) Jackson

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
June 18, 2016
Beginning at 1:00pm

Duncan Christian Reformed Church
930 Trunk Road
Duncan, BC Canada

930 Trunk Road
Duncan, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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