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Joseph Groenendijk

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Joseph Groenendijk

November 30, 1925 - March 19, 2017


Joseph (Joe) Antonius Groenendijk was born November 30, 1925 in Noorden, The Netherlands and passed away peacefully on March 19, 2017 in Duncan, BC at 91 years of age. Joe was the ninth of fifteen children born to Cornelis and Catharina (Pieterse) Groenendijk.

His youth was not easy growing up in the depression and then enduring the occupation of the The Netherlands in World War II. During the war, out of hunger, he got a job on a dairy farm. He found he liked the work and desired to make dairy farming his life long career. After the war, he went to Wageningen University to become an Agricultural Engineer. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the Dutch Army and sent to fight in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

Upon his return to The Netherlands, as he was completing his studies, a letter arrived from the Sisters of St. Ann’s offering to sponsor him to come to Canada.  Realizing he would not be able to own a farm in his homeland and being upset with his army experience, Joe immigrated to Canada in 1952 to work on the Sisters of St. Ann’s Convent Farm (now Providence Farm). The following year his fiance, Johanna (Joanne) VanVliet followed him to Canada. They were married on August 22, 1953 at St. Ann’s Church and the following day they moved to Chemainus and Joe started working at the sawmill.

In 1958 they purchased the property on Mt. Sicker Road and pioneered it into a dairy farm. In 1993, Joe moved to a smaller dairy farm in Glenora and continued milking cows until he was 76 years old. He then shifted his energies to his vegetable garden and rhubarb patch. Joe valued his independence and lived alone on his farm until last November.

The family would like to thank the many people who would visit Joe for a cup of coffee. He very much appreciated all your visits. Two people we would like to especially thank are Albert Scholtens who helped Joe tremendously in his last years and made it possible for him to live on his own as long as he did. Also Nick deLange, his closest friend of 65 years and bridge partner. Thank you Nick for visiting Joe everyday in the hospital.

Joe was a passionate supporter of agriculture in general and the dairy industry in particular. He was actively involved in many industry organizations: Cowichan Agricultural Society, BC Federation of Agriculture, Independent Dairyman’s Association of BC, Dairy Farmers of Canada and was instrumental in founding the Agricultural Farm Labour Pool and managing the Cowichan Cedar Milking Hauling Co-op.

He is preceded by his wife, Joanne in 2008, his parents and most of his siblings. Joe is survived by his son Chris, daughter-in-law Henrietta and grandchildren Cameron (Samantha), Megan, Douglas and Danielle Groenendijk. Brother Vincent (Olga) Groenendijk, sisters Agnes (Kees) VanVliet, Elly Donders and Mieke (Roy) Farrar, numerous nieces and nephews, especially Marijke Klarenbeek, several brothers and sisters in laws, including a special brother-in-law Gerard VanVliet.

The family would like to thank the medical staff at Cowichan District Hospital and the Lodge on 4th for the kind and compassionate care of Joe in the last months of his earthly life.

A Celebration of Joe’s life will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2017 in the fellowship hall of the Duncan Christian Reformed Church (930 Trunk Road) at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Joe’s memory to Duncan Christian School (495 Beech Avenue, Duncan, BC, V9L 3J8).


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

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

From: Islay Brand
Relation: Joseph was a friend of my parents

Thinking of you all and sending my condolences. My parents Tony and Betty Motherwell were friends of your parents. I also remember your parents and the many trips we made to visit with your Mom and Dad to the farm. With deepest sympathy. Islay Brand nee Motherwell

From: Nick Fookes
Relation: Nephew

Dear Family and Friends,

I was really sorry to hear about Oom (Uncle) Joop’s passing. As the youngest son of is youngest sister Mieke, I met him, Tante (Auntie) Johanna and my cousin Chris for the first time when I was 9, during a family holiday to Vancouver Island in 1977. I have very fond memories of Oom Joop and family from that visit, and from meeting him again on several occasions in the Netherlands since.

I remember him as kind man with a warm spirit. I am told that he could also sometimes be somewhat stubborn (or rather determined?) -a trait that appears to run through the family, me included.

I would like to express my sympathy to Chris, Henrietta, their children, and to Oom Joop’s siblings and close friends in particular.

With warm wishes from London,
Nick and Gabi

From: Debbie Klarenbeek
Relation: family

Dear family and friend, What a beautifull story about Joop. My condolences for all of you! With love, Debbie Klarenbeek, daughter of Marijke Groenendijk & Dirk Klarenbeek

From: Robert Fookes
Relation: Nephew

Oom Joop had an interesting life. I would have liked to know earlier about his whole life story, to be able to share more on the few occasions we met. The most memorable being our stay at the farm as a kid in 1977, hitching a ride on the tractor, rounding up the cows, shooting cans with Chris. I would have liked to share more about Indonesia in particular, where I worked a few years. But now is the time to say farewell, and to extend heartfelt condolences to the close family and friends. Fond memories, Robert

From: Nol and Catherine Kleijn
Relation: friend

Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. Many good memories .We want to express our sympathy and let you know that our thoughts are with you. Our most sincere condolences.

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
April 15, 2017
Beginning at 11:00am

Christian Reformed Church
930 Trunk Road
Duncan, BC Canada

930 Trunk Road
Duncan, BC Canada

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