Obituary of Vera Alice Doris Verbeek
Vera Alice Doris (Howie) Verbeek, born February 19, 1943, was the fourth of five daughters born to Irene and Melville Howie. When Vera made a friend, it was for life. She was a wife, mother, aunt, sister, and friend. As a child Vera enjoyed spending time at her grandmother’s farm in Thornton ON, and spending time with her lifelong friend.
Vera worked at Bell Telephone in 1959 as a switchboard operator when she met her future husband, John Verbeek. They were married June 16, 1962. Soon after, they moved to Beeton ON. They started their family in 1963.
John and Vera relocated to Sudbury ON as John was opening the Northern Ontario branch of Standard Auto Glass. John Jr was born in 1968. They purchased their first home in 1969, where they met wonderful neighbours and friends Gloria and Dalton Fawcett.
Vera stayed at home and cared for her family. She enjoyed many outings with friends with Little John in tow as Deb was already in school.
Vera enjoyed many family-oriented activities including travelling, camping, fishing, snowmobiling, and ballroom dancing with friends and family.
The family moved to Barrie ON in 1973 where Vera upgraded her education. She was employed in various roles including the Federal government, the City of Barrie, Federal Foil and Wolf Steel in the 35 years there.
While in Barrie John and Vera helped her Uncles Milt and George farm and raise cattle. When Vera was not busy in an office or at home, you could find her at the farm cleaning out the barn, caring for the cattle and helping to bring in the crops. Vera would often clean out the barn twice a day. When she was not busy, she enjoyed gardening, and playing Euchre with friends. She was always up for learning a new skill. She had not learned to swim as a child and was prepared to. By the end of her 10-week lesson she was diving backwards.
Vera appreciated the simple things in life…a sunny day, listening to the songbirds and preparing meals alongside her husband for family and fiends. It was as though there was an Open sign at the Verbeek home as often friends and family would migrate to the meeting place. Grandsons Clayton and Phillip spent many hours with their grandparents learning many skills only a grandparent can teach.
After John and Vera retired, they settled in Bigstone Alberta in 2010. They had the opportunity to spend time with grandsons John Jr. (Champ), Wyatt, and Kaleb. Being retired also allowed to travel again. They had hoped to return to Hawaii one day.
There were some young people that John and Vera came to know by happenstance. They were in Canada on work visas or expanding their education from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, and Germany and worked for local ranchers. They became friends with John and Vera. These fine young people were considered family and enjoyed meals and sharing stories back and forth. Correspondence was always enjoyed.
She will be remembered as a kind gracious lady. She always made time to listen if you needed to talk. She was wise, considerate, and always put her family first. She and her husband John enjoyed preparing meals for friends and family. She will also be remembered for having a well manicured yard. If the grass was not cut at least twice week then there was reason for concern. If you were one of the people that got to enjoy her butter tarts and homemade pies, you were very fortunate indeed. More than one person claimed that Vera’s piecrust was the thinnest and flakiest. Her devilled eggs were sought after as well.
She was known by many names to her family and friends. Mom, Vee, Grandma, Grandma-Bear, Deera and The Cobra-Chicken. There are a few classic Vera stories that have been shared and will continue to make people smile such as the Red Airplane story and the Mouse at Harvest.
She is predeceased by her parents Irene and Melville Howie and son John.
Vera Verbeek experienced a series of strokes in 2022. She passed away quietly at the Hanna Hospital on March 4, 2023.
The family would like to acknowledge the wonderful care she received by the wonderful staff and doctors at Big County Hospital, the Hanna Health Centre and the Homecare Team.
No funeral service will be held. If desired, donations in memory of Vera can be made to either The Canadian Red Cross, P.O. Box 39, Saint John, NB, E2L 3X3, Hanna Hospital (Hanna Ladies Auxiliary) Box 23, Hanna, AB, T0J 1P0 or the Big Country (Oyen) Hospital, 312 3 Street E, Oyen, Alberta, T0J 2J0.
Hanna Funeral Services ltd., has been entrusted with the care and arrangements; 403-854-5956, www.funeral.ca.