Buurmeester, Elsje Johanna Bertina
Nee Rietel. Passed into the loving arms of Jesus on December 1st, 2021 at the age of 84 years.
Born on November 12, 1937 in Tilburg, Netherlands, Elsje met and married the love of her life, Willem Buurmeester (predeceased February 22, 1999) on March 20, 1957 in Holland. 3 weeks later they honeymooned to Canada and never looked back. She lived in a number of communities, starting out on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, and moving to Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, Haney,100 Mile House, Salt Spring Island and making her final home at Elim Village in Surrey, BC.
Elsje loved Jesus with her whole heart, and her faith was central in her life. She raised her three children in this same faith and we are all so grateful to our mom for giving us this gift. She prayed unceasingly for everyone in her life, especially those that were unsaved. Her deepest desire was for all to experience the love and grace that only Jesus can offer. To her very last cognitive moments she prayed for all of you.
Her love of Jesus was closely followed by her love for her family and even to her final days she prayed for them by name.
Her eldest daughter, Hendrikje, (David) Newberry and their children, Andrew, (Natasha) and great grandson Ronan, and Laura, (Mark).
Her only son, Willem, (Karin) Buurmeester and their children, Julia, Rebecca (Andrew) and great grandson Landon.
Her youngest daughter, Elsje, (Peter) Hannah and daughter Rachel.
Elsje was the 6th child of nine. Her only remaining living brother is Roelof Rietel. She suffered during the war in occupied Holland and post war, and was only able to complete her education to grade 6. She enjoyed gymnastics and outdoor activities. She was active in her church as a youth, and was often bailing her little sister, Hanny, out of trouble! She worked as a housekeeper in Holland and when she came to Canada did a variety of jobs including janitorial work and working at a chicken processing plant in the early days of being here. When she moved to 100 Mile House, she got a job in a bakery and there she worked her way up to management. An accomplishment she was very proud of. Her last job was working as a long-term care aide and during this career she cared for many elderly people and physically and mentally challenged people in her home. Before starting this job, she had to go back to school and get her Long-Term Care Aide certificate. She did it, and this was her biggest accomplishment in her career.
During her life she was honest, fair and loving to her family and this is evidenced in the sentiments made in recent days by many of her in laws and nieces and nephews. She was a very special spark and made happy impressions wherever she went. She could be stern if she was displeased, but it never lasted long! Elsje loved her life, despite the constant pain that her illness caused. She was always up for an adventure, especially if it involved travelling. In her life she visited Holland frequently, and also enjoyed travelling to Disneyland, England, Mexico, California, Hawaii, Cuba and Alaska. She loved to camp and for many years travelled through BC with her husband and charges in their motorhome. She also loved to shop and the Ikea catalogue was usually sitting right beside her Bible!
Elsje struggled with many health issues in her life, the greatest of which was Rheumatoid Arthritis. As a result, it became more and more difficult for her to be mobile. In the spring of 2021, she took a fall that resulted in a broken leg. She spent many months rehabilitating post-surgery at Care Life and Laurel Place and in October was on the cusp of going back to her home at Elim Village. The weekend before her discharge she came down with a fever and returned to Surrey Memorial for more surgery to remove an infection. Her health deteriorated significantly after that, and on November 24th she was moved to McKenney Creek Hospice.
As much as Elsje was a stalwart prayer warrior for her whole life, she also had many people praying for her during her difficult times. Beverly Caston was one such faithful friend and sister-in-law. We want to thank everyone who prayed, cared for and loved her, with special thanks to Corrine Mennen who was so faithful in visiting, praying and singing with her Tante Els in her final days.
We also give special thanks and acknowledgement to Elim Village, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Care Life, Laurel Place and McKenney Creek Hospice for caring for Elsje in her last years.
A Memorial Service will be held on December 11th 2021 at 11:00am. Port Kells Church located at 19182 88th Avenue, Surrey, BC. Due to current provincial health restrictions, masks will be mandatory and we regret that we will be unable to host a reception at the end of the service. We thank you for your understanding.
In Lieu of flowers, donations to World Vision would be greatly appreciated. This was Elsje’s favourite charity and she loved sponsoring children and buying farm animals for people in need. https://www.worldvision.ca.