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.
Online condolences may be made at www.hwwallacecbc.com