Anna Alida Hoek

June 22, 1928 – September 23, 2021
Anna (Anne) Hoek, a vivacious woman whose life was a tour de force, died on Sept. 23. She was 93. Anne spent her final day surrounded by her children and grandchildren, sharing memories and toasting to a wonderful life well-lived. She passed away as she lived: with strength, filled with happy thoughts, lively music playing in the background.
Anne was born in Castricum, Netherlands on June 22, 1928. Her love of music started at a young age, and she was always in the local choir. A voracious reader, she would head down to the dunes to read for hours. She loved living so close to the North Sea. As a teenager, Anne would visit the dance hall many evenings. It was there that she met Cor Hoek.
As the story goes, that first night they met, Cor promised he would marry her. It was truly love at first sight, and they were married shortly thereafter. In search of housing after the war, Anne and Cor moved to Canada in 1952. Not one to waste time, Anne immediately joined a music club, a dancing group, and yoga class.
Cor loved Anne’s outgoing, vibrant nature and how she danced and sang her way through life. Anne and Cor had five children, all born in Duncan.
To instill their love of the outdoors, Anne and Cor took the children camping for three weeks each summer. True west coasters, they started in Tofino, but too many rainy nights in their canvas tent shifted them to the Okanagan for summer adventures. They got a boat and water skied their way across Shuswap Lake.
How did Anne keep five children entertained on those long car trips? By singing musicals of course! On a typical evening when the kids were growing up, you would find Anne tucking the kids into bed, then rushing off to rehearsals. She performed in dozens of musicals over the years, from Oklahoma to the Merry Widow. She loved having all her kids in the front row on opening night.
Once the kids were grown and began having kids of their own, Anne kept the family traditions going by gathering everyone together for birthdays and Christmas. You would find her in the kitchen, music on the radio, making kroketten (Dutch croquettes) or oliebollen (Dutch donuts). For birthdays, the grandkids (who called her Oma) always requested her famous mokkataart (coffee cake).
Just stopping by for a visit? She would slice generous slivers of gouda onto your plate. In the 1990s, Anne and Cor started wintering in Yuma, Arizona to beat the cold. While Cor played shuffleboard and poker, Oma would take long walks in the surrounding orchards, do her pool exercises, then go over to the hall for choir practice. Anne was asked to perform a solo – the American national anthem! A bit of a surprise request, but she was always happy to oblige.
Anne and Cor celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2012, just before Cor’s passing that same year. Never one to dwell, Anne continued as Cor would have wanted, and started traveling. Along with her daughter, Celine, she traversed around the Mediterranean (the Amalfi Coast was her favourite!), Egypt, and Turkey, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and China.
She loved meeting new people, seeing how they lived, and sharing stories. On the cruises you would find Anne singing on stage in their big theatres or joining their line dancing groups. You can bet there wasn’t a single person on the boat who didn’t know Anne! Throughout her life, Anne never allowed herself a dull moment.
Her schedule in her final years is the stuff of legends. Every morning began with a light breakfast, then an hour and a half walk, rain or shine. She went to the pool for exercises Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.
On Tuesdays, she had harmonica band practice and performances. Wednesday and Friday afternoons were for choir. Saturday mornings would be spent line dancing at the Seniors centre, followed by a walk or a visit to the farmer’s market. She also belonged to a hiking group and would read to kindergarteners at Queen of Angels.
In her spare time, which of course was very seldom, she loved to read, garden, and visit with family and friends. One of her line dancing friends described her as “an inspiration; a bright, happy spark” amongst them. Anne was a vibrant, positive inspiration to all those around her.
Anne is survived by her three sisters: Cornelia Klardie, Leny van de Eng, Ria VandeKlundert, and Emmy Borsboom; brother, Rudd Brakenhoff; two daughters: Margaretha deFaye (Bob), and Celine Degraaf (John); two sons: John Hoek (Laura) and Michael Hoek (Carol); nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Cor Hoek, and her son, Richard Hoek.
Per Anne’s wishes, no service will be held. In lieu of a service, do as Anne did: sing, dance, and share a happy memory with those you love. When asked what advice she would give her grandchildren, Anne said, “Always look forward, optimistically, with happiness!”Obituary

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