Peacefully, with family by her side, Henriette Kleemola passed away at the Portage District General Hospital on Sunday, April 8, 2018 following a brief illness.
She was predeceased by her husband Emil in 1997; son Robert in 2003; son Edward in 2012 and son-in-law Frank Trossel in 2014.
Henriette will be lovingly remembered by her children Ted (Norma), John (JoAnne), Allan (Bette), Mariette Trossel, Anne (Orval) Pettit, Mary (George) Laquette and Karen (Darcy) Dick; daughters-in-law Gail Kleemola and Lorrie Kleemola and their extended families.
Henriette was born in Petegem, Belgium on April 15, 1926. She was the youngest of four children and the daughter of Achiel De Witte and Emerence Van Nevel. During the war, Mom met dad (Emil) while hitchhiking home after going with her cousin to look for her cousin’s mother in Ghent and attend the two-day Victory Celebration. This was a ride that has lasted a life time. As a symbol of her love for Dad, she continued to wear Dad’s wedding band around her neck up until the time of her passing.
Mom and Dad were married on December 22, 1945 in Belgium. She then came to Canada to join her husband and they settled in McGee, Saskatchewan for four years. Dad had to work very hard with Mom’s assistance and eventually they moved to The Lone Spruce Road in Amaranth to break the farmland and make their home.
Mom and Dad raised nine children and were blessed with 26 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Mom was a very active community member. In Amaranth, she was involved in the start-up of AWAP, Westlake Coop Ltd., and Amaranth Creative Playroom Workshop as well as many other councils and boards – too many to list.
When Mom and Dad moved to Langruth, she ran for Council and eventually became Reeve at which time she was determined to have waterworks installed in Langruth. She remarkably achieved this goal and was very proud of this accomplishment as there was a lot of opposition to it. She always had the determination to overcome any obstacles in her way. That was one thing you could be sure of.
Another of Mom’s passions was to have a reunion in Langruth as the population was aging and she suggested there be a celebration for the 75th anniversary.
Mom was an avid and willing volunteer and fundraiser with Terry Fox being her charity of choice. She was the organizer, biggest fundraiser and actively participated in the Terry Fox Run for the Langruth area for many, many years. She was very honored when she was able to meet Betty Fox.
After Dad’s passing, Mom enjoyed many years of traveling with her children, grandchildren and friends. She was able to make a number of trips back to her native Belgium to see and spend time with her family. She went on a number of tropical vacations to escape the harsh Manitoba winters as well as bus trips, one of them being to the East Coast where she voyaged to so many years ago.
She enjoyed these trips immensely and on her arrival home, she always had scraps of paper with names and phone numbers of new friends she had met along the way. She tried to keep in regular contact with most for as long as she was able. This was also a time before Internet social media and good old letter-writing or phone calls were the only means of maintaining regular communication. She did eventually get a computer at which time she had many so-called power struggles with and sad to say but the computer often was the winner.
Mom loved visits and spending time with her family and friends. She still loved to dance and play tag or chase her great-grandchildren around the house. Also, many hours were spent playing cards (horserace or crib), doing jigsaw puzzles and word-search.
The family would like to thank Dr. Kinnear and the staff on medical unit for their wonderful care – also for the concern and compassion shown to the family during our difficult time. Thank you also the homecare staff who so lovingly helped care for mom in her home.
A time of viewing and visitation will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 16, 2018 at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church at 11:00 a.m.
A private family interment will take place at a later date.
As expressions of sympathy, if friends so wish, donations may be made in Henriette’s memory to the Terry Fox Foundation, 150-8960 University High Street Burnaby, BC V5A 4Y6.
A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com 204-857-4021
Terry Fox Foundation
150-8960 University High Street, Burnaby BC V5A 4Y6