February 15, 1923 – February 21, 2019
Femmigje (Fem) van Hemmen, nee Bergman, of Surrey, B.C. passed away peacefully on February 21, 2019 in Surrey Kinsmen Lodge having lived to the full old age of 96. Fem was a believer in Jesus Christ and is now in a better place, with her Father in heaven, rejoined also with her late husband, Henk who passed away December 2, 2008.
Fem was always the nurse and helper to all who needed her. She exemplified strength and carried her responsibility and personal calling to care for others in very practical and dutch-minded ways, where ever she was. Born the second of five children, mom suffered the loss of her father at age 11, went through the scarcities of the great depression and the trauma of World War II in occupied Netherlands. These experiences, which can cripple many, made her stronger in spirit. She was determined and purposeful, receiving nursing training in Netherlands, and later left for Canada to work in Regina and Edmonton hospitals showing local nurses new European nursing methods. She met the love of her life in Edmonton, Henk van Hemmen, and they were married at the Edmonton Second Christian Reformed Church on November 12, 1954.
Dreaming of owning their own farm they ventured to Terrace, BC but not finding suitable farm land to purchase they eventually ended up farming in Agassiz, BC. There they raised their family of four children and after retiring in 1976 lived on the farm in a new home until moving to Chilliwack. Each move they made was done in anticipation of their family and health needs.
Mom was a consummate ‘green thumb’ and every living plant, shrub or tree that she came across flourished. She often gathered up small seedlings and plants on their many travels just to see how they would grow, she would say. Her garden and flower beds were always full of colour and life.
Later, free from the constraints farming life, Mom and Dad enjoyed the more relaxed pace and freedom to visit and travel for many years.
In their later years mom and dad moved to Elim Village in Surrey and enjoyed the fellowship of that tight knit and loving Christian community. Eventually, mom needed more care and went to Kinsmen Lodge where despite her own needs, would continue to nurse and consult on resident care with residents and staff alike. Mom’s servant heart and practical help will be long remembered by many.
Fem is survived by her four children: John, Shirley (Palmer) Charles and Harry; nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Her death will leave a void in the lives of those who knew and loved her.
The interment will be at Chilliwack Little Mountain Cemetery 10:00 am in Chilliwack, BC Saturday, March 16, 2019. A Memorial Service is to follow at 11:00 am at Woodlawn Mt. Cheam Funeral Home 45685 Hocking Ave. Chilliwack, BC. An informal reception to follow at the same location.
The van Hemmen family would like to thank all the staff at Kinsmen Lodge in Surrey for their kindness and support throughout Fem’s last few years.
No flowers or gifts please.