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Catherine May Abma (Turley)

May 1, 1940 - April 18, 2020



May passed on to her eternal home on April 18,  just shy of her 80th birthday, due to respiratory complications.  Beloved sister of Rose Bee (Jim); dedicated mother to Murray Abma (Carol), Marilyn Loewen (Stan) and Jennifer Abma (Kyle), mother-in-law to Debbie (Les); and doting grandmother to Rachel, Rebekah, Andrew, Nathan, Malcolm and Callum; Kyra, Kaylea; Abby and Liam.  She peacefully joins her late husband, Hans Abma, and parents, William Albert and Catherine Turley.

May was a passionate person with strong convictions and a deep desire to help others. She was born and raised in Sarnia, ON and followed her career path by completing her nursing degree at Sarnia General Hospital.  At age 21, her independent spirit took her for three years to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she studied ministry/mission work and continued nursing at the local hospital.

Hans and May married in the summer of 1964 and together soon began to serve in church communities in the Sarnia area. This was followed by a move to Sault Ste. Marie in 1973 for 10 years at Plummer Memorial Hospital and Bethany Baptist Church.  During these years, she raised her children to appreciate music, athletics and invest in a meaningful relationship with God: enrolling us in Royal Conservatory piano/singing competitions, playing “Name that Classical Tune” at the dinner table, and ensuring that we all embraced athletics with early tennis and swim lessons. The next chapter took the family to Cambridge ON, serving at Forward Baptist Church, and nursing at Cambridge Memorial Hospital while completing an undergrad in Arts and attending Teachers College at Brock University.

In 1992, the first grandchild arrived, so she and Hans packed up and moved to Abbotsford B.C. and began serving at Northview Community Church. During this stage in her life, she continued her nursing career at MSA Hospital in the Paeds/Maternity Wards, which brought her great joy.  In her spare time,  she could be found at the MSA Tennis Club on weekday mornings or visiting friends, gardening, going for walks, biking, or sharing special moments with her grandchildren. She cherished her time with them, and dedicated herself to this role, taking them swimming or biking, picking them up from school, playing Scrabble, having girls high tea, role playing “hospital”, reading bedtime bible stories and singing songs. Favourite treats included her famous blueberry pancakes, strawberry swirl ice cream, backyard blue concord grapes and the stash of peppermints that could always be found in her purse.  If she wasn’t working, her grandma status was “Available.”  During these years she also looked for opportunities to help those in need, opening up her home, and her dinner table– sharing her baking, especially her sour cream apple pies.

Mom’s presence was always a warm, open invitation. Both her positive disposition and attitude enabled her to journey life’s curveballs with grace. Her innate caring spirit prompted her to notice and respond to those around her with a smile, gentle touch, or kind word of encouragement. Despite the challenge of dementia, she maintained a sense of humour and an ability to surprise us with a one-liner that would evoke hearty laughter. Her flexible nature lent itself to be present in the moment and share joy in the little things. A meaningful card re-read got extra miles and could stir equal emotion and meaning each time; and lyrics from old tunes could be teased out of her with joyful singing, bringing her peace. Most importantly, her eyes still sparkled in the presence of her grandchildren. Mom’s faith in Jesus was the foundation on which she lived her life. She persevered to the end and now her anticipated hope is her reality.

The family is deeply grateful for the love and support of her “other daughter”, Ellen Casali, who journeyed with Mom and Dad for many years. Thank you to Sara Harms for her faithful support and to the care team at Tabor Home for their appreciation of  mom and their kindness and attention to her needs.

Due to current circumstances, we will postpone a memorial service, so in the meantime to honour May, listen to Chopin, play a round of Scrabble or share a home-baked pie with loved ones.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gideons.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

Pages: 12

From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Lis Friesen
Relation: My delightful former neighbour.

The tribute to your mom is just ever so beautiful! She was a charming neighbour and I enjoyed her company and personality. She left us with a radiant testimony of faithfulness and I look forward to finding her in Heaven just to catch up. All glory to God our Saviour and King!

From: Susan Hample
Relation: Friends of the Loewen Family

Marilyn, Stan, Kyra & Kaylea – We have only fond memories of May. Our deepest sympathies go out to you.
Love, The Hample family
Our deepest condolences

From: Jenn (Gilmour) Pent

Thinking of you all and praying for you in your time of loss, especially in this difficult season. Praying your beautiful memories and God’s close presence will bring comfort today and in the days ahead.

From: Joyce Kehler
Relation: Fellow Nurse at the MSA Peds and Maternity wards

Dear Family,
So glad for May that she could be released to her eternal Home. My father had dementia so it was so hard to watch the mental changes. May was such a delightful, sweet compatriot, and I always enjoyed working with her, and experiencing that caring for her patients and that lovely gentle laugh, which I can hear even now. It was such a joy to know her and to spend time with her. God give you Peace during this hard time when you cannot even have a memorial service for her. Please let me know when you do, as she had many friends on Paediatrics. Love Joyce

From: Janet Baillies
Relation: I worked with her at MSA Hospital

It was with great sadness that I heard of May’s passing. I met her in 1992 when I arrived in Abbotsford to be the Manager of Paediatrics. May brought a kindness and a sense of calmness with her to the children on the Ward. The staff respected her for the same reasons. You could always rely on May. She was practical but could surprise you with her quick humor. She was a lovely person.

From: Kelly Whitney
Relation: We worked together at MSA hospital

Hi. I had the pleasure of working with May at MSA. I have many fond memories of her kind and loving spirit, her dedication to nursing, her love of family. My condolences to all.

From: Helen Schroeder
Relation: friend

I worked with May for a number of years on the Paediatric unit at MSAH. i was a unit clerk the time. I loved the beautiful tribute you wrote for your mom and thats the way I remember her as well. She is with the Lord and deserves a special place in Heaven. May God bless and comfort you as you mourn for her. Would love to be at a memorial if you have one in the future.

From: Cindy Goerzen
Relation: Co-worker in Nursing

May was a wonderful person and a very caring nurse. I had the privilege of working with her for several years on the Pediatric ward at MSA Hospital. Deepest sympathies to all of you.

From: Joe Sharp
Relation: As above

Sincere condolences to May’s family. May and I were class mates starting with Kindergarten at Devine St School,Our families lived across the road from each other on Ann St in Sarnia.Not surprised at all to learn of all the things May
accomplished in her life.Both May and Rose were great kids in our young lives and Mr and Mrs Turley were wonderful parents.
As an aside they also had the neatest car in the hood.A green Model TFord Circa 1930.
Joe Sharp

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

Memorial Gifts

The Gideons

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