← View All Tributes

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: Lila and Ralph Shaule
Relation: Friends

We grew to love May over the 10 years they lived in the Sault. So many Sundays we enjoyed a roast dinner after church at their table. We shared many Mom moments with our kids and I always treasured the times we shared wallpapering and trying to teach me tennis. Our love of God and nursing was a bond and we missed her so much when she moved. Our condolences to Murray, Marilyn and Jennifer and their families. Ralph and Lila Shaule

From: Penni Anderson
Relation: Co-worker at MSA hospital

I worked with May for several years on both the Pediatric and Maternity units are MSA, she was a kind, gentle soul wth a wonderful sense of humour, she was a delight to work with and will be fondly remembered

From: Doug Mc Clintock
Relation: Friend

May lived across from Bette Sharp on Ann St. in Sarnia in her younger days.
Bette and me got married in June 1957 and May was a bridesmaid.
The Turley family went to Temple Baptist Church then for some years and I remember May and Rose very well. Very good memories !

From: Marlene Wyville (nee Dudley)
Relation: I moved to Sarnia, across the street from May, when we were both in grade seven at Devine Street School We drifted apart while we were in high school, but periodically I would hear about May from mutual friends.

My condolences for the loss of your mother.

From: Grace Silvester (nee MacBain)
Relation: Friend as a teenager at Temple Baptist Church, Sarnia, On. My Father was the Pastor of Temple Baptist Church.

My deepest sympathies to the family of May on her passing. It was very interesting for me to read of her life and family as I had known May and Hans as members of our youth group in Temple Baptist Church in Sarnia. They were both very active in the Church and provided leadership in our youth group. She was a good Bible student and her life demonstrated that she lived what she believed. It seemed very appropriate that she become a nurse due her compassionate concern for others . Over the years we had lost contact with her but have never forgotten her dedication to the Lord. She obviously influenced and taught her children the ways of God and demonstrated her love for God to others. We are saddened with her passing but believe her life and witness will continue to influence others for the Lord.

From: Lorraine Claydon
Relation: We were 2nd cousins

To Rose her sister: So sorry to hear of your loss, remember all the years we spent together in Sarnia going back and forth on the train. Miss you both so much. Love Lorraine

From: John Thompson
Relation: Friend

I thank God for the lives of Hans and Catherine during their time of ministry in Cambridge, Ontario. As I think back to the years of acquaintance with the Abma daughters and son, it was quite evident to see Mom and Dad’s dedication to showing God in all that they did. Thank you Catherine for your testimony and for touching many lives through your family.

From: Jack Campbell
Relation: former Pastor at Sevenoaks Alliance church

I remember May (and Hans) as such servants in our church family at Sevenoaks Alliance. Love and prayers to you as a family as you mourn her passing.

From: Ruth Sherk
Relation: Cared for May while working at Tabor

Dear Marilyn,
I follow the Abby Obits and noticed May’s passing. Sending you my sincere condolences. It was an honour to walk with you during my tenure atTabor. Your dad & mom shone their lights in unique and delightful ways – chatting, encouraging and wiling to spread their love & smiles. May you and your family feel their closeness , while they have parted, and now together.
Sincerely, Ruth Sherk

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

Memorial Gifts

The Gideons

Thank You Notice

Send Flowers

Floral Tributes may be ordered directly through our supplier for delivery throughout the entire lower mainland, from Hope to Vancouver:

Wiebe & Jeske Funeral Home
202-31314 Peardonville Rd.
Abbotsford BC
V2T 6K8


When ordering please have the name of the deceased, the date of the funeral service and the address/phone number of the delivery location for handy reference.

Donate In Memory

Send Condolence - For Catherine Abma

Use the form below to send a Condolence, light a memorial candle and/or share a personal memory.

Your email address will not be published.

Please upload a small jpg file (Max file size is 1MB)

← View All Tributes