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Frank van Gaalen

June 20, 1932 - April 9, 2020

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It is with great sadness that Franks’ family announces the peaceful passing of Frank van Gaalen on April 9th, 2020 at Chilliwack General Hospital at the age of 87.

Frank was born and grew up in Loosduinen, The Netherlands. The 6th of 11 children. In 1953 he married Annie. They lived in Den Helder above the hardware store where he worked. In 1959 they moved to Ontario, with their two children Anne Marie and Andre. Shirley was born in Ontario shortly thereafter.

In 1970 they moved from Ontario to British Columbia. The fishing was far better there! Frank retired from his work as a sprinkler fitter in 1992. Frank and Annie decided that Young Lake, was the place for them, and built their dream home by the lake. They worked and played hard through the winters and summers for 20 years. Frank was known as “the man to go to if you needed anything”.   In 2015 Frank knew that at 83, it was time to give up that wonderful lifestyle and take up full time residence in Chilliwack, BC.

His devoted wife Annie and children Anne Marie, her husband Carlos; Andre, his wife Dale; and Shirley, her husband George; brother Andre and sister Agnes survive Frank. And all the nieces and nephews who are too numerous to name.  Frank has 3 grandchildren – Russell, Ryan and Nicole and 1 great grandchild – Jayden. We were blessed to have him as a Husband, Father and Grandfather.

The family will be spreading Franks’ ashes at his chosen spot at Young Lake.

A special thank you to all the nurses in ICU and 3 North at Chilliwack Hospital. Also an enormous thank you to Meagan one of the many RT staff who was there for dad when he needed them most. They all showed their respect and admiration for Dad. They worked hard to make Frank comfortable during the last 2 months of his life.  Also thank you to the staff at Dr. Mackenzie’s office who helped Annie and Anne Marie through this difficult time.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Please feel free to share photos and memories.

Condolences

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From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

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

From: Steve van Gaalen
Relation: Uncle

Dear Family, I am so sorry for your loss. Uncle Frank always made me “better” he helped teach me what was right and how to do things right! We will all miss him.

From: Lian van Gaalwn
Relation: Frank was my uncle

Lieve tante Ans, gecondoleerd met dit grote verlies.
My father Jan and mother Joke were not only family, but also dear friends.
I‘m so sorry that I can’t tell Joke that oom Frans has passed away so she is not able to mourn the loss of oom Frans, the brother in law she loved so very much.
All her memories are lost in the past due to alzheimers.
So I’ll do it as an honour to Joke, mijn moeder and of course mijn vader Jan who passed away in 2007. Mijn vader was the spitting image off oom Frans, the could have been twins even thought there were 3 sibblings between them…
When Annie en Frans lives in Den Helder, mum and dad, by that time married and pregnant with me, visited them as much as possible, all the way from Loosduinen to Den Helder, not by train but by moped!
I’ve pics somewhere, them with Anne- Marie as a baby. And Frans en Ans holding me as a baby.
They left for Canada when I was 1year old. Jan en Joke were very sad to see them leave.
In those days it was very difficult to stay in contact, letters took weeks to arrive and a phonecall was far to expencive… something we can’t imagen in our digital way of living nowadays.
Anyway, during the years to come there were moments they saw each other, and those were fun days.
The last time Ans en Frank came to visite, was by surprise for Jan en Joke’s 50 wedding anniversaty in may 2005. A year later Jan en Joke went to Canada for the last time.
After Jan passed away, there were still the many phonecalls, Frans holding the phone and Ans loud and clear in the background…
Ans and family stay strong!!!!!
Lots of love, lian(neke) 💋

From: Nicky Borst
Relation: Franks oldest sisters 4th child.

Praying for your healing, comfort, strength and peace during this very painful time.Om Frank is in your hearts and forever and always will remain there.

From: Ted van Gaalen
Relation: Uncle

Our thoughts go out to all of you for the great man you lost. My kids Britney and Braedon know of him from the stories I tell them. His memories will always live on.

From: Russell Graham
Relation: Grandson

Frank was my grandfather. I always called him Opa.

He was a huge influence on the person I am. I’m sad that he is gone, but I got more from him than I could possibly ask for. I’m grateful for everything he gave me, but I am most grateful that he gave me some of his time. That’s irreplaceable.

My earliest memories of him are from over 20 years ago, when he and Oma were living full-time at Young Lake, off the grid with no electricity and running water pumped out of a lake. Every summer I would visit the cabin and cut down, buck, and chop wood for each so they would have enough for the winter.

He taught me things I probably never would have learned otherwise. I learned how to conserve water and electricity. I learned to use a chainsaw at an age probably younger than I should have. I learned how to safely drive quads with trailers before I could reach the pedals (or legally drive) in a car. I learned how to use a log splitter that Opa had bodged together from a Toyota four cylinder engine and a hydraulic pump. I grew up mostly in the city and I think almost nobody from the city gets to learn those things.

I think, based on what my mum and Oma told me, he was at peace in his last weeks on Earth. I’m grateful that he could end life in such a peaceful state.

The pain of this loss will pass, and ultimately Opa is in a better place.

Stay strong, everyone.

From: Tom & Trudy Braidwood
Relation: Freinds and neighbors.

We met Frank and Annie twelve years ago when we purchased the cabin next to theirs. We became immediate friends. Both Frank and Annie were always there for us, with advice and a helping hand whenever we needed it. Frank was a gentle, warm and gracious neighbor. He will be deeply missed. Our sincere condolences to Annie and family.

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

Memorial Gifts

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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