Eleonora (Nora) Higginson
Nora Higginson went to be with Jesus on March 12, 2011. She was born Eleonora Johanna Appelman on March 5, 1925 in Nieuw Vennep, a small village in the Netherlands between Amsterdam and Harlem. She was the third daughter of Theodorus and Maria Appelman who both died before she was three. Nora was raised by an Uncle and Aunt, Simon and Anne Appelman (who had one other daughter, Grete); her new parents loved her as their own, and she was always very grateful to them for their kindness.
After WWII Nora answered an ad to work on a dairy farm in Lancashire, England. Her previous work experiences as a worker in a butchershop, a nanny and a maid helped her to get the job. There’s a funny story of how she met Wilfrid Higginson, her future husband. She was just finishing scrubbing the floors of her employer’s house on her hands and knees (because the Bishop was coming to visit) when her boss and Wilf, a local farm manager, came walking through with their barn boots on. His first experience with her was a good scolding, most likely in Dutch, since English was very new to her. She must have impressed him as a woman with spirit!
After a 6 month courtship, Wilf and Nora were married in 1948. Wilf’s dream was to immigrate to Canada, and Nora had to agree to this before they married. In 1952 they sailed to Halifax with their two sons. They journeyed across Canada by train to a farm in Barrier, B.C., where they lived briefly before moving to Telkwa and then settling near Smithers. They began Floridale Farms and Greenhouses and later opened Floridale Flower Shop in town. Seven more children were born in the Bulkley Valley. Nora and Wilf became part of the St. Joseph’s Church community, and Nora enjoyed being a member of the Catholic Women’s League.
Nora was clever and worked very hard to help raise their large family. Always industrious, she sewed the family’s clothes, processed the summer’s fruits and vegetables, and made do very well with whatever they had. She worked beside Wilf and the children in the gardens, greenhouses and flower shop with an attitude of dedication and purpose. She retired from the flower shop in 1986, and in 1994 they moved to their house in town, across from St. Joseph’s, where there was a warm welcome to all who came by.
Even when she had very little, Nora was committed to giving wherever she saw a need; throughout her lifetime she was always generous with her time and resources. She was a true friend to many!
Nora is survived by her children John (Lynn), Simon (Ramona), Anne (Henry Adema), Teresa (Mike Davis), Mary (John deWit), Joe (Gayle), Gordon (Cathy), 27 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and her sisters Afra (Spain) and Grete (Netherlands). She was predeceased by Wilf (in 2006), her sister Antonia, daughters Cathy and Margaret, foster son Stan, daughter-in-law Susanne and grandson Russell.