Feb. 11, 1924, Kollumerzwaag, Netherlands
Jan. 12, 2013, Smithers, British Columbia
Sophie Vandermeulen was born to Gosse and Sietske Beerda, on Feb. 11, 1924 in Kollumerzwaag, Netherlands. She was the third oldest of 13 children, and is survived by three sisters, Griet, Shirley, Jenny, and one brother, Sietze.
Sophie met the love of her life at the age of 14. Harke and Sophie married on March 18, 1948. Three weeks later they immigrated to Canada. They landed in Ladner and worked for a local farmer. Sophie helped by picking potatoes, at which she excelled. The farmer’s language however was not very appropriate, so Sophie said to him, “Any more bad words and I will not pick even one more potato.” He got the point and all was well.
Harke and Sophie eventually made their way to Smithers, B.C. They heard there was another Friesian couple living in Smithers so they had to go investigate. They ended up meeting John and Evelyn Koldyk. Evelyn at first was scared, because there were two people they had never seen before standing at the front door. When she finally opened the door, the first thing Harke said was “speak Friesen, girl.” It ended up that they would be lifelong friends. They worked in the bush together; their home was a humble cabin. Sophie kept busy cooking and cleaning for all the men.
They eventually ended up farming, and decided to increase the size of their family. So the adoption process began, they adopted all five of their children, Ken, Mike, Sharon, Jackie, and Roy.
Sophie kept active and very busy with all the family and friends, and grand kids. She volunteered at the Bulkley Lodge for many years. They both really enjoyed living in town so close to everyone. Sophie enjoyed going for her walks around town, and on her treadmill as well. After the passing of her husband, Harke, and their two sons Ken and Mike. Sophie’s health slowly started to decline. When it all became too much, she moved into Silverking Court. With her time there, she enjoyed knitting; she ended up knitting a closet full of dish cloths and towels. They were enjoyed by many.
The last half year of her extraordinary life, was spent in the Bulkley Valley Regional Hospital. As her health failed, she fought right to the end. On Jan. 12, 2013 Sophie went to be with her Lord and Saviour.
Sophie is survived by: Ken(†) & Joanne, Jared & Cheri, Tyler & Jessica; Mike(†) & Judy, Jenna, Kelsey, Colton; Sharon & Al, Trenton, Kyla; Jackie & Leo, Mitchell, Darryl & Kathrine, Kyle & Emily with Avery and Keenan; Roy.
Thanks to Sheila Smith and the nurses at BVDH for their awesome support.