JOHN VANDER HEYDEN, beloved husband of Mary Vander Heyden, passed away peacefully at the Chinook Regional Hospital on Monday, February 12, 2018 at the age of 85 years.
John was born September 12, 1932 in Gemert, Netherlands. The second son of Leonardus and Hendrica van der Heijden, John was raised on a farm in Holland with his six brothers and three sisters. Of these, he is predeceased by his parents, his brothers Leo, Piet, and Martien, and his sisters Diny and Christine, whose spouses Tiny, Leentje, Wim, and Theo, are still with us. He is survived by his brothers Henk (Trude), Anton (Annie), and Gerard (Elly) and his sister Marie.
In 1957, along with many other adventurous young bachelors from Holland, John went by boat to immigrate to Canada to settle in southern Alberta’s farming community. In 1959, he returned to Holland to marry and bring back his loving wife, Maria Loman.
In Picture Butte, John and Mary bought a farm and together they raised six children. John is survived by his wife, Mary, his sons Peter (Manon), John (Brenda) and Robert (Angie); his daughters Marlene (Brad) Mariette (Dave) and Pauline Simpson; 20 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, with his family continuing to grow in size...
John was always very active in community building. John became a passionate supporter of the beef livestock industry and was a delegate on the Alberta Cattle Commission for over ten years. He was a founding member of the North County Interfaith Food Bank. John was instrumental in fundraising to build the North County Recreation Complex and with his playful sense of humour he secretly built a family of log people that quietly appeared in front of the Rec Center, one by one in the year 2000 and which for a long time remained a mystery as Picture Butte’s Millennial Family. John was the only Albertan to ever receive a license from the Alberta Government to capture red squirrels and he built large cages for them which he installed at various seniors centres including the Piyami Lodge, all for research into recreational therapy.
As a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, John was one of several people who received the International Patriot Award for his 1995 work to honour the Canadian Soldiers who helped liberate the Netherlands in World War II, a war he lived through as a young boy. In 2006, the Picture Butte Chamber of Commerce presented John with the Murray Kane Achievement Award, an award the Town of Picture Butte presents annually to a deserving resident to recognize their achievements and contribution to the community.
John Vander Heyden Sr. is now in our Lord’s hands and is dearly missed and forever remembered by his family and friends.
A Prayer Service will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2800 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 7:00 P.M.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at ST. MARTHA'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, 355 Columbia Blvd. West, Lethbridge, AB, on Friday, February 16, 2018 at 10:30 A.M. with Father Roque Pereira celebrating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the North County Interfaith Food Bank, 326 Highway Avenue, Picture Butte, AB, T0K 1V0.
To send a condolence, please visit www.cornerstonefuneralhome.com
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