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VAN AAKEN: Gerardus Cornelius of Bayfield

Posted By Haskett Funeral Homes On December 20, 2018 @ 12:41 PM In Obituary,Zurich | 62 Comments

VAN AAKEN: Gerardus Cornelius of Bayfield

Sept. 4, 1929-Dec.19, 2018

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of the vibrant, funny man that was our Father and Opa. On Dec.19 he passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his loving family.

He is predeceased by his cherished wife of 53 years, Catharina (Appels) Van Aaken (2010).

He had a wonderful sense of adventure and decided to emigrate from the Netherlands in 1955. After working hard for two years he returned to marry Catharina in 1957. Together they sailed on the Maasdam and settled in Sudbury.  After several years of hard work in the nickel mines and on various farms, Gerry and Catherine had enough savings to purchase their first farm in St. Augustine, Ontario in 1963. Together they raised 6 children.  In 1972 they moved from St. Augustine to a larger farm near Bayfield.  On this farm Gerry’s dreams came to fruition as he worked alongside his sons and grandsons until the age of 85.

Gerry was loved by many and in turn he loved life.  Babies, children, his family, his friends, animals and nature – all were part of him, but what made him even more special was his sense of wonder. The mischievous boy who loved to laugh and marvel at all things was still there in the 89 year old man.

“ ‘t Leven duurt maar even, de liefde blijft altijd”

‘Life is but a moment, love lasts forever’ – Gerrit Van Aaken

Gerry was the cherished father of Wilma and Carl Farnsworth, Frank and Judy Van Aaken, Harold and Marni Van Aaken, Brian and Shelley Van Aaken, Rob and Leigh Anne Van Aaken, Mary Ellen and Brian Coombs.

Beloved Opa to sixteen grandchildren and 1 great grandchild, Laura, Bryan, Sarah (Tom), Matthew, Michael (Sarah), Stephen, Amanda (Taylor), Jessica (Steve), Adrienne, Taylor, Jocelyn, Aaron, Isaac, Nigel, Keenan, Marlese and Wyatt.

Gerry is survived by 4 siblings, Cor, Trees, Leo and Toos and predeceased by 9 siblings as well as his parents Elizabeth and Sjef Van Aaken, and sadly missed by the extended Van Aaken and Appels families.

Visitation will be held at Haskett Funeral Home, 49 Goshen Street, North, ZURICH on Friday, December 21, 2018 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. The Funeral Mass will be held at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 73334 Bluewater Highway, Zurich (St. Joseph) on Saturday, December 22nd at 11 AM with Fr. Matthew George, presiding. Interment St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Joseph.  Parish prayers will take place in the funeral home on Friday afternoon at 4 PM. 

If desired, donations to Children’s Health Foundation, London would be appreciated by the family.

Condolences for the family of “VAN AAKEN: Gerardus Cornelius of Bayfield”

Condolence from Paul and Joan Ducharme on December 20th, 2018 1:01 PM

Frank and Judy, so sorry for your loss of Dad, our compassion to you and all your families connections to Dad, opa and friends affected by the loss.
Remember how small he was and a hard working man.

Condolence from Mary Ann Craner on December 20th, 2018 1:27 PM

What a beautiful memoir.
I can speak on behalf of the family how much Mom and Dad treasured your Parents’ friendship and how it gave comfort to us that they kept in touch with Dad after Mom passed.
Your Dad always looked at the good side of life.
Our deepest condolences.
Mary Ann Craner

Condolence from Jeanne on December 20th, 2018 1:53 PM

Jeanne Zandbergen – van den Boom. Wiil be condoleances bringing to de fam.

Condolence from Marie Middleton on December 20th, 2018 1:55 PM

So sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. He most certainly will be missed. He loved his family to the fullest this love made each and everyone one of them special people

Condolence from Karen and Gord Sisson on December 20th, 2018 2:10 PM

What a beautiful memoir Opa was dearly loved and such a great person it was an honour to have known him and to have shared part of his life. He will be greatly missed and we both send our sincere condolences and very sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Karen and Gord Sisson on December 20th, 2018 2:11 PM

Opa was dearly loved and such a great person it was an honour to have known him and to have shared part of his life. He will be greatly missed and we both send our sincere condolences and we are very sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Erica Castelijns on December 20th, 2018 2:22 PM

Thinking of you all. Ome Gerrit was a special uncle. Forever in my heart.

Condolence from Karen and Gord Sisson on December 20th, 2018 2:25 PM

Opa was loved greatly and a beautiful person he always took the time to include my family as part of his it was a previledge to have shared part of his life with us. He surely will be missed and we send our sincere condolences to the Van Aaken family.

Condolence from Scott & Darlene Bell on December 20th, 2018 3:52 PM

Heartfelt Sympathies being sent to the entire Famiy. He sounded like a man that was an honour to know. Sorry for your loss
Scott, Darlene & Family

Condolence from Henny Pijnenburg on December 20th, 2018 4:08 PM

We are so sorry for your lost.
I met ome Gerrit and fell in love with him immedialy.
Wish all off the van Aaken’s a lot of strength.
We think about you all.
Lots off love from,
Henny, Paul, Bo, Yara

Condolence from Sue Riley on December 20th, 2018 4:35 PM

Frank and Judy. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

Condolence from Ilse van den Boom on December 20th, 2018 4:56 PM


Condolence from Anke on December 20th, 2018 4:59 PM

Beautiful picture and a beautiful memoire of a beautiful man. We will remember a very special uncle. Wishing you lots of love! ???? Hannah, Eva, Marc & Anke Spruit-Castelijns

Condolence from Julie Kennedy on December 20th, 2018 5:02 PM

Wilma, Frank, Brian, Harold, Rob, Mary Ellen and Families

Thinking of you and sending our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Jeff, Julie, Hunter and Morgan Kennedy

Condolence from Diane MacLeod on December 20th, 2018 5:06 PM

Harold, Marni and family, so sorry to hear about Gerry. He was a wonderful, funny man who will be greatly missed. ❤️

Condolence from Ken and Elaine DeCorte on December 20th, 2018 6:09 PM

To all of the Van Aaken family…our condolences in the loss of Garrett. He sure was a happy and charismatic man who raised a wonderful family.

Condolence from Lena Sterling Van Dyk on December 20th, 2018 6:11 PM

I am so sorry for your loss.

Memories of your father, Gerry, are very dear to my heart. As a handsome, young man,Gerry cheerfully allowed me, a chatty four year old, to follow him around the farm. He was my hero when he regularly brought wheelbarrows of fresh sand for my sand box. What a wonderful man!

Gerry and Toos were dear friends to my dad and mom … I imagine their reunion in heaven has been a warm affair.

“Eternal rest grant onto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.”

Condolence from Stu & Ruth Ann Steckle on December 20th, 2018 6:27 PM

May you find comfort in remembering the guidance , strength & love & good times shared with your Father / Grandfather. God bless you .
Our caring sympathy .
Stu & Ruth Ann Steckle

Condolence from Elaine Coombs on December 20th, 2018 6:31 PM

Sympathy to you all! I loved Opa! Enjoyed his funny stories of his boyhood adventures and always enjoyed chatting to him when seeing him with El. He will be missed by all of us but I’m sure your mom was waiting for him with open arms.

Condolence from Ken and Shirley Boyce on December 20th, 2018 7:08 PM

Deepest sympathy to all of the VanAaken family .GERRY was such a quiet and kind man and will be missed by his many friends and family.

Condolence from Mike and Vicki Ducharme on December 20th, 2018 8:01 PM

To the entire VanAaken Family: Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you!! Keep all of the GREAT memories
close to your hearts…Now it is time to join together with Oma! Hugs to everyone of you!
RIP Opa you will be missed!

Mike and Vicki Ducharme and Family

Condolence from Julie Consitt on December 20th, 2018 8:38 PM

My heartfelt sympathies to all the family! Hugs to you all!

Condolence from Vince Pelss on December 20th, 2018 9:02 PM

I am sorry to hear of his passing. He was a good man. I always remembered him as smiling, friendly and hard working. I have felt the highest regard for him, his wife, and the wonderful family they raised.

Condolence from Lisa DePutter on December 20th, 2018 9:18 PM

So very sorry your loss. Thinking of you all.

Condolence from Barbara Desjardins on December 20th, 2018 9:30 PM

Remembering many fun times that our families spent together playing cards and oh the laughter. My dad and mom really thought a lot of your parents. They were all such hard workers and very frugal. They came through some tough times but always taught us by example to look at the positive and keep the faith. Thinking of those times with a smile…great memories. Hold on tight to those treasures memories.

Condolence from Shelley and Dan Merner on December 20th, 2018 9:38 PM

We are so sorry to hear of your loss. You will all have special memories to share and hold on to forever of this special Person in your lives. Thinking of all the family at this time.

Condolence from Lori Masse on December 20th, 2018 9:41 PM

VanAaken Family
Deepest Sympathy on the loss of your father.

Condolence from Cecelia Denomme on December 20th, 2018 11:33 PM

Dear family – with sadness for each of you – Always remembered with special thoughts of a ‘special couple.’
With sympathy – Cecelia and Don Denomme

Condolence from Ed and Lia de Koning. on December 21st, 2018 1:01 AM

Family van Aaken,
It was an honour to have known Uncle Gerrit. Our deepest condolances to you all.

Condolence from Dave Sisson on December 21st, 2018 7:10 AM

Opa was a great man it was an honour to have known him sending our sincere condolences our thoughts are with you always. Dave, Aimee Sisson and Kelly White.

Condolence from Joanne Middleton on December 21st, 2018 7:36 AM

Sending our condolences to the family for the loss of your Dad. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
Joanne Middleton and Scott Sutherland.

Condolence from Catharina de Haan on December 21st, 2018 8:08 AM

Marni & Harold,

My heartfelt sympathy at losing such a great Dad and Opa. There’s peace and comfort for you at this
time of Christ’s birth.


Condolence from Murray Hunking on December 21st, 2018 8:58 AM

Brian and The Vanaaken family. I’m so sorry for your loss. You are in my Thoughts and Prayers at this most difficult time .

Condolence from Sheila Corriveau on December 21st, 2018 9:35 AM

Mary-Ellen and the VanAakens, I spent a great deal of my childhood at your family farm and your dad always made me feel welcome and part of your very large family. I hope your fond memories bring you comfort during this sad time. I am thinking of you and wish I lived closer right now. Sheila XOX

Condolence from John and Mary Earle on December 21st, 2018 9:41 AM

The Van Aakens have always made us emigrants to Huron county feel at home when in the presence of any of their amazing family! This is a testament to how they were raised by such an loving and welcoming man! He will be missed but we always remember as the Rankin family sang…”we rise again in the voices of our children”. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family so freely!

Condolence from Laura Taman on December 21st, 2018 10:15 AM

Thinking of you all and sending my sympathy. He was an honourary Opa to so many.

Condolence from Leo van Aaken on December 21st, 2018 10:30 AM

Ik ben heel blij dat ik afgelopen juni nog bij onze Gerrit ben geweest. En dat we nog fijn vessems hebben kunnen buurten. Ik vond het fijn om te zien hoe goed hij verzorgd en verwend werd door jullie.
en dat wij weer zo fijn gast vrij ontvangen zijn

Heel erg bedankt dat jullie allemaal samen, hem zo liefdevol en fijn Verzorgd hebben.
Heel veel sterkte met het verlies van “onze” Gerrit.
Ome Leo en tante Anneke , hannie Martien, frank en Nelly Yvonne en Fred
En kinderen

Condolence from Lorraine Steckle on December 21st, 2018 10:55 AM

We did not know Gerrit personally but it sounds like he was a wonderful man, full of joy and life! Keep these dear memories close for as he said “Life is but a moment, but love last forever!” Love this ♥

Our sympathies,
Dave and Carol Steckle
Kevin and Lorraine Steckle

Condolence from Cheri Foskett on December 21st, 2018 11:26 AM

Wilma and Laura,
My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. May you take comfort in being surrounded by your family and your memories of your time together.

Condolence from Marcel en Jet de koning on December 21st, 2018 11:31 AM

Gecondoleerd met het grote verlies van jullie vader en opa en superopa.
Heel veel sterkte de komende tijd.!!

Condolence from Colleen, Ian, Taryn and Clay Siertsema on December 21st, 2018 11:37 AM

Our condolences on the passing of your father/opa. We are thinking of you during this difficult time. Hugs

Condolence from Jan en Anneke Castelijns-Appels on December 21st, 2018 12:35 PM

What a beautiful memoir. Our sincere condolences to the whole family. We all loved your dad and opa very much. You will miss him terrible. We wish you strenght. We will never forget him.

Condolence from Christel Hawkins on December 21st, 2018 3:18 PM

On behalf of Tom Hawkins and family we wish to extend deep and heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.
The Hawkins family.

Condolence from Jos en Susan van den Boom on December 21st, 2018 4:38 PM

Condoleances. Thinking of you all.

Condolence from Tony & Judy Hutchings on December 21st, 2018 4:39 PM

To all the Van Aaken Family
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
May you find comfort in your loving memories!

Condolence from John & Arlene Berendsen on December 21st, 2018 9:30 PM

Sorry to hear of your loss….Thinking of you at this time .. John Berendsen & Family

Condolence from Rick & Barb Ingram on December 21st, 2018 10:10 PM

So sorry to hear of the passing of your father. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Winnie Darnbrough on December 21st, 2018 10:23 PM

Mary Ellen and families..
Sorrry for your loss.. I remember your Fathers smile on George St.
Winnie and Gary

Condolence from Peter and Anne Knittle on December 22nd, 2018 8:57 AM

Rob, Leigh Anne and the VanAaken Family,

Please accept our deepest condolences at the passing of your beloved father.

Condolence from Karen Marshall and Mike Boucher on December 22nd, 2018 9:11 AM

Although your sorrow is deep, Oma and Opa are at last reunited leaving behind a strong and beautiful family. Opa was an amazing man and it was a true honour to have known him.

Condolence from Robert and Judith McCartney on December 22nd, 2018 9:31 AM

We are so saddened by the news of the passing of your Dad and Oba. Our deepest condolences to all who loved him.

Condolence from Dave, Shelly & Rachelle Keys on December 22nd, 2018 9:58 AM

Sorry to hear of the passing of Gerry. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire VanAaken family at this difficult time.

Condolence from Paul and Henriette Bertens on December 22nd, 2018 10:27 AM

Our deepest condolences to the Van Aaken Family.
Paul and Henriette Bertens

Condolence from Wayne & Julie Pryce on December 22nd, 2018 11:15 AM

Our Thoughts are with all of you, our sincere sympathy

Condolence from Joanne Hickey on December 22nd, 2018 8:28 PM

My deepest sympathy to the family. I too remember a wonderful couple and beautiful smiles.

Condolence from Randy and Vicki Geoffrey on December 23rd, 2018 7:12 AM

Dear Frank, Judy and Van Aaken family sending heartfelt sympathy to all of you, his smile tells it all. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Erik & José de Koning on December 23rd, 2018 9:11 AM

Our deepest condolences to the Van Aaken Family.
It was an honor to meet him in 2014 and to spend two weeks together.
We wish you all the strength you need in these difficult times.

Erik, José, Jamie & Niels de Koning

Condolence from Ron & Peggy Keys on December 23rd, 2018 1:03 PM

So sorry to hear of your loss. Our sincere sympathy

Condolence from Delores vanOsch on December 23rd, 2018 1:09 PM

My deepest sympathyto the vanAken family .
May He rest in peace
Delores vanOsch Goderich

Condolence from Wayne Hopper on December 24th, 2018 6:53 AM

Brian and family –

Our condolences to you and your family.

Wayne and Linda Hopper

Condolence from MJ Andreola (Pennings) and Tom Johnston on December 27th, 2018 1:02 PM

My sincere condolences to the whole Van Aaken Family. Such great memories with your mom and dad playing cards at our home farm. His happiness showed with all your love and support you gave as a family. Rest in Peace

Condolence from Paulus & Brittany Rynen on December 27th, 2018 3:15 PM

Frank, Judy and family,

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father, my thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

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