It is with great sorrow that we announce that Sylvia Christina Vandenbos (nee Berends) passed away in the Trail Hospital on November 22nd, just eight months short of her 50th wedding anniversary. She was very proud of her marriage and her family (especially her grandchildren), and considered herself blessed in life. Sylvia was also the oldest of eleven siblings, and she adored being the mother hen of the group, and in recent years, had taken to calling herself ‘Numero Uno’ in all her dealings with her family. She had a lively sense of humour, and laughter was heard frequently by her bedside in the last weeks of her life.
Sylvia was born in Bondowoso, Indonesia in January 1942 to Herman and Rena Berends. Along with her mother and two younger siblings, she spent her early life in an internment camp run by the Japanese. Then, in 1956, her family had to flee Indonesia for Holland, managing to travel by Egypt in the midst of the Suez Canal Crisis. ’
Her family settled down in Almelo in the southern part of the Netherlands, and she completed her high school there. She always had a formidable will and intrepid spirit, and she left home to work as a nanny in Germany before returning to complete a teaching diploma. Sylvia loved teaching, and had many fond memories of her elementary school teaching days.
In 1966, she and her younger sister, Hedy, emigrated to Canada. It was soon after she arrived in Calgary that she met Cornelis Vandenbos, another recent arrival, at a church youth group. Cor and Sylvia were married in August of 1967 and quickly started their own family. In 1970, the rest of Sylvia’s family arrived in Canada.
Throughout her life, Sylvia’s great loves were children, art, and travel. She worked as an early childhood educator (Kelowna), as a teacher’s aide (Calgary) and most importantly to her, as a very involved parent. Later in life, she and Cor owned and managed motels in Lytton and New Denver.
Sylvia never tired of learning, attending college for art and early childhood education in Kelowna. Throughout her life, she took as many creative courses as she could manage. Sylvia loved knitting, quilting and painting, and her work was as vivid as her personality.
Sylvia is survived by her beloved husband, Cor, her son Jan (Jennifer) in Seattle, Wa., her daughter Rena (Brendan) in Shoreacres, and her two grandchildren (Adriana and John). She also leaves behind eight of her siblings, George Berends (Trudy), Raymond Berends, Ann Usciscki (Doug), Robert Berends (Anita), Jim Berends (Maggie), Grace Biccum, Eugene Berends and Diane Wittwer (Andre). She was predeceased by her parents, her sister Hedy and brother Martin.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital for their incredibly compassionate care in the last two weeks of Sylvia’s life. Thank you to Dr. Ankenbauer, Dr. Sithembu and Dr. Malpass and the chemotherapy nurses (Kootenay Lake Hospital) for their care. Thank you relatives, friends and neighbors for all of the phone calls, messages, flowers, food, cards, prayers, words of sympathy and support, memories shared, offers of help, donations and to everyone who came to visit.
A Celebration of Sylvia’s Life is being organized for December 17th in her home. We will be sharing memories, photos, some examples of her art work and hopefully lots of laughter as we remember Sylvia. For those requiring directions please contact Rena Vandenbos at 250 359 5905 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the interim – in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Canadian Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.ca/en/donate/?region=bc or The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Health Foundation: http://kbrhhealthfoundation.ca/dotnetnuke/
Sylvia will be missed.