In Memory Of

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Gerritt OpdenDries

Aug 11, 1929 - Dec 25, 2020

Service

  A private family service was held for Gerritt at the Covenant Christian Reformed Church with interment at the Pine Grove Cemetery.

Interment

Pine Grove Cemetery, Rocky Mountain House

Notice

The family would like to express sincere gratitude to the staff of the Good Samaritan Clearwater for their loving care, going beyond the call of duty to show love to our father in times when we could not physically be there ourselves.

Obituary

Gerrit OpdenDries went to be with his loving Lord and Saviour early Christmas morning at the age of 91.

Gerrit was born to Derk and Geertje OpdenDries on August 11, 1929 in Nijverdal, the Netherlands. He was the 6th child of 10 children. Life with 10 children (8 boys and 2 girls) was exciting enough and then war hit when Holland was invaded in 1940. Gerrit had many stories with his older brothers being members of the Resistance Movement.

In 1948 Gerrit’s family moved to Canada and started life in Iron Springs, eventually moving to Rocky. Meeting in Holland, Gerrit continued a long distance courtship with Diny Bannink who followed his example and boarded a ship and sailed alone from the Netherlands to Canada in 1952. On May 13, 1954 they were married, 66 years ago. On their wedding day, the bridge washed out, the minister wasn’t able to attend and Diny’s flowers didn’t either. From the start, they adjusted and moved on in faith. They grew their family unit, adding six children over the years, followed by in-laws, 22 grandchildren and their families including 30 great-grandchildren to date.

Gerrit loved to try his hand at all sorts of things with inventions and improvements to pretty much anything. He loved to work with wood – he was always building something. He started his career as an apprentice carpenter, having earned his certificate in Holland. When he came to Canada, he challenged it and passed with flying colours. Gerrit enjoyed working for several different contractors before his 26-year career with Rocky School Division.

Gerrit was involved in his community. He was an active church member, singing in the choir, helping kids in the community, drumming in the local marching band and volunteering as a fire fighter for over 25 years. All with a twinkle in his eye.

Gerrit was not one to sit still. He and Diny loved visiting and helping their kids and their expanding families, camping, and volunteering with Disaster Relief Services.

One of Gerrit’s favorite sayings was “nothing is impossible”. He proved this over and over, most especially over this past year, when as family we were called to say our final goodbyes on 3 different occasions.

God gave the gift of a humble, kind and loving husband, father, and Opa. God also gave Gerrit the most precious Christmas gift. Early Christmas morning, God gently and peacefully called Gerrit home.

Gerrit leaves to mourn his wife of 66 years, Diny; his children, John (Debra), Dick (Lori), Bettie (Gordon), Ann (John), Margo (Jim), Carolyn (Fred); his 22 grandchildren and their families including 30 great-grandchildren. Also to cherish Gerrit’s memory are his brothers, Dick and Johan, and his sister Gertie as well as a large extended family. Gerrit was predeceased by both his parents and his siblings: Jan, George, Henk, Hennie, Adolf and Bert.

The family would like to express sincere gratitude to the staff of the Good Samaritan Clearwater for their loving care, going beyond the call of duty to show love to our father in times when we could not physically be there ourselves.

A private family service was held for Gerritt at the Covenant Christian Reformed Church with interment at the Pine Grove Cemetery.

Rocky and Sylvan Lake Funeral Homes and Crematorium, your Golden Rule Funeral Homes, entrusted with the arrangements, 403 845 2626

Condolences

Derk and Darlene Opdendries:

Dear Tante Diny and Family,
We send our deepest sympathy to each one of you as you grieve individually and together. We so enjoyed Uncle Gerrit for his kind gentle demeaner and the mischievous twinkle in his eye. We had fun whenever we visited with him and Tante Diny and he had the sweetest laugh, which I can still hear. Derk remembers how he was always ready to help out with the needs of his family and in his community. He was so talented and gifted in many ways, which always kept him busy.
He is rejoicing and praising God beyond our imagining, with no more physical frailties, tears, or worries of any kind. But oh, how he will be greatly missed on this earth. He has run his race well and is now safe in the arms of Jesus in his heavenly home.

Psalm 116:15 says: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants."
We have hope in that truth and one day we will meet again.
Much love from Derk and myself .

Sharon Brunner (OpdenDries):

Dear Tante Diny and cousins, as well as the siblings and many others who will also grieve,
My deepest condolences as you acknowledge the loss of your precious and upstanding husband, father, Opa, and brother, among the many other roles Oom Gerrit represented....
As an Uncle, Gerrit always sparkled with life and good energy, the kind that comes from knowing your one true Savior, and it was so evident in all of his ways. May God now comfort all of you as you relinquish your beloved one back to his Father , until you will once again meet .

Wilfred Opden Dries:

I was saddened with the news of Uncle Gerritt's passing and yet joyful, knowing he is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus and what better than when we celebrate His birth. As written in the above condolences I must agree that he had a good and blessed life. I enjoyed the short visits that we had with him and Tante Diny, especially when the Opden Dries family would gather together. I passed on the news of Uncle Gerritt's passing to my mom, who was quite concerned on how she would get to Rocky for the service. I explained that we would not be able to go because of the pandemic, she doesn't understand. I pray that Tante Diny and children and all that are related, are at peace and have the comfort of sharing in the faith that Uncle Gerritt taught.

Phil Geusebroek:

My condolences to you and your family Carolyn. I know it has been a difficult journey and I am glad to hear that he is at rest with our Lord and Saviour. May God bless you and your family as you mourn the loss of your Father.

Eileen Turner:

Carolyn, my sincere condolences to you and your entire family.
Prayers up to everyone experiencing this loss.

Barrie Findlater:

As Superintendent of Schools from 1983 to 1990 I met with Gerritt almost every day to discuss the never ending requests from schools he received as our Maintenance Director. He was always caught between a genuine desire to do more things for students and teachers and the limits of time, budget and resources. Despite all these pressures Gerritt’s smile was infectious, his manner was respectful, his work ethic like all OpdenDries’ was outstanding and his loyalty was never in question. Gerritt helped all of us each and every day. Rest In Peace.

Henk and Karin Nijenhuis:

Our condolences to the whole family, So hard to have to say goodbye to your loved one, in these strange times. It must be so difficult when you can not all be together, and grieve together as a family.
I felt always a certain connection with him, he reminded me so much of my own dad. Gerrit and Diny even visited my parents once back in Holland. Henk has only great things to say about him and uncle John. There are also some funny stories. It is really to bad that now because of the Corona virus there can not be a funeral. So many people would have come to pay their respect, and tell their stories. He was a kind, man, a life well lived. He will be missed. But his spirit will pass on in his kids and grandchildren.

Johanna Huget:

My deepest sympathies to all of you. There are many memories from all the years that we lived close by. Oom Gerrit was always ready to help with all sorts of things and always had a ready smile. I am sure that he is singing with the angels in heaven and maybe even having a "chin wag" with my Dad (Klaas Kikstra).

Dale & Cynthia Townsend:

Our sincere condolences goes to Tante Diny, and the rest of your family. I know losing a father hurts. But we are comforted knowing he’s in a much better place.
(((Hugs))) to you all!
Much love, Dale & Cynthia Townsend

Duane Dobson:

So sad to hear of Gerry’s passing. I have fond memories of him. I often think of the good times at family Christmas dinners at Pioneer. He was always quite flexible about the menu, but emphatic about no corn!!!

Tim and Carolyn Clow:

Please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of your dad. He willa lways be remembered as someone who loved Jesus, was hard-working, honest and repectable man. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

Lynn Vant Bosch:

Sending our condolences. Prayers are with you.

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