On Friday, November 13, 2015, Hitje (Hetty) Bylsma Abma, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister, passed away peacefully at the age of 88 at Cheam Village in Agassiz, BC. Hitje has been looking forward to living with her Lord and Saviour and meeting up with her husband in glory for a number of years.
Hitje was born in Berlikum, Friesland (the Netherlands) in 1927. In 1950, Hitje married Freerk (Fred) Abma, and together they had 7 children. In 1959, Hitje and Fred immigrated to Canada with 5 children. They first landed in Montreal, then later took a train to BC where for a short time they lived in Sardis, then moved to Agassiz, working first for Siegfried Bartel, then buying a farm of their own on Mountain View Rd in Agassiz. Their youngest 2 children were born after they settled into the routines of their own farm. After retiring from the farm, Hitje and Fred moved to a small acreage in Agassiz where they tended gardens and enjoyed their own private bird sanctuary. From there they moved into a subdivision in Agassiz, enjoying smaller gardens to tend, the neighbours, and new friends. One year after Fred passed away, Hitje made a move to Cascade Court in Abbotsford where she lived for 12 years. In July of this year Hitje entered the hospital, and stayed there up until her last week, which was spent at Cheam Village, back in Agassiz.
Hitje and Fred were founding members of the Agassiz Christian Reformed Church as well as the Agassiz Christian School. Church was an important part of Hitje's life. She enjoyed the services as well as the fellowship of fellow worshipers.
Besides being busy raising 7 children, Hitje has done janitorial work, been a seamstress, doing everything from hemming a pair of pants to sewing dresses for wedding parties. She also had a knack with flowers, and has arranged flowers for weddings as well as graduations. Hitje enjoyed listening to music, in particular to her kids practicing which ever instrument they were learning on. Hitje hosted many a people for meals at the farm house…from family friends, to kids’ friends, to strangers. Many afghans and doilies were crocheted, socks and sweaters knitted, and table runners and tree skirts quilted. Her home baked cookies seemed to show up at many family gatherings. Annual trips to Arizona took up Hitje and Fred’s later winter months, where they met new and meaningful friends, enjoyed the warmth of the sun, learned how make ornaments (which she later taught to her grandchildren), took up stain glass crafting, weaved baskets, and painted ceramics. Over the last 10 years, Hitje enjoyed spending time on the lake with family, celebrating her birthdays there. In Hitje's last 12 years in Abbotsford, she had made many new friends, enjoying lunches out, seniors' conferences, and visits to garden centers.
Hitje is predeceased by her husband Fred (2002), her sons Mike (1973) and Wilbern (2011), her granddaughter Lori Ann (1984) her parents, and 2 brothers.
Surviving family members are: Siblings: Jenny (John) deVries, Wiep Bylsma, (Betty) Bylsma, (Griet) Bylsma, Children: John (Melodi) Abma, Romy (Doug) Dokter, Bonnie (Heine) VanderVeen, (Marie) Abma, Sophia (Auke) Feenstra, Rick (Joyce) Abma, Grandchildren: Irene (Derrick) Harsch, Fred Abma, Daphne (John) Dokter Bungart, Brittany (Nathan) Johnson, Travis (Danielle) Dokter, Helena (Ian) Kwantes, Theresa (Roger) teVelde, Karen (Brent) Notenbomer, Thomas VanderVeen, Karl (Rochelle) Abma, Mike Abma, Bobby (Jessica) Abma, Tracy (Kim) Shank, Matthew (Heather) Feenstra, Amy Feenstra, Trisha Feenstra, Elyse Abma, Mikaela Abma, Jonah Abma, Kiara Abma, Great Grandchildren: Emma & Stephen Harsch, Walter & Charles Bungart, Isaac & baby (May’16) Dokter, Rory, Stevie, Breanna, Mara, Elliott, Ethan, & Sophie Kwantes, Kale & Maeve teVelde, Eva, Zac & Aria Notembomer, Skyler & Kacey Abma, Alexia, Jazmin & Gavin Abma, Brooke & Logan Abma, Gunner Shank.
A service of celebration will be held on Thursday, November 19. There will be a viewing at the graveside at Valley View cemetery in Agassiz at 12:45 pm. The graveside ceremony will follow at 1:30 pm, and the celebration of life service will be held at the Christian Reformed Church (7452 Morrow Rd) in Agassiz at 2:30 pm with refreshments to follow.
The family requests that no flowers be sent. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to “Life’s Second Chances Women’s Ministry” (32288 S Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC V2T 1W9) a ministry for abused and addicted women, a ministry dear to Hitje’s heart.
You are invited to leave a message of condolence for the family.
Beste familie, gecondoleerd met het verlies van jullie moeder, schoonmoeder, oma en overgrootmoeder. Mijn vader heeft goede herinneringen aan Hitje, als jonge mensen kwamen ze elkaar regelmatig tegen, toen de familie in Berlikum kwamen wonen, vader was familie. Toen ze in Nederland op familiebezoek waren kwamen ze altijd langs bij mijn ouders. Van Wiep Bijlsma hoorden we dat Hitje was overleden. Wij wensen de familie heel veel sterkte en kracht toe voor de toekomst. met een hartelijke groet uit Heteren van de familie Piet Jansma.
To all of you my sincere sympathy with the loss of your mother and grandmother. We have shared many good times when our husbands were still with us and in retirement state, playing games, serious talks, and lots of laughs and our outings together, good memories. But now for the three of us it is future glory and peace. I am only 3 weeks younger then your mom. Wonder when the Lord calls me. I am glad I saw Hitje on Wednesday afternoon. There was an urgency to see her and she was very clear. My prayers are with you all in this time. From your mom's old friend, Tina TeBrinke.
Hallo familie Abma, Gecondoleerd met het overlijden van jullie moeder, schoonmoeder en oma. Wij, als kinderen van Wiebe en Janneke, hebben goede herinneringen aan zowel jullie vader, Oom Freerk, als aan jullie moeder Tante Hitje. Onze moeder, Janneke Bosma-Abma, kan niet veel meer vertellen; ze is dementerend en woont sinds mei 2015 in een instelling voor dementerenden. Wij wensen jullie als familie heel veel sterkte toe met dit verlies. Hartelijke groeten van Janneke Bosma en kinderen.
Hi Abma Family, When Harold was doing Pastoral Care he visited Hetty regularly, and often I went with him because she was part of the Bible Study I led . She was a great story teller, her accent and humour enhanced all of her stories. I am guessing that no one says your names the way your Mom did. We heard your names often because she loved you all and wanted us to know about you. She floored us when she brought out her lap top and showed us all the pictures and told us how she communicated with her grandchildren via the web. Many of her stories centered around the family outings she so looked forward to your family gatherings in Chase. Once she was not feeling that well and as we visited she was debating with herself whether to go or not to go. We chuckled when Rick said Beppe’s blood pressure spiked because she got so excited at games. Even telling us about it she got excited. She was proud of all the accomplishment of her grand children. We heard about the backhoe operator.etc. etc. Amy graduated from TWU at the same time as our oldest grandson; we shared the experience of that ceremony. She was often in pain and then the visits were short with an emphasis on prayer. In her pain she often spoke of her caring family! We witnessed that firsthand when we visited her at the Feenstra home, and we have heard of your care for her for the last months. We miss her too. In Christian Love, Dena (Harold) De Jong
Beppe, you will be greatly missed. You were an amazing woman. We love you.
I will miss Mom so much. Mom was an awesome role model and prayer warrior and it would be my honor to "be just like my Mom" I enjoyed every minute that I was blest to have spent with her this summer at the hospital. A lady on the plane next to me told me it was a GIFT, to know that our Mom was coming to the end of her life here on earth. And what a wonderful way to see the time spent together, a gift from our faithful God. We will meet again at Jesus feet! love doug and romy
We have known Hetty since she became a member of Living Hope CRC in Abbotsford and came to know her really well after we began our pastoral ministry to seniors in our church in June 2014. We always appreciated her warm hospitality and her unwavering trust in the Lord. Even during her lengthy stay in the Abbotsford Hospital her faith was strong and towards the end she strongly desired to be with her Lord which He has now granted to her. Our compliments to her family, especially Bonnie and Sophia, for so faithfully being at Hetty's bedside every day while she was in the hospital. We extend our sympathy to the family and praise God with them that she is now safely Home.
We love you Beppe, you truly were a wonderful woman. Your unwavering Faith in our Lord and saviour was truly genuine. Your relentless pursuit to serve God will be lived on through your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We will see you again soon. Love Matthew and Heather.