When Aarnout went to school he had to take a ferry, and the long pier was so dangerous that school was cancelled whenever there was frost. In 1956 he went to the ‘Middlebaare Landbouw School’, the agricultural secondary school, and lived with his widowed Opa for two winters, a time he valued highly. In 1958, his family moved to the newly reclaimed Noord Oost Polder, but the next year he returned to Rozenburg and asked Alida Roorda to be his girlfriend. They were engaged in December 1960.
From October 1959 to the spring of 1961, Aarnout served in the military as a paramedic, working in both the Netherlands and France. Letters flew back and forth between the couple. There was a housing shortage, but early in 1964 Aarnout and Ali were finally able to find a house in Nagele, close to the farm where Aarnout worked with his dad. They were married February 26, 1964, and Nancy, Sylvia, and Annet were born in this house.
As Aarnout wrote in Alida’s obituary just a few months ago,
In the meantime we were looking for a farm to start on our own but that was next to impossible. Then the thinking to emigrate came. After many preparations we could immigrate to Chatham, Ontario, Canada…. We lived and worked on a farm close to Chatham with much pleasure. We made many friends and had Oom Piet and Tante Jo who sponsored our immigration a half hour drive away.
But to start on our own was not easy, also there. Should we go to Manitoba? Another 2000 km west? We went. Everyone and everything in a U-Haul truck. Art started with working for farmers who were growing potatoes. We lived on a farm that belonged to one of the farmers he worked for. And so we settled there in April 1969 and we live there still. The log house was cozy and warm. Ali had a garden of veggies and … flowers. Ali’s delight.
We had a dog and cats and later cows and hogs. In May 1970 the place came up for sale! And our bid was accepted and we became farmers! Here Josh, Judith and Elsa were born. Here we grew up as parents and children, as family! We received many blessings from the Lord!
Aarnout, or Art, loved his family. He also had room in his heart for many friends and neighbors and brothers and sisters in the Lord. He served in church, school, and agricultural organizations. After retiring, he and Alida, or Alice, travelled to visit children and grandchildren as well as family and friends in Canada, the US, the Netherlands, and South Africa.
When Alice was diagnosed with dementia, Art, with the help of daughter Elsa, took care of her at home for many years.
Art read a great variety of books and shared his love for learning with his children, grandchildren, and friends. Many a grandchild loves history thanks to Opa’s inspiration. Many emails passed back and forth between him and his brothers and cousins about the history of Rozenburg and Zeeland during and after the war. Alice was not able to share in this passion, but even toward the end of her life her gentle smile and grateful attitude was a blessing.
Alice went to be with the Lord June 5, 2021. A few months later Art travelled to Ontario and BC to visit the children and grandchildren he had not been able to visit while he was caring for her. Then, just four months after Alice’s funeral, the Lord called him home, too. He had been trying to understand how to serve his heavenly Father in his new situation but that is no longer necessary. He trusted in the Lord who was near to him in his short illness and now his work here, as a good and faithful servant of God, is finished.
We thank the Lord for the dear and godly father he gave us. To God be praise and adoration!
Memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Food Grains Bank.