December 29 , 1923 - May 29, 2021
Groen. Aafke, age 97, was born in Leewarden, Netherlands to Mient Pel and Janke (Sipma) Pel. Aafke grew up in Leewarden and Sneek where her parents had retail businesses and as was the custom of the time they lived above the stores. She enjoyed competitive swimming, running, ice skating and gymnastics. After graduating from High School at 16, she stayed two years with two aunts, who felt they needed to teach her household skills. At 18, Aafke got a job a nursing home. Two years later, in spite of the war, she started her nursing training at Leewarden Deaconess Hospital, graduating in 1947.
Aafke met her future husband Jelle Groen while skating on the canals in Sneek. They had a wartime courtship and married in 1949. The couple lived in Dokkum until 1954 when they immigrated to Canada, first to Pontypool then to Orillia. Mom graciously and creatively met all the challenges of immigrant life. After experiencing the deadly St. Vitus Dance Disease at the age of ten and her five years of war, she lived her life with an attitude of gratefulness and blessing. She was so thankful that she could be a stay-at-home-mom. She loved sewing, knitting, gardening and perfecting these skills. She enjoyed being the Director of Soldier’s Memorial Hospital Candy Striper Program. She was very involved in the Christian Reformed Church. Aafke loved just having folks for tea or coffee, a tradition that continued when they moved to Tollendale Christian Homes in 1999. Through the many years she lived, she found great strength in her faith. So, in Holland Christian Home, one could often hear her singing the Dutch Hymn, "I sing because I believe.”
Aafke is survive by her greatest blessings and treasures, which she loved to remind us. Her children: Janice (Jim), Ale (Caroline), Rose, (Ed deceased), John (Janet). And her beloved grandchildren: Joel (Katie), Allen (Chalena), Jeremiah, Amber, Karla, Josh,(Esther), Rachel, Elena (James), Michael and Christopher. And great grand children: Elizabeth, Dillon, Thea, Harper and Arie, all who she prayed for daily, as well as many loved nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed.