VERDONK, Betty. April 10th, 2014. Alice Elizabeth Brown was born in Vancouver, BC during a war-time blackout on December 11, 1941 to Mary Ross (Sue) Harvie and Claude John Angus Brown, who was serving in the Royal Canadian navy.
After release from service, “Brownie” joined Trans Mountain Pipeline, and the family lived in Edmonton, Edson, Stony Plain, and Jasper before settling in Abbotsford. Betty learned from these moves to love mountains with fierce weather, close to prairies, preferably with a river running through them; and when she arrived in Abbotsford in 1959 she found Sumas Prairie, which to her was “absolute heaven”. After graduating from Abbotsford Senior High School, she took secretarial training at Vancouver Vocational Institute, then joined BC’s Department of Social Welfare and subsequently the Royal Bank. On September 7th, 1963 she married Jim Verdonk, a Sumas Prairie dairy farmer from a large Dutch family. She was advised to “never learn to milk a cow; to learn to cook, to make cheese, and to grow vegetables”. She did. When Jim moved to Mission to start a panir plant, Betty joined the RCMP’s Victims Services program as a volunteer. Her enthusiasm for the Women’s Institute, Victims Services, her Sumas Prairie Wives Luncheon Club, and the wild weather of Sumas Prairie never died.
She was predeceased by her husband Jim, and is survived by her sister Claudia of Abbotsford, her son David of Ridgecrest Dairies of Mission; and her son Steven of Canal Farms of Abbotsford, his wife Wendy Smorenburg Verdonk, and granddaughter Katelyn Daisy Mary Verdonk. Betty’s last wish was to die surrounded by laughter and to not be in pain. The staff and volunteers of Christine Morrison Hospice made her last wish come true and her family sends their deepest thanks. Betty asked for a special thank you to the executive committee of the HotDog Club, Janet and Jeff Bryan.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Christine Morrison Hospice. A celebration of Betty’s life will be held at the Rancho, 35110 DeLair Road on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014.