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December 20, 1932 - May 9, 2024

In Loving Memory ~

Tommy Vanderveen, peacefully passed away on May 9, 2024, at the age of 91 in Abbotsford, BC. He was born to Jantje (Plantinga) and Anne Tamme Vanderveen in Wouterswoude, Friesland, Holland.

After completing his education and serving in the Dutch Army, Tommy embarked on a journey to Canada in the spring of 1954. Arriving in Halifax on the SS Groote Beer, he then took a 100-hour train ride to Vancouver, BC, carrying with him only $40, a suitcase, a guitar, and a tablecloth which served as a blanket.

With dreams of the great Canadian opportunity, Tommy embraced the challenges and adventures that lay ahead.

Tommy was preceded in death by his beloved wife and sweetheart of 65 years, Fay, his daughter Susie, cherished brothers Jerry and Borrie, and sisters Boukje and Janke. He is survived by his children Gerri (Doug), Cindy, Allen Tom, Trevor, and Jeffrey, along with grandchildren Matthew (Janelle), Carly, Curtis (Kristen), Ted (Julie), and Alexis (Bruce), as well as great-grandchildren Ember, Charlotte, Easton, Ava, Ella, Amelia, Eleanor, and Allen. He will also be dearly missed by his sister Annie, sisters-in-law Shirley and Jelske, as well as family from Holland, Abbotsford and Matsqui.

In 1957, Tommy married Fay Sinnema, and they established Abbotsford as their home with their six children, together they managed a successful dairy operation. Tommy's passion for buying, selling, and transporting dairy cattle led him to export dairy stock to Whatcom County, Washington in the 1970s.

The iconic naming of their barns, such as the The Mootel and the Udder Barn, brought joy and laughter to passersby for decades.

Tommy and Fay embodied the spirit of hard work and joyous living. In the early years on Sumas Prairie they found delight in Saturday night dances and house parties, often extending into the early hours of the morning, only to rise to milk the cows together. Fishing and travel were among their shared passions, creating cherished memories to carry them through their sunset years.

A proud Canadian with deep roots in Friesland, Tommy never ceased to contribute to his new homeland while honouring his heritage. His numerous trips back to Holland, including his final visit in the summer of 2023, were filled with joyous reunions and heartfelt reminiscences.

Tommy Vanderveen was a man of pride, ambition, friendliness, outgoing nature, and boundless curiosity. He had a genuine interest in hearing the stories of others, always with a warm smile and open heart.

A celebration of Tommy's life will take place on Friday, June 7, at 1:00 pm at The Hole in the Wall, located at 3807 Eldridge Road, Abbotsford.

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Friday, June 7, 2024
1:00 AM
The Hole in the Wall 3807 Eldridge Road, Abbotsford

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