Grietje Hansma


A resident of the Hartford Retirement Home, Morrisburg, for the past six years, Grietje Hansma (nee Barels) passed away at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.  She was 96.

Grietje was born in Holland, on February 24, 1916, to her parents Hendrick and Grietje Barels (nee Rebbers). She completed elementary school and then stayed home to help care for her younger siblings and work on the family farm. 

She grew into a young woman who loved the farm and who loved music and dancing. In her early 20’s, she contracted and miraculously survived diphtheria.

On May 1st, 1941, Grietje married her former neighbour Obele Hansma and together they had five sons Henry, Roy and Oebele in Holland, and Garth and Toney in Canada.  

Together with her husband’s family, Obele and Grietje worked the Hansma farm in Spier for 11 years before deciding to expand their own horizons in Canada. 

In 1952, Grietje, Obele and their three sons boarded the S.S. Veendaam with all their belongings to move to Prescott, Ontario. There they worked for nearly three years before purchasing Erwin Haggerty’s farm in Toyes Hill. where they moved with their four sons on the coldest day of 1955. 

It was here that they became members of the United Church of Canada in Winchester Springs, and remained members for the rest of their lives. They proudly became Canadian citizens in 1959. 

Obele and Grietje remained on the farm until their semi-retirement in 1973, when Winchester came to be their new home. 

Part-time jobs at the United Church and then at Ault’s Foods kept them just busy enough until full-time retirement in 1983. Grietje remained in her home in Winchester until 2006, when she moved to the Hartford Retirement Home.

Grietje was a devoted wife and a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. 

Grietje is survived by her children Henry (Thelma) of Morrisburg, Roy (Sharon) of Winchester, Oebele (Janice) of Morrisburg and Garth (Ginette) of Toyes Hill.  

She was dear sister of Kiny Beekelaar and Ubelina Bies, both of Holland.  

Grietje will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Dean (Marilyn), Rick (Sarah), Shelley (Tim), Tracey (Marc), Tania (Terry), Phillip, Melanie and by great-grandchildren Chase, Ty, Tyler, Brittany, Tony, Ariabella, Brianna and Kiahna. 

Also survived by nieces and nephews.  

She was predeceased by her husband Obele, her son Toney, her twin infant sisters Tjoukina and Hillegina Barels, her sister Rika Barels, and her brothers Roelof, Teunis, Wilte and Arend Barels.     

Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Friday from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until time of the funeral service at 11 a.m.

The funeral service was conducted by Rev. Arlyce Schiebout.  

Interment followed at Maple Ridge Cemetery, Chesterville.  Pallbearers were Dean Hansma, Rick Hansma, Tania Tapley, Melanie Hansma, Chase Beaudry and Ty Beaudry.  

Donations to Winchester Hospital would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.  Online condolences may be made at


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