September 6, 1920 — October 30, 2018
I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Ps 121 1,2
Petronella Maat went peacefully to be with her Lord and Saviour on October 30, 2018. Nel is lovingly remembered as Mom, Oma and Grandma by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Derk and Annita Maat, Derek and Heather (Sarah, Renee, Deron), Marya and Greg (Isaac, Luke, Genevieve, Julianna), Justin and Courtney (Logan, Bennett); Tina Maat (daughter-in-law), Julie and Scott (Madelynn, Abigail, Everett), Jonathan and Yolanda (Elliot, Kaitlyn, Morgan), Carolyn and Jordan (Mikah); Marianne and Larry Simpson, Byron, Darren,
Levi and Shelley (Avery, Ella, Lauren), Ian and Kathryn (Isla), Rhonda and Patti; Peter and Judy Maat, Leanne and Rick (Kiera, Tegan, Brielle), Andrea and Bryan (Jasper, Finley), Dan and Heather (Jonah, Theo, Sawyer, Zeke); Rob and Mercedes, Natasha and Tyler (Sophia, Amelia), Melissa and Matt; Art and Tina Maat, Micheal and Jaclyn (Talia), Kaila, Taylor and Hilary. Nel is survived and lovingly remembered as a dear sister by her brother Jan (Toni) Van Westenbrugge, and as Tante Nel by many nieces and nephews in Holland. She was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Derk Jan Maat (2000), her son John (2007), two sisters: Mien and Rita, and her brother Isaak.
Nel was born in Zwolle in the Netherlands on September 6, 1920. Educated as a teacher, she taught many young children and teens in Holland before and during the war. She married Derk Jan Maat on October 14, 1948, after the war ended and they immigrated to Canada in 1949 (with a baby on the way) in order to begin a new life. Nel and Dick worked hard for a few years on various farms in the Thunder Bay area. In 1952 they were able to purchase an existing greenhouse business which later grew into a landscaping business. Nel and Dick lived there together for 48 years with Nel staying on for 10 more years after Dick’s passing. Nel was involved in many ways in the Thunder Bay community. She was a teacher and a principal at the Thunder Bay Christian School for years. Nel maintained a friendship with many of her students as they continued through life. After retirement from teaching Nel led women’s groups in Hope Christian Reformed Church, in the Christian Women’s Club, and in Women Aglow. She and Dick were founding members of the First Christian Reformed Church and later became long time members of Hope Christian Reformed Church. Nel’s faith was strong to the end and she often prayed for each of her offspring to come to know Jesus in a personal way. Nel’s favourite pastime was reading; most of her reading was to increase and deepen her understanding of the Bible and to learn more about the people of Israel and their role in the fulfillment of God’s promises. Nel cared deeply for her many friends in Thunder Bay and loved to have coffee and a good discussion with them in her front room. Beginning in 2004 Nel began to spend part of each year in Kelowna, BC where Marianne and Larry live. In 2010 she closed the door to her home for the last time and moved to Kelowna for good. She was happy to be near family but for many years greatly missed her home and her friends in Thunder Bay.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Hope Christian Reformed Church, 1315 Crawford Street, Thunder Bay, with Pastor James Dekker officiating. A private interment will be held in Sunset Memorial Gardens before the service. If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”