Irma Roelofina VandenDool- Sebők
November 13, 1937 — May 25, 2023
Released from years of courageously struggling with Alzheimer’s, and now brought into the eternal presence of her Saviour, Jesus Christ, whom she dearly loved, Irma is survived by the love of her life, her husband of 65 years, Geurt VandenDool, and was a much-loved mother to Caron (Bob), Brian (Terri), Mark (Gina), and Rob (Nour).
Irma was a devoted grandmother to Danielle (Warren) in Halifax, David (Samantha) in Australia, Brandon (Natasha) in St. Catharines, Mike (awaiting her in heaven), Ariana (Graeme), and Adam and Dale, all in St. Catharines.
She was also a proud “Super Oma”/great grandmother to Adeline and Maeve in Australia, and two pending arrivals, one in Halifax (Baby Pinder) and a little one in St. Catharines (Baby VandenDool). Irma was also a special “Tante” to niece Ingrid (Peter) in St. Catharines.
Irma was born in Den Haag, The Netherlands, on Nov. 13, 1937, to Jenő Sebők and Riet Sebők -Oosterhof. Growing up during the war years was difficult, especially the years of 1944 and 1945 due to food shortages. After graduation from high school and with additional education, Irma worked as a secretary to the CEO of a Co-op buying group with a head office in Den Haag.
She was a special “older sister” to her five married brothers—Jan (Wil), Jenő (Corrie), Ron (Pieta), Ed (Carina) and Tom (Margreeth), all residing in The Netherlands. Irma was much loved by all her in-laws and many nieces and nephews in The Netherlands, and in Hungary, where her father was born.
Meeting her future husband, Geurt, in 1955, they were married on Sept. 11, 1958, and emigrated as newlyweds to Calgary, Alberta on Oct. 11, 1958. After a short stay there, they settled in Brandon, Manitoba in Dec. 1958, where their children Caron and Brian were born. After six great years in Brandon, where they met what would become many of their lifelong friends, the family moved to St. Catharines, Ontario in 1965, where Mark and Rob were born.
In 1976, Irma, along with Geurt, co-founded VandenDool Jewellers Inc. which was first located on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines and later relocated to the Grantham Plaza where it was built into a thriving business that is owned by two of their sons – Brian and Mark VandenDool.
Throughout the years, Irma was always surrounded by a wonderful circle of friends. She was known for her love of cooking—and her specialty, Dutch croquettes—as well as for her green thumb and the beautiful gardens that she created.
She was a dedicated member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church and an active volunteer. Along with Geurt, she spearheaded the Pastoral Care program and was also involved with the Music and Youth ministries. In semi-retirement, Irma and Geurt served on a mission trip to Cuba, and volunteered their time with Disaster Response Services, where they served communities in the United States and Canada that were impacted by natural disasters—Mississippi (Hurricane Katrina), Joplin, Missouri (tornado) and High River, Alberta (flooding).
During the earlier stages of her battle with Alzheimer’s, Irma volunteered as a Peer-Mentor, making people feel welcome and included, and served on an Advisory Committee to the Board of the Alzheimer’s Society of Niagara. She truly had a heart for serving others.
Geurt and Irma loved to travel and enjoyed many years of camping in their trailer at Pinery Provincial Park, as well as taking numerous trips to Holland to visit siblings, relatives in Hungary and spending time with two of their grandchildren—Danielle, in South Africa, and David for his wedding in Australia. They capped this off with a transatlantic cruise on a much fancier ship than the one they came over on to Canada in 1958!
Our family is so thankful for the wonderful and loving care that Irma has received from all the staff at Pioneer Elder Care (Lakeshore Road facility) over the last two and a half years.
The family will receive family and friends at Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 278 Parnell Road (near Bunting Road) on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
A private internment for the family will take place on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery, followed by a Celebration of Irma’s life at Covenant Christian Reformed Church at 11:00 a.m.
You are invited to greet the family and enjoy a light lunch in the Fellowship Hall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations in Irma’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Society of Niagara.