Passed away peacefully at the Brockville General Hospital on Thursday, April 13th, 2023 at the age of 92 years. Jan is survived by the love of his life, Goverina "Rina" (nee Roth) Poelstra, whom he has only lived to care for these last few years. Cherished father of Leentje and her children Trenton, Dane and Brittany; the late Ralph; John; Adrian (Erin) and their children Gradon and Alexandra; Kristina (Ryan) their children Wyatt and Luke and her children James and Abbigail. Also survived by great grandchildren: Noah, Emmaline, Grayson, Dax, and Avery; by his youngest sister Nell and by over a hundred nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents Jochem Poelstra and Hipkjen Plantinga and by his siblings Fred, Betty, Jayne, Pieter, Shirley, Liz and Ann and by several nieces and nephews.
Jan was born in February 1931 in the Netherlands (Winsom) where he finished school and began working away from home as a farmhand at the age of 13 and delivered milk via boat on the canals. He began an apprenticeship in Carpentry. In 1951 the family came to Canada where he delivered milk via horse and buggy around the Gananoque area until the family bought a farm in Rocksprings. He married his sweetheart in September of 1960 and they have always resided in and around Brockville. He and Rina shared a love of singing and they participated in many choirs over the years: When she couldn’t, he still sang to her everyday to make her smile.
Jan eventually became an expert Carpenter by trade but his passion was sailing and he spent many happy hours on the river racing with the Yacht Club or picnicking on the Islands with his family in tow. He had a strong work ethic but he was also an eager volunteer and many organizations have benefitted from his myriad talents including extensive upgrades at the Yacht Club, many churches that he has attended over the years (including committees, Sunday school teaching, and renovations), driving cancer patients, meals on wheels, etc. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and provide a smile and a laugh or two.
Jan was a man of strong faith which was developed and strengthened through many trials and hardships and he loved nothing more than to witness and tell people about it. His greatest joy was to go to the house of the Lord and worship. A favourite scripture in his final years of life while his body was slowly failing was “Absent from the body, present with the Lord”. May it be so. “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?”
Visitation will take place at the Bethel Christian Reformed Church Hall, 117 Windsor Drive, Brockville on Friday, April 21st, 2023 from 12 noon until 1:30 pm when a service in celebration of Jan's life will be held in the Church Sanctuary. Interment to follow at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Maitland. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada or any favourite charity will be gratefully acknowledged.
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