Obituary for Tini van Spronsen (van Genne)
Tini van Spronsen
Lutina “Tini” Gergje van Spronsen, resident of Dawson Creek passed away peacefully on December 18, 2017 at the age of 81. Tini was born in Apeldoorn, Holland on February 22, 1936 and was the first of seven children born to Dirk and Johanna Van Genne. Tini had to quit school at the age of 15 when the seventh child was born to her mom. She became a care giver to the baby and also assisted her mom in the household duties. At the age 18 (1954) she was asked by her dad to immigrate to Vancouver, Canada. This was an incredible exercise of faith by her father as no one had been to Canada from the family. She took a passenger ship to Halifax (a five day trip) and then a three day train ride to Vancouver.
She met John Van Spronsen on that ship and travelled all the way to Vancouver with him. That relationship with John continued to grow. Upon arrival in Vancouver, Tini worked as a Nanny and house keeper and later as a BC Tel operator. Tini had been sent to Canada by her Dad, to sponsor the rest of the family so that we could all immigrate. The family arrived in Vancouver one year later in July of 1955.
On July 6, 1956 Tini married John Van Spronsen. They continued to live in North Vancouver, and their sons, Rudy (1958) and Ivan (1959) were born there. In 1961, Tini, John and the two boys moved to Dawson Creek, and they rented a decrepit old house in Rolla. Money was extremely tight but Tini worked hard at making that house a home. Tini never wavered in her commitment and love and saw the family through those very difficult financial times.
In 1963, John wove another tale of future success to Tini, and they committed together to the formation of a new company, called Bond-A-Ply Roofing. Tini did her part in ensuring the success of Bond-A-Ply; she looked after the bookkeeping and even got pretty handy at working the sheet metal brake.
John and Tini relocated an existing abandoned Church building in Rolla and moved it to the Harper subdivision north on 17 Street. This building became their home and the front portion of it became a storage/sheet metal shop for the roofing company. It received so many renovations, as the business grew, the shop became an office and then eventually the office became another part of the home.
In 1965, Tom was born. One can’t imagine the challenge of raising those three bandits so Tini sought some relief and that came in the form of Jacqueline. Tini faced some daunting challenges as the mother of four active kids. Just as John was getting the roofing business going there was a terrible accident where he burnt himself and spent several weeks in the hospital and then at home recuperating.
By 1968 business was expanding and money was still very tight. Tini was the ultimate homemaker. She knitted, sewed, cooked, and cleaned (she is Dutch after all) to make it all work and to keep it together. The roofing business was growing and landed a large contract for two schools on the Queen Charlotte Islands. In the summer of 1968, Tini packed up the tents, kitchen equipment, the groceries, and the kids, and moved the whole operation to an arbitrary location on the beach of the Pacific Ocean called Rose Point, just north of Massett. She and John had a family tent with the kids; there was a large cook tent where meals were served, and a crew tent for the likes of me and my brothers and the other roofing crew members.
Tini made this tent village a home for the kids and for all of us. Meals were extraordinary, and Tini undergirded the laughter and excitement of this adventure. For eight weeks, she pulled this off as there were only about four days when it didn’t rain. It was an incredible experience of commitment, joy, toughness, and a work ethic that she had. Many people work hard, but Tini kept a sense of joy, laughter, and sheer good will about her so that all had a great time.
Tini stood strong through all the challenges. Her Dad passed away in 1966, and Tini was the strong one for my Mom. Tini and John opened their busy schedules up to her Mom, and continued to do that until the day she passed on in 2004.
In 1983, John experienced a serious heart attack and that was a catalyst for a sea change in their lives. The daily focus on the business pretty much ended that day. John never went into the office again. Tini provided again, the care and nurturing needed by John as he went for various treatments and eventually a quadruple bypass.
John and Tini had built a fantastic house east of Pouce Coupe in 1981. Tini had developed a wonderful sense of interior decorating, and the detail and effort she and John put into that house turned it into an instant home. So many great memories of fabulous times being gezellig there; the planning and meetings of the start of Young Life and The Ark, Neighbor Link, World Vision 30 Hour Famine, and so many outreach efforts were incubated and nurtured in that home. Tini provided the faith, fuel, and environment for the thinking and efforts to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ.
After her mother passed away in 2004, that terrible disease called Alzheimer’s made its way into Tini. This was such a sad difficult time for both John and Tini as they realized that the life and relationship they had with each other was going to change dramatically. There are many love stories in the world. Books are written and movies are made based on them. But seldom has a more poignant, more sincere, more real love story then these two had for each other. As Tini had cared for John throughout their marriage and attended to him through his physical health challenges, so John purposed to care for Tini during the maturation of her disease.
Tini was not perfect, but she had such an incredible Faith. She reached out to anyone who crossed her path with the supernatural love God had bestowed on her. Tini and John’s whole focus was investing into people the love and care God had shown them. They exemplified this in their care for their family and for each other.
A memorial service was held on December 28, 2017 at the Bethel Pentecostal Church. Expressions of sympathy can be made to The Ark Christian Youth Centre, RR2 Site 19 Comp 17, Dawson Creek, BC, V1G 4E8.