Anna Bandstra was born on April 6, 1927 in Moddergat, Friesland, in the Netherlands, to Mame and Aafke Douma. Anna was the fifth of eight children, having six brothers and one sister.
Anna was in school through Grade 6 and then was needed at home to care for the family who lived on a farm near Lioessens, Friesland. During this time Anna met the love of her life, Taeke (Theo) Bandstra, and they were married on January 18, 1951. In 1952, with baby John, and expecting their second child, Theo and Anna immigrated to Canada on the vessel Groote Beer, landing in Halifax and taking the train to Smithers. They settled there and Evelyn was born soon after their arrival. Home was a small cabin on Alfred Avenue. Three more children were born, Mark, Diane and Glenn.
The family was busy and lively, and the Dutch immigrant community, of which they were a part, became well-established in the Bulkley Valley.
Theo and Anna enjoyed raising their family and building their business in Smithers and were involved in the community as well as in their church. The family grew and they had many friends. Some of Anna’s passions were volunteering in the Bulkley Lodge, visiting with friends who needed some company and always providing a listening ear. Anna also very much enjoyed spending time with all her grandchildren, and especially with her granddaughters, for crafting. Anna enjoyed travelling with Theo going on trips to Holland, Hawaii, Israel and cruises in the Caribbean, often with friends and family from Friesland who had settled in Canada.
Because of her zest for life, interest in current events, and a real desire to relate to others, she was a joy to visit. In later years she enjoyed the support of members of her Bethel Reformed Church family.
Anna was predeceased by her husband, Theo (2003), her grandson, Trevor (2010) and her daughter, Evelyn (2011). She is survived by her children, John (Ann) Bandstra, (Doug Visser), Mark (Betty) Bandstra, Diane Benjamins, Glenn (Barb) Bandstra; 15 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Dirk (Hinke), and sister Aaltje, in the Netherlands.
Anna's life was a life well-lived. She is now safe in the arms of Jesus and will be missed by us all.
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