Baukje “Betty” vanSolkema

Donna Lynn Cameron

Mom was born July 31, 1921 to Lieuwe and Rinske Luinenburg in Katlijk, Friesland, The Netherlands.  It happened to be on her father’s birthday.  She was the sixth of ten children.

  Mom told of when she was little, the thunder and lightning would be so severe, her mother would get all the children out of bed, ready to escape.  She recalled one particular night when they could see fires burning on all four sides of their house, all started by lightning.  They sat around the table with their coats on ready to escape. 

  In the winter, they skated on a nearby lake. This was one of her favorite memories.  The wind would blow them across the lake but coming back was always a cold skate into the wind. 

  The war started when Mom was 18.  She was working at a TB Sanitarium with 2 girls who became good friends.  It was through them that she met Willem.  They were married Feb. 14, 1946.  Their first home was a 4 plex in which other family members lived.  Sjieuwkje (Susan) was born in 1946.  Willem left for army duty in Indonesia when she was 10 months old.  He would be gone for 3 years.  Rinske (Rita) was born in 1951.  

  Life in post-war Holland was difficult.  They decided to emigrate to Canada for a better life and the opportunity to own their own farm one day.  This was a very big decision but they never looked back.   They didn’t know if they would ever see their family again and knew very little English.  After a long voyage by sea and train ride across Canada, they arrived to their destination, Grindrod, in Feb. 1952.  It was one of the coldest winters in Canadian history.   Don and Edith McEwen were their sponsors and Dad was in their employment for the next ten years.  Life in Canada was good to the family.  Louis was born in 1954 followed by Owen in 1958.  Mom came home 2 times on Dad’s birthday with a baby boy.  Gary was born in 1962.  

  They bought their own farm in 1957.  There were many struggles but they worked hard and loved their farm.  Mom always had a large garden which would supply the table for the whole year.  It would be hard to guess how many socks and mittens she made over the years or how many dozens olliebollen that were consumed by family and friends.

  Mom and Dad had a deep faith, and their church family meant a lot to them. 

  Gary took over the family farm and Mom and Dad moved just south of the farm.  They were able to travel to Holland as well as visit family who were now scattered a bit.  In 2005 they moved to Salmon Arm to the Shuswap Lodge.  Dad passed away soon after the move.  Mom then moved to the Hillside Village where she resided till her passing.  The family is grateful to the many, who lovingly looked after her for almost 9 years. Their kindness has been much appreciated.

She is survived by her sister, Lisk Keuning, and a brother and his wife, Bauke and Hendrika Luinenburg as well as: Susan (Len) Bagley, Doris, David and Allan, Rita (Paul) Swanson, Ranae , Amy  and Albin

Louis (Debbie) van Solkema; William, Lisa, Danny, Leilani and Kaitlyn, Owen (Brenda) vanSolkema; Cameron and Lloyd; Gary (Angela) vanSolkema; Bryce and Christine and numerous great-grandchildren.

  For those who wish, donations can be made in Mom’s memory to The Good Samaritan Canada, Hillside Village and earmarked for Recreation/Gardens or the charity of choice.

A Memorial service for Betty took place on Thursday February 27, 2014 at 2pm from Bowers Funeral Chapel, Salmon Arm with Pastor Bill Kiesman officiating.

A reception followed the service in the Mountainside room allowing friends and family to continue sharing memories.

Online condolences may be sent through Betty’s obituary at

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