Marieke Genoveva Christine Swinkels

June 1, 1941 – August 18, 2015

Marieke, Mom, Oma passed away at Lions Gate Hospital surrounded by her family. Born in the Netherlands, Marieke set sail for a year in Canada with her beloved husband Frits soon after their marriage in 1961. It was a trip that was to last a lifetime.

Marieke is foremost remembered as a great mom, caring, accepting and supportive not only of family, but also their friends and colleagues, neighbours, exchange students and the occasional stray hiker. She was an intuitive and creative cook and her gardens were oases.

Just as important was her service to the community and later, her work. She volunteered, helped people organize their homes for simplicity and beauty, helped others with their taxes and, as a care aide, cared for elderly people with exceptional respect and compassion, even as her own disability made it increasingly difficult.

Marieke had a gift for enjoying life, no matter what it offered: she sang with the church choir and the Rossland Light Opera Players, hiked in the mountains and took long walks, and looked forward to summer vacations so she could take her kids on adventures. She loved finding joy and fun in the ordinary, in everyday life.

Pragmatic, stubbornly optimistic and fiercely independent, Marieke was composed in the face of the cancer that ended her life earlier than she would have wished. From her perspective, she had beaten the cancer that really mattered forty years ago, when her children were small.

Upon learning her diagnosis, she went camping.

We thank the palliative care team at Lion’s Gate Hospital, Dr. Jennie Shaw and Dr. Jonathan Hislop, whose incredible care and compassion helped not only Marieke, but also family and friends.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1-4 pm at the Beachhouse Restaurant at 150 25th St, West Vancouver on October 4th, 2015.  RSVP is appreciated to:


Please bring photos and stories to share and dress as you would for an informal celebration with Marieke – not too much black! In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Marieke’s favourite charity, World Vision Canada.

She is mourned and will be forever missed by her husband; her children Mark, Jeroen, Helena and Monica, and their partners; her grandchildren Kate, Scott and Brian; great grandchild, Emma; and her dear siblings. Condolences for the family can be left at Remembering.ca.

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