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Van Santen, William

william vansanten

April 27, 1933 — Aug. 20, 2021

With deep sorrow we announce the passing of our dear Father, Opa and great-Opa Bill (William) Van Santen on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Gerrie Van Santen on Jan. 29, 1998. He is survived by his two daughters Hetty (Harvey) De Kok and Chris (Don) Van Driesten. He will be deeply missed by his seven grandchildren. Jason (Janelle) De Kok, Michelle (Eric) Vanderhart, Kevin (Tera) De Kok, Steven De Kok, Jolene (Mark) Pickering, Ben (Roosmarijn) Van Driesten, Gordon (Mackenzie) Van Driesten and 17 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters Aartje Ten Have and Tina Van Vegten of Holland; brother Aart (Helena) Van Santen of Sweden; sister-in-law Hennie Van Ee of Holland; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Bill was born in Otterlo, Holland on April 27, 1933, where he grew up on the family farm. From an early age Bill had a love for farming, animals, and the outdoors. Bill loved to travel and had a zest for life and adventure. This along with a love for his country, led him to serve in the Dutch military, something that he did with much pride. At the age of 21, he again set off on a new adventure; travelling by train and boat to Canada, where he settled in Alberta. He quickly immersed himself in the Canadian culture, learning English at night and working for local farmers during the day. He worked on multiple farms his first few years in Canada, learning as he went. He soon met the love of his life Gerrie, and they were married on Feb. 17, 1959. In March 1960 they purchased a farm in Fort Macleod, where they raised their two daughters Hetty and Chris. Bill was a successful farmer for many years and took pride in raising cattle and selling his hay. After their daughters were grown, Bill and Gerrie travelled often with friends and family, something that he absolutely loved doing. Bill and Gerrie were happily married for almost 39 years when Gerrie suddenly passed away at the young age of 58. Bill was devastated but found solace in his faith and by spending as much time as he could outdoors, especially in his river bottom. Bill loved spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren and would spend countless hours reading stories or going for walks and bike rides. Bill continued to live in Fort Macleod until 2015 when he moved to Elim in Lethbridge. In 2020 he moved to Pioneer Lodge in Fort Macleod and returned to Lethbridge in 2021. Bill passed away peacefully at the Extendicare Fairmont Park at the age of 88 with his daughters and sons-in-law at his side. Bill led a rich and full life, and his greatest wish was that his children and grandchildren would continue to spend much time together as a family and that each would always have faith and a personal relationship with Christ.  Bill was very loved by his family and will be deeply missed by all.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, at Bethel Free Reformed Church, Monarch, with Pastor John van Eyk officiating, followed with his burial at the Union Cemetery in Fort Macleod.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Elim, Pioneer Lodge, and the Extendicare Fairmont Park for caring for their Father and Opa.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6.

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