Theodora "Doky" Wilhelmina (Schrijvers) Jansen

November 24, 1921July 30, 2022
Obituary of Theodora "Doky" Wilhelmina (Schrijvers) Jansen
Doky was born to Apolonia and Gerard Schrijvers in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands, the oldest of 8 children. As the oldest, even at a young age, she bore responsibilities to help her mother in the home cleaning, sewing, and looking after her younger siblings. At the age of 8 she contracted polio and was paralyzed on her left side for a year after which she made a full recovery. Doky always loved music, singing and dancing. She played in local productions in her younger years in Oegstgeest and at the age of 17 was seen by some film executives who asked her mother if they could bring her to Hollywood to star in one of their films. Her mother was adamant that she would never allow her to go. That ended Doky’s roles in even her local productions, something she reminisced about throughout her life. She and her family survived tough times during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands from 1940-1945. During the occupation, after curfew one evening when out on her bicycle getting food for the family, she was hit by a German truck, knocked to the ground and sustained a serious wound to her leg. Fortunately the owners of a store heard the commotion and on seeing her, brought her inside, put pressure on the wound and called an ambulance. Her family was notified while she was transported to the hospital in Leiden where her leg was stitched and she was released home. Her brother John had been a Japanese POW during the last 3.5 years of the war and when he returned home following the war, he brought a fellow seaman with him to meet her. That man, Arien (Art) Rooie (Red) Jansen was the man she would marry in March 1948. They lived in Rotterdam where Art worked for Holland American Lines and where their daughter, Sylvia, was born 5 years later. In March 1956 Doky, Art and Sylvia, boarded a steamer and immigrated to Canada following Doky’s sister Anne and brother John and their families. They landed in Halifax and then travelled by train across Canada to Vancouver, B.C. In all, there were 4 siblings who immigrated to Canada and 4 who remained behind in the Netherlands. Their first home was in Richmond where their next child, a son, Peter was born. Art was a longshoreman in Vancouver and Doky maintained the family home while the children were young. She helped out in her sister and brother-in-law’s bakery on Commercial Drive once a week. The family moved to Burnaby when Peter was still a young infant and in 1960 they moved into a home built by Art just below what is now known as Burnaby Mountain, home to SFU. In 1963 the family moved to Coquitlam where once the children were in school Doky started working as a housekeeper/caregiver for a period of time out in the Oakridge area. When the first White Spot opened on North Road on the Burnaby/Coquitlam boarder Doky was hired as “straw cook” deep frying chicken, fish, and chips. After a few years at the North Road location Doky made the move to the White Spot at Oakridge. One of her great stories about her time there was the day that the restaurant was closed so the Liberace could come in to eat a piece of the White Spot’s famous cheesecake. He was there for a book signing at Woodward’s Oakridge. He was wearing a full-length white fur coat, when one of the other worker’s asked if she should hang it up for him, he told her no, and that if she wanted to try the coat on she could do it right there in front of him…which she did! Following the White Spot, Doky very briefly worked casual in the kitchen at Saint Mary’s Hospital following which she acquired full time employment in the Dietary Department at Valleyview at Essondale (Riverview) Hospital. She worked their until Art retired in 1981 and they became “Snowbirds” making their way down South to Yuma, Arizona for the winters where they took up golfing and spent many a time kicking up their heels on the dance floor. In September 1991 Art and Doky moved to a mobile home in Five Oaks Mobile Home Park in South Surrey where her sister Anne also lived. Art’s time there was short-lived as he passed away November 1, 1991. Following Art’s death in 1991, Doky continued going to their home away from home in Yuma for another 10 years. Doky loved her time there with Art and following his death. She was up at 5am Monday to Friday and on the golf course by 7am! She golfed with the same group of men every weekday from October to April for most of those years. In the evenings 3-4 nights a week she would be dancing at various places in Yuma, wherever there was a good band playing…her favorite being “Country Fever”. Doky’s fingers were also never still, before her eyesight started to fail she was always knitting or crocheting. She knit over 300 scarves, many Cowichan sweaters for the children of her nieces and nephews and her own grandson Stephen, numerous outfits for her grandbabies and she crocheted many, many tops, matching skirts and dresses for herself and others. Her last efforts were focused on crocheting dishcloths and hand towels. She would take these to the local flea-market and sell them. She also enjoyed going to BINGO a few nights a week with her sister Anne until she passed in 2008. Doky loved spending time with her grand-children, Stephen, the oldest and only one for 4 years was the apple of her eye and she was his primary caregiver while his mother was at work when she was home from Yuma April-October. They maintained a very close bond for most of his 42 years until the pandemic put restrictions on that tie. She took him to Holland when he was 14 and several years later took her granddaughter Kelsey as well. She also spent as much time as she could with her daughter’s two younger sons, Alex and Brian. In 1992 Doky purchased her much loved, white Thunderbird from the Ford Dealership in Maple Ridge. The dealership wanted to include a picture of her with her car for their upcoming calendar, so off she went home to change her clothes, into her favorite western shirt, cowboy boots and hat and then headed back to Maple Ridge. The story goes that she was pulled over by the RCMP for driving too slow, she told the officer that this was her brand new Thunderbird and she was being very careful with it! She loved that car and was sad when it had to be written off following an accident in 2007. Doky lost most of her siblings and friends over the years while she remained fairly healthy. She is survived by one sister and brother in the Netherlands, numerous nieces and nephews in the Netherlands and here in BC. She lived long enough to meet and spend time with two great-grandchildren, Ilene (Kelsey’s daughter) and Xavier (Stephen’s son). She spent the last 2.5 pandemic years with her daughter Sylvia in Abbotsford. Sadly dementia had started to rob her of her short-term memory. She enjoyed her time with her daughter and got to spend a lot of time with her two younger grandsons, Alex and Brian. Her son Peter lived close by so he and his wife were frequent visitors and he called her at least 2-3 times daily. Last November there were 3 celebrations for her 100th birthday, her friends at Five Oaks arranged a cake for her, then on her birthday neighbours in her daughter’s complex and some of her daughter’s friends came to a small celebration and finally a few days later there was a big family celebration all in Abbotsford with her daughter. Even some of her nieces and nephews in Holland held a celebration in her honor and sent a video to her. Doky passed away in the early hours of Saturday, July 30 following a short but courageous battle with a serious infection. She leaves a void in the hearts of those she leaves behind but she is now flying free with all those who went before her. There will be a Celebration of Doky’s Life likely on November 24, 2022 on what would have been her 101st birthday. This site will be updated when the details of the celebration are finalized. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Society or to any Wildlife or Nature Fund as she loved all wildlife. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Jansen family.

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