On August 13, 2019, Mary Veenhuyzen passed away after giving pancreatic cancer her last and very best fight.
Mourning her passing are her husband, Hans, her children, son Yorgo, wife Jan and grandchildren Mia and William; daughter Carla van der Zweep, husband John, and grandchildren, Daniel and Ian; her sister, Katie Varsamis; her cousin, Stella Iacovides, husband Chris, and their children, Harris and Stavros; as well as a large group of extended family and friends in Canada and abroad.
Mary was born in a Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt; a bustling multicultural city that was once considered a jewel in the Mediterranean. She learned to speak Greek, English, French, and even Arabic. She enjoyed growing up among her beloved cousins and spending summers on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Circumstances lead her to move along with her parents, sister and brother in law (Dr. John Varsamis) to London, England, where she became a nurse. After immigrating to Winnipeg in 1963, she worked for Great West Life Insurance Company. She was then transferred to Montreal, where she met and married the love of her life, Hans. Together, they earned B.A. and B.ed degrees, and taught for over 30 years in the St. James Assiniboia School Division. She was the first itinerant French teacher in her Division at the elementary level, and she piloted the first Kindergarten French Immersion Program at Assiniboine School. She went back to University to become a Resource Teacher and later, a Reading Recovery Teacher, which she enjoyed doing until retirement. Despite full time work, and part time studying, she was also a full-time mother, somehow squeezing 36 hours into every single day. There was little time for hobbies and self-interest, though she enjoyed fashion and entertaining with delicious home cooked meals (Greek potatoes!). She loved visiting her cousins and spending family summer vacations in Greece. Later, she would fall in love with the family camp in Minaki, ON, where she managed to transform an old fishing lodge into a cozy Ionian village. Above all, she valued her partner in life, her children and children-in-laws, and grandchildren. Bridging old world influences, and modern feminism, she carved a stylish life of warmth, laughter, family, and love. She did it her way.
We’d like to thank Dr. Jeremy Lipschitz, Dr. Goldenberg, Dr. Chris Ogaranko and her oncology nurse Karen at the Victoria hospital, and her palliative care doctors and nurses at Riverview Health Center for such compassionate care.
Her funeral will take place at 11 am on Tuesday, August 20, at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cancer Care Manitoba.
193 Sherbrookl Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 2B7
- Online Donations
- Funeral Service Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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HenrietteLCC Prothon , De Kanter
September 8, 2019
Dear Hans , Dear Yorgo ,and Carla.and Family ,
My Dearest Condolences with the loss of Your Dear Mary ,Mother Mary ,who fought so bravely this illness ,
God has her Soul,
Thanks for All she undertook ,
Thanks be to God .
Love Hans , wish you strenght the coming time , we’ll share together , Jet ,
Love from Prothon Jacques ,Lisa ,Hugo , Luca ,London ,UK
Prothon Louise ,Jacques ,Jules Beljaars ,Rotterdam ,nl
Prothon Alex ,Rochelle ,Dorian ,Houten ,nl
Jacques Prothon / De Kanter
September 6, 2019
My thoughts are with you Hans, Carla and Yorgo. Much love from us here, Jacques xxx
Emmie Dryjski (Brown)
August 27, 2019
I taught with Mary at Stevenson Britannia School. She will always be remembered for her beauty and grace. Mary was an exceptional teacher. She was bright, witty and compassionate. I'm so happy I got to see her a couple of weeks prior to her passing at Prairie Ink Restaurant at McNally's and shared a loving hug. My sincere condolences go to her husband Hans and the family. May God bless them with comfort and peace during this sad and difficult tine.
August 22, 2019
Mary's smile was always bright.
Mary was a beautiful soul.
She was a wonderful conduit of Kindness and Love.
August 20, 2019
I am sad to hear of the passing of my remarkable, unique dearest friend Mary. Hans and family sorry for your loss. Mary's memories will remain forever in my heart.
August 18, 2019
I have never met a person who cared so much about others. Mary brought so much joy to our family, and for that I am truly grateful. She will be missed. Gone way too early. Hans, Yorgo, and Carla, so sorry for this loss in your life.
August 18, 2019
Mary was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She had a selflessness that was unique. She was the ultimate and best of friend to me. Mary had a wonderful style of her own and a true sense of dignity. She was a compassionate person and incredible human being. My friend Mary will be long remembered as a kind and loving person, and this will live on.
August 17, 2019
Mary was a wonderful ,caring teacher who helped and guided many students . Additionally , in her quiet way she was a guide and leader for many of her colleagues. She made her mark and will be missed. Hans and family ,we are so sorry for your loss. Best wishes. John Carlyle