Angenita (Nita) Elisabeth Looijen of Parksville, BC passed away on March 14, 2021, at the age of 90 years. Nita will be sadly missed by the family and many friends that have crossed her path over the years. She was a lady of diverse talents and skills, even in the last months she was focused on creating, designing, and changing things that were in her line of sight. Her love of birds, plants and flowers, art, entertaining, and being with people was always evident.
Nita was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on June 28, 1930, the fourth child and the first daughter of seven children, to Hendricus (Opa) and Angenita (Oma) Quelle. She often spoke of the dynamics of her family and shared her memories of growing up with her kids, grand, and great grandkids.
Nita started her nurse’s training in Haarlem, where lifelong friendships were formed, and where she met her future husband, Ton, at a soccer event. After a lengthy courtship (as was customary) they were married on November 5, 1955. Nita, being the non-conformist fashionista she was, wore a sharp grey suit. The dashing couple was ready to take on the world together, but first, an incredibly fashionable honeymoon in Paris.
Planning to raise their family in Haarlem, they moved into the top floor of a house (the almost vertical staircase was a breeze for a pregnant woman, prams, and groceries). They were blessed with the birth of a son, Bart (1956), and daughter Annelies (aka) Lisa (1958). They immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1958, settling in Fort St. John, BC.
Ton and Nita enjoyed the ‘wilds’ of living in Northern BC; camping, hiking, and immersing themselves in the Canadian way of life and culture. They were then blessed with the birth of their son, Lars (1960).
Nita was very active in the community, being involved with the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority Club (The Good, The True, The Beautiful was their motto) as well as working as a nurse, teaching sewing classes, fundraising for many charities with fashion shows, and raising 3 ‘darling’ kids.
Opportunities for Ton came up in Prince George in 1968 and the Looijen family moved from the hinterlands into the BC interior. Nita took this time to develop more skills and passions including skiing, canoeing, pottery, carpentry, and gardening to name a few. While raising the children through their public schooling and formative years, she was involved with several clubs and organizations as well as working as a nurse in a doctor’s office.
Nita felt that she made a difference in people’s lives in her nursing position as she was able to work with the female patients in a teaching capacity; their stories were always with her. Then in 1979 opportunity knocked again, when Ton and Nita (sans children) moved to Nanaimo and a couple of years later to Parksville.
Their home in Parksville was a labour of love for both Ton and Nita, transforming a rough-hewn property into a small paradise, utilizing skills that had been acquired over the years together.
Nita excelled in her pottery craft, painting, carpentry, gardening, and yard design, and would always be ready to host garden tours and parties.
Nita was also a long-standing member of several clubs in the Parksville area including PROBUS, Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society - MARS, Grandmothers to Grandmothers, and her book club.
She found time to travel back to the Netherlands with Ton, on her own, with Lisa (her daughter), as well as with Keri & Laura (granddaughters); even teaching the oldest granddaughter to hop a train without paying.
Nita had a great sense of humour, loved and appreciated being around people. She had a passion for learning through reading, travel, television, life, and the computer. Nita enjoyed sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others. She was always planning how she could best get a project done and have it all designed in her mind before letting others know what their role would be in it - a very clever lady.
Nita was predeceased by Ton (husband of 53 years) and her siblings: Gerard Quelle of Toronto ON, John Quelle of Port Arthur TX, Henk Quelle of Phoenix AZ, Robert Quelle of Parksville BC, Ann London of Squamish BC, and her parents Hendricus and Elisabeth Quelle of Squamish BC.
Nita is survived by:
Her sister Betty Gerbracht of Parksville BC, as well as many nieces and nephews the world over.
Her children: Bart (Gail) of Calgary AB, Lisa (Mike) of Parksville BC, Lars of Nanaimo BC.
Her grandchildren: Jim, Trevor (Robyn), Keri, all of Calgary, AB, and Laura of Vancouver BC.
Her Great Grandchildren: Tyson, Alyssa, Kaleb, Ryder, Breanne, Koen & Jacob all of Calgary, AB.
A very special thank you to the friends and neighbours who were there for Nita when the power went out; when the life-line button was pushed; when the house was ablaze; when something needed to be fixed; when the garbage needed to be taken to the road and for the love, support and encouragement that was given in so many ways and made it possible for Nita to remain in her home for as long as possible.
A special thank you to:
The Vancouver Island Health Authority - Home Care (Kelly and Shawn) and the many Home Care Workers that assisted in the care of Nita in her home, and learned that “Once a Nurse Always a Nurse”, and that if you could sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” with her, then you were welcome anytime.
District 69 SOS for assisting with meals on wheels, the phone calls to chat, as well as the kindest most efficient housekeeper that could work around whatever was going on in the house.
Admin and Nursing staff at Stanford Seniors Village in Parksville for the care during Nita’s short stay.
Dr. John Dalla Lana for his care over many years through the challenges of life.
You are invited to a Celebration of Life for Nita on Saturday October 16th 2021 at 2:00pm at:
Yates Memorial Services
1000 Allsbrook Road
Nita will be interred along with Ton in the Nature Grove Pond area of the Yates Cemetery in Parksville and a Rhododendron will be planted beside them.
If there is something that you would like to post on this site, perhaps a story, an event or anything that you would wish to share, please feel free to do so. It may bring back memories for many.
Nita was very interested in people being educated and she supported and felt that the television station “The Knowledge Network” should be an important part of family education. If you so choose to donate in memory of Nita you could honour her in this way https://www.knowledge.ca/donate/gift-in-memory, or to a charity of your choosing.