Clasina (Nederpel) Van Adrichem, one of eight children, was born in Den Haag, Holland in 1928. She remembers growing up during the war years and the many hardships on families.
She went to school until the war started so her education ended at the age of 13. Because of the previous death of her father, the family was divided; her mother and the four youngest siblings had to evacuate to a safer place, while Clasina and her three older sisters stayed behind because they all had various jobs and were expected to support themselves.
Clasina met Mike, her future husband, through family members in Holland in 1950. In 1951, Mike and his brother went to Canada and while he was away, he wrote many letters to Clasina and they talked about her coming to Canada and getting married. In 1952, Clasina left for Canada and the young couple were married upon her arrival.
They settled near Victoria and Mike worked on a loganberry farm. One year later, Mike found work on a government experimental farm. Ten years later, a government position became available in agricultural research for the Federal Department of Agriculture out at the Agriculture Canada Experimental Farm here in Prince George.
Mike, Clasina, their four children and their one-month old baby eagerly made arrangements, packed up and caught the train and arrived in Prince George two days later. They would live in Prince George for the rest of their lives.
Mike worked at the experimental farm and retired in 1978. For the next 10 years he worked as the Superintendent for Catholic Independent Schools, Prince George Diocese and retired in 1988.
Sadly, Mike passed away in 2014 - at the age of 91 - and after 62 years of a good marriage. Together they had eight children; Mary (Al) Mottishaw, Monica (Rick) Hines, Michael Jr. (Miae), Teresa (Jean-Paul) St. Laurent, Liz (Bob) Fiege, Agnes (Chris) Lapointe, Anne Marie (Todd) Daudlin and Robert (Deborah) Van Adrichem; who in turn gave them 17 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Clasina was a stay at home mom and loved every minute of it. She volunteered with everything to do with her children. With a twinkle in her eye, she said, “When the children grew up, I walked the streets and went from door to door collecting for all sorts of good causes including the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society, United Way, the March of Dimes and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.”
Some of her hobbies are knitting, reading and doing puzzles, plus she used to sing in several choirs.
Her pride and passion - for the past 62 years - has always been her volunteer work as a member of the Catholic Women’s League. Since the mid-1980s, Clasina has been involved with the CWL catering at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. It wasn’t long before it became her job to manage and facilitate the funeral lunches after a funeral service.
Clasina said, “After 30 years of volunteering and at the age of 85 I retired and left the task of catering to a younger pair of old legs. If you have ever done any catering you know what a huge task it is. First you do the grocery shopping, then the team puts it all together. Then we not only serve food and drinks but you have to arrange for volunteers to set up, serve and then clean up afterwards. I just want to say that I could not have done all of this without my great team of volunteers.
“I knew for sure that I had to give it up when Mike started having serious health issues.
“I am now 92 and I am in good health and I am independent. I have many good friends and a wonderful family that I am extremely proud of.
“I feel it is important to relax, spend quality time with family and friends and learn new things. My latest new thing is trying to master this magical thing called an iPad. Thanks to the help of my family I am getting pretty good at it.”