Obituary of John Richard Hoogstra
John (Jan) Hoogstra of Strathroy, passed away peacefully at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the age of 84. John was born in Winsum, Netherlands (Groningen) on September 27, 1936, to the late Ritske and Elziena Hoogstra.
John immigrated to Canada at the age of 14 where, like many young Dutch immigrants his age, he began working to support a new life in Canada. On August 22, 1958, he married his sweetheart, Ina (Speelman) Hoogstra and by God's grace, they recently celebrated 62 years of marriage together.
John and Ina raised five sons together, Richard (d. 2009), Pete, Mark, Jeff (d. 2018), and Jonathan. John´s sons were his pride and joy. John and Ina also served as a foster home with the Children’s Aid Society and offered their home, love, and parenting to more than 30 foster children.
John labored at traditional farming over the years as well as factory and construction work. He also invested and engaged with business activities with his children. He often traveled with his wife into the USA and took his children for family camping trips around Ontario as well as trips to Boblo Island. He also went overseas to Holland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Israel, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Hawaii & Dominica Republic.
Family was very important to John. Over the years, John and Ina could often be found at hockey & baseball & soccer games all over southwestern Ontario. Originally watching their sons through the 1980´s – 90´s, this morphed to summer evenings watching grandchildren and great-grandchildren play soccer as the years passed. John and Ina could always be counted on to attend school performances and celebrations of their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren (who would scan the gathered crowds looking for Opa and Oma).
John was an avid reader, his encyclopedia collection was always close at hand. Despite his hunger for knowledge he enjoyed fiction as well. John also enjoyed music and square danced with his sweetheart well into his late 70´s. John enjoyed camping and long walks & long bike rides with his wife.
Perhaps the most notable characteristic John possessed was his sense of humour. John was always entertaining to his siblings and identified & engaged with the younger generations/his children´s friends etc. He adding enthusiasm wherever he was, made John a colourful, unique and memorable soul.
John´s passion for life was powerfully observable in his final days. From his final morning walk (of several kilometers - the day before his month of hospitalization), to his time in care. In the hospital, his speaking was mostly not understandable, and his movement was severely limited. Nonetheless, he had bouts of improvement and managed to convey love & joy by speaking, singing, & smiling. He was even able to humour the nurses by teasing them. The resilience he expressed in his final days captured his essence.
John was dearly loved by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and is survived by:
Ruth Leliveld and Richard & Ruth's children and grandchildren,
Brian & Kristi, Zackary and Reseda Hoogstra, Nadene & Dan, Iris and Nora Lawrence, and Nikki & Adam and Bridgette Cox;
Peter & Mary Hoogstra and their children and grandchildren,
Brad & Megan and Olivia Hoogstra, Becky & James, Kacey and Bennett Weverink, and Eric Hoogstra & Leah Woods;
Mark Hoogstra and his child
Jon & Gabriella Hoogstra and their children,
Caleb, Katelyn, Lucas, and Simon Hoogstra.
He was also the dear brother of –
Jannie & Art VanDolder,
Lien (late) & Sieger Kloostra,
Tinie & Ralph (late) Smids,
Richard (late) & Meca Hoogstra,
Ellie & Allen Kuipers,
Klaas & Faye Hoogstra,
Jean Raymond Kielstra (late/late)
Annie Thies Piening (late/late).
John was also loved by Ina’s many Speelman siblings and will be lovingly remembered by nieces, nephews, cousins, as well as friends he made over the years. His will be missed by the church family of Westmount Christian Reformed Church where he was a long-time member.
A graveside service to celebrate John’s life will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 2pm with Pastor Peter Hoytema officiating. Due to gathering restrictions, regretfully, no visitation is planned and the graveside service will be open only to limited family. Please see the link below to Live Stream the graveside service.