Joan van den Ham

Joan van den Ham (van Donkersgoed)

Monday, May 18th, 1931 - Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
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Joan van den Ham (Teunisje van Donkersgoed)
May 18, 1931 - August 5, 2020.

Joan was born in Voorthuizen, Barneveld, the Netherlands on May 18, 1931. She was the youngest of 5 children born to Klaas and Jannetje (Brons) van Donkersgoed. She grew up on a small farm, lived simply with meager means.

Joan married John van den Ham in 1953 and immigrated to Canada immediately afterwards. She had many stories of hardships and challenges as she and John adjusted to life in a new country in which neither of them could speak the language. Their first home was a small, single bedroom home in Chater, Manitoba.

Motherhood was Joan’s primary calling and she took this task very seriously. Her goal, she used to say, was to have a dozen kids but after the birth of her 8th child the doctor advised her that she might be getting a little tired and it was best to stop. She was the most giving, loving, unselfish woman you could ever meet. Having attended housekeeping school in Holland she knew how to sew, crochet, knit, and do almost any craft. She was a very good teacher, patiently teaching these skills to her daughters and many others in the local 4-H club.

Joan’s commitment wasn’t only to the physical needs of her family though, her higher calling was to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). She taught God’s word at home verbally and by modeling a Christian spirit, a submissive marriage and biblical discipline. Conversations with her often circled back to God’s sovereignty and trusting the Lord and she lived each day in full submission to his will. She often quoted the phrase, “We don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.”

No one was a stranger to Joan. She had the gift of hospitality and was quick to invite family, friends, and complete strangers to join the family for a meal or cup of coffee. It was commonplace to have guests on Sundays as she would invite anyone who visited the church over for lunch As she put it – “It’s no problem, we can just add water to the soup.” At 10:00 each morning or 3:00 each afternoon she could be counted on to serve coffee or tea to anyone who stopped by. She had a way of making everyone feel welcome and no one left hungry.

Once her children were grown, Joan found time to participate in the neighborhood bible study and to volunteer once a week at Fairview Personal Care Home – visiting residents and helping out as needed. Ironically, Fairview became her home the last years of her life and the staff at Fairview provided her with excellent care. Thank you to each one who ministered to her, keeping her hands busy and bringing joy to her each day.

Joan is survived by eight children, 27 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren: Son, Herman and Dianne; Kimberly, Douglas (Louise), Christina (Casey), Greg (Benil), Michael (Kiera). Daughter, Janet and Larry Wierenga; Trevor (Lauren), Sandra (Matt), Jody (Drayson), Jason (Kaylee). Daughter, Arlene and Tom Mitri, Christopher (Cheryl), Pamela (Jarrod). Daughter, Evelyn and Todd McKim; Steven (Tara), Travis (Stefanie), Ryan (Kimberley). Son, Clarence and Lil; Cheryl (Devin), Dave (Jaime), Lori (Steven), Jen (Josh). Daughter, Brenda and Bruce Bunting; Joel (Morgan), Lisa (Travis), Hailey. Daughter, Joyce and Ed Kistemaker; Jonathan (Rachel), Stephanie (Jake), Rachel, Jennifer (Alec). Son, Paul and Sherry; Tyler (Samantha), Tara (Anthony).

Joan loved to laugh. She had a sense of humor that was infectious and when you spent time with her, she had a way of getting you to laugh as well. Her life mission to serve the Lord, her unwavering faith, stoic perseverance in all circumstances and refusal to grumble have served as a testimony to many of those who knew her. She always smiled, always encouraged and always saw good in life. She will be dearly missed but we celebrate that she now rests in the arms of her heavenly father.

A Private Family Service will take place on Thursday, August 20, 2020. The family invites you to view the service remotely at 11:00 a.m. – a link will appear approximately 10 minutes prior to the service on Joan’s memorial page on

Donations in memory of Joan may be made to CRC relief efforts:;jsessionid=00000000.app30110a?df_id=8461&8461.donation=form1&mfc_pref=T&NONCE_TOKEN=AB929529CE3C401F2BA5ED9F8FA5B0EF
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Service Details

A Private Family Service will take place on Thursday, August 20, 2020. The family invites you to view the service remotely at 11:00 a.m. – a link will appear approximately 10 minutes prior to the service on Joan’s memorial page on

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Private Condolence

Caroline Campbell

Posted at 11:32am
Dear Van Den Ham family,
We have been thinking of you and praying for you during this sad and reflective time. What a lifetime of wonderful memories. It must be difficult especially for those of you who are far away. We pray for comfort and peace as you mourn the loss of your dear mother and grandmother. May you also feel joy as you celebrate her life which was rooted in faith and love. Lots of love to all of you!
Brent and Caroline Campbell and family

Jannet de Jong

Posted at 12:58pm
Dear family,
We just watched the ceremony. A very respectful one. We recognized a lot of the things Evelyn told. We have such a good memories at the times we were in Canada. My dad and I were at the funeral of oom Jan. And later on we visit tante Teuntje and went with her to the place where she will be buried today. We wish you all the strength and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tsjeard en Jannet

Klaas van Donkersgoed

Posted at 06:42am
Beste Familie Van den Ham,

Ik wil jullie allen condoleren met het verlies van Tante Teuntje. Tante Teuntje, de zus van mijn vader die voor mij natuurlijk altijd ver weg was in Canada. In September 2012 heb ik haar van dichtbij mogen ontmoeten en leren kennen toen ik met mijn vader, haar broer Jan, op familie bezoek was in Canada. Zij liet zien dat zij zeer gastvrij, buitengewoon vriendelijk, geïnteresseerd, meelevend en behulpzaam was. Voor mijn vader en mij was dit een reis om nooit meer te vergeten en we zijn tot op de dag van vandaag blij mee dat we dat gedaan hebben. Ik wens jullie veel sterkte en kracht om het verlies van tante Teuntje te verwerken.

Klaas van Donkersgoed Jzn.

Ps. Ik heb een 10-tal foto's van September 2012 uploaded. Ik zie ze nog niet verschijnen, maar neem aan dat het goed komt. Zo niet, aarzel niet om daar dan naar te vragen.

Daniel vanHeyst

Posted at 10:25am
Dear Van Den Ham family: Rhonda and I are thinking of you these days as you together say goodbye to your mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Reading the memories you have shared on the website brought back to my mind the warm hospitality and fun of the Van Den Ham household at the dairy farm that I experienced from a very young age. Janet, I remember with fondness your generosity and hospitality to me as you drove me in your old Pontiac sedan down to Dordt College several times so that we could continue our studies there back in the late 70's. God bless you all. Daniel vanHeyst

Donna Young & family

Posted at 06:01pm
Herman, Dianne & families. Our deepest sympathy in the loss of a wonderful lady. You will many wonderful memories. May your faith and the strength/support of family & friends help you through this difficult time. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

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