It is with mixed emotions that the family of Engelina (Nini) Berendse announce her peaceful passing after a long full life of 89 years. She left her cherished private space at Riverview Health Center on December 30, 2022.
Nini was born in Scheveningen, The Netherlands on November 21, 1933 to Sibilla and Franciscus Mittertreiner. She was the youngest of 3 children. Her brother Frans passed away in 2016 but her sister Therese is still with us to mourn her loss. In addition, Nini leaves behind her children: Sheila (Robert), Raymond (Cheryl), Joy, her grandchildren: Evan (Kayla), Chelsey (Christian), Nicole (Paul), Stefan, Alyssa (Josh), Amanda and her former husband and cherished friend Arie or Harry as most people know him. She also leaves behind her beloved nieces and nephew and their families in Holland as well as many good friends locally.
Nini’s early years were very challenging due to the tumultuous times in which her family found themselves. Money and food were hard to come by during the Great Depression and the situation was made even worse by the ensuing WWII and the occupation of Holland. She learned early what it meant to be hungry and her intolerance of food waste endured her entire life. The end of the war brought new beginnings. She met her future husband Harry and a plan was hatched to emigrate to Canada. After a brief stop in New York where she was a nanny for a UN diplomat, she landed in Winnipeg to begin her new life with Harry. They bought their first and only home in Transcona in 1958 and raised their family there.
Nini was a loving mother and homemaker. She was a wonderful cook and a talented seamstress who enjoyed making beautiful coats, clothes and even drapes for her family and home. She also enjoyed knitting and crocheting. Nini loved to dance and she and Harry did so beautifully. She was a devout Catholic and had many friends in Blessed Sacrament Parish where she was an active member. She and Harry also devoted many years to Marriage Encounter. She had a strong connection to the L’Arche community and thoroughly enjoyed her pilgrimage to Taize, France to see Jean Vanier as part of that community. She provided consistent financial support for this and many other charitable organizations.
Nini had many loves, particularly that of nature and all the characters in it. At her cottage at Black Sturgeon Lake, she would sit and watch the goings on for hours, fascinated by the actions and interactions of all her beloved little creatures. She made sure that all of her feeders were full so as not to disappoint them. Her fascination with nature was still as strong as ever even in her waning months as her favorite pastime was watching and learning about nature in numerous documentaries. Other great pleasures were her love of map reading and geography and watching beautiful rainbows dance on her walls when the sunlight shown through her many window crystals. However, most of all she cherished her many deep and meaningful chats with her beloved grandchildren. She took the greatest pleasure in the simple things life had to offer.
Nini’s life did not come to an end with her passing. She lives on through all of us who know her through her lessons, wisdom, love and hope and her many Omaisms. She prepared her family well through our many conversations about her passing and the legacy she leaves us with. Her final months and days were an inspiration to many of us who marvelled at her ability to adapt, multiple times, to new surroundings and people while dealing with her failing body, all the while maintaining her cheery demeanor.
The family would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the staff on 2 W at Riverview Health Centre for their devoted care and attention to our mom. Thanks, from the bottom of our hearts.
In lieu of flowers Nini would be most pleased knowing that a donation on her behalf was made to the L’Arche community or Blessed Sacrament Parish. A mass and celebration of her life will be held at Blessed Sacrament, 710 Roanoke St. on Tuesday January 10, 2023 at 11:00 am.