October 15, 1942 – April 25, 2022
In loving memory ~
After several months of health challenges, and spending precious time with family at her side, our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Vernagean Goertz, passed away peacefully on April 25, 2022, aged 79.
It’s hard to sum up her life in a few sentences, but to know her was to know Love. This came naturally to her from her Mom Helen and Grandma Maude who both had a tremendous influence on Vernagean’s life. As the eldest in her family, she played a significant role of support for each of her siblings throughout their lives.
Vernagean had the gift of hospitality and many guests visited over the years, always commenting on how welcome she made them feel. The coffee pot was always on and the door was always open to any who needed a place to stay. Her chocolate chip cookies, applesauce cookies, homemade waffles, pies, banana bread and lefse were among the many delicious treats served up in the kitchen. She delighted in spending time with family and friends, laughing as she played board games with competitive flare, catching up and sharing stories over a cup of coffee while fitting puzzles or crafting together.
Vernagean had a knack for creating journal photo albums, painting, crafting, sewing, and gardening; her hands were always busy making beautiful things for others to enjoy. She made every house that they lived in a ‘home’.
Vernagean loved, encouraged and inspired her children over the years. She was especially proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and loved spending time with them, attending their races, games, and concerts, creating keepsake quilts for them, and regularly sharing her homemade goodies, loafs, pies & canned peaches with them among other handmade treasures.
Born October 15, 1942 in Minot, North Dakota, Vernagean moved to Vancouver BC in 1960 after graduating from high school to attend Vancouver Bible Institute. It was in Vancouver that she met the love of her life, Les Goertz, and they were married in 1962. They raised three children while living in various cities in BC and Washington State.
Vernagean served in ministry for over 40 years alongside her husband, an ordained minister, at churches in Canada and the USA, including traveling overseas to Russia and the Philippines. Over the years, she operated small businesses in crafts, photo albums, and was involved with the distribution of Les’ book “Not-Yet-Christian, The 10 Stages of The Spiritual Journey”. A writer herself, she shared stories as she led girls’ clubs and ladies’ groups and served as camp counsellor. She sang soprano in choirs, taught Sunday classes and participated in many other programs, including grief counselling. In the early 90’s, she worked supporting those with special needs in her community. Her compassionate, warm and supportive nature encouraged all who had the privilege to spend time with her.
Predeceased by her husband Les Goertz, after over 53 wonderful years of marriage. Also predeceased by her parents, Willard and Helen (Baldwin) Nelson, brother Doug Nelson, sisters-in-law Cheryl Nelson, Elma Bergstrom and Norma Goertz, brother-in-law Dave Bergstrom, son-in-law Phil Goddard, and stepmother Myrna Nelson. Vernagean is survived by daughter Christine (Tom) Nichols, son Mike (Kristen) Goertz, daughter Camille Goddard, grandchildren Jacob (Alissa), Olivia, Grace, Kristen (Kyle), Heidi, Jillian (Jayman), and great-granddaughters Airlyn and Murphy. Also survived by sisters Cathy (Dennis) Stromme, Dianne (Rod) Neufeld, Janet Sabados, brothers Curt (Patrice) Nelson and Brad (Julie) Nelson, brothers-in-law Cliff Goertz and Ray (Denise) Goertz, numerous nieces and nephews, a large extended family, and a far reaching network of people who came into contact with her and her husband Les over the years.
Many thanks to the community of friends, doctors and healthcare professionals who supported Vernagean over these past seven months, especially during her time at Holmberg House. We take comfort in knowing that her journey in eternity continues and that she is now with dear loved ones who have gone on before.
Please join us in celebrating her life. The Visitation with Family & Viewing will be held Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 2310 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford, BC. Following a private family graveside service, Vernagean’s Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, May 5, 2:00 pm, at Brookswood Baptist Church, 20581-36 Avenue, Langley, BC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Abbotsford Hospice Society (for Holmberg House).
Arrangements under the direction of Woodlawn Funeral Home, Abbotsford, BC.
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