Martin Van Bostelen

Obituary of Martin Van Bostelen

On May 19, 2023, Martin Van Bostelen passed away peacefully from an unexpected illness, at Strathmore District Health Services in Strathmore Alberta. He was 90 years old.


Martin was born September 7th, 1932, in Anna Paulowna, North Holland, The Netherlands to Herman and Sijke (nee Horsman) Van Bostelen. He was the oldest of seven children.


On May 10, 1942, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, and Martin became a messenger boy for the Dutch Resistance in his hometown. He would often tell stories of this time, and it shaped his feelings about authority for the rest of his life.


In April 1950, Martin boarded the Volendam with his parents and siblings and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to immigrate to Canada. The family settled in Southern Alberta; first in Nobleford, then Burmis, and finally Coaldale.

Martin moved to Smithers and worked as a logger. He bought a house in town, and his parents moved in to take care of it while he was in the bush. It was at this time that he got his pilot's license.


In 1975, Martin began corresponding with Barbara, a Trinindadian woman working in Vancouver as a nanny. They had common goals, and were married October 15, 1976, by a Justice of the Peace in Lethbridge, surrounded by Martin's family. Soon after, they went to Trinindad and picked up their son Yudi and brought him to Canada.


Martin, Barb and Yudi moved around southern Alberta, following farm work, then settled in Calgary.  Alice was born in 1980, and in 1983, Martin, Barb, Yudi and Alice moved to Strathmore, Alberta, because the town had irrigation. Martin remained in that home until the day he died. 


Martin and Barb had an open door for anyone in need, and with their propensity for picking up strays - both human and feline - many people called the Maple Grove house home, including Seccora, their adopted daughter. Martin and Barb were also active in the Canadian Reformed Church at Calgary and were known for their legendary picnic lunches at Pierce Estate Park.


After retiring, Martin threw himself fully into his three favourite hobbies: gardening, watching "his" sports (football and curling), and making wine. Sometimes he did all three at once!


When Barb was diagnosed with Alzheimers, Martin became her primary caregiver, with assistance from Yudi, Alice and Seccora. When Barb moved into long term care at Strathmore hospital, Martin joined her for every meal, and played Yatzhee with her before she went to bed. He also became active in The Happy Gang and the Strathmore Legion.


After Barb passed, Martin was heartbroken, and kept her wheelchair beside his armchair and her photos surrounding him until he died.


Martin was a man who lived on his own terms, a skill he imparted to his children. And he died on his own terms as well, quietly and quickly, surrounded by his children, having been able to do what he wanted, when he wanted, all his life.


Martin was predeceased by his siblings Alice and John, his parents Herman and Sijke, his parents-in-law Indirjit and Judhania, his brothers-in-law Shaffic, Raffic, Rajan and Mans, and his sister-in-law Toya. Martin is survived by his children Yudi (Tracey), Alice (Mike) and Seccora, sister Mary, and brothers George (Maria), Neil (Gertrude), and Peter (Sonja), as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and friends. He will be sorely missed for his many stories, and his zest for life.


In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Strathmore Legion #10.  A celebration will be held at 1pm on June 16, 2023 at the Strathmore Legion.


"So, I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 8:15

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