Born November 22, 1922 in Tilburg, Holland, Catharina Anna Humphrey (nee Bruers) witnessed WWII first-hand as a teenager and young adult. The horrendous experiences and memories, of seeing young Dutch men die and German soldiers bullying her father in his grocery shop, made a lasting impression on her. But her hardships most likely helped in developing her kind heart – for the rest of her days she led a life of trust in God and giving back to the community in which she lived.
In 1945, Catharina’s life would change significantly after meeting her future husband, Bill, during his army service in Holland. They were married just a few short months after meeting and as a war bride in 1946, Catharina left her family and home behind to travel by ship to her new country of Canada. At only 24 years of age, the decision to re-settle in Canada was not any easy one. But her love for Bill was more than enough for her to take the plunge. Catharina had an exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking trip across the ocean, arriving in Halifax and traveling by train to Chase, where Bill met her at the train station. She and Bill settled in Chase Creek Valley, where Bill had grownup. It was rough living at first – they had only cold water and had to cut wood for heat in the winter. But Catharina was tough and over the next 41 years, she and Bill ranched and logged and built a wonderful and successful life together. The couple had no children, but they kept in touch over the years with the many nieces and nephews in Holland.
Bill and Catharina eventually gave up the demands of farming and ranching and after living in Del Oro for a while, retired to Kamloops. After Bill passed away in 2003 as a result of heart issues, Catharina moved within the Dufferin area where she loved walking in Kenna Cartwright Park, something that she was able to do until the last couple of years of her life. There is now a bench in her memory on Saskatoon Trail. Thanks to her good friend and guardian angel, Phil Churchill, she was able to walk, with assistance, in the park daily. In fact, she was very well-known to the regulars in the park and the dogs would always know when she was coming, running up to her for the treats that she always kept in her pocket.
After years of suffering from strokes, Catharina passed away on September 17, 2018, in Royal Inland Hospital. Given that she and Bill had both depended very much on the hospital over the years, Catharina wished to leave her estate as a legacy gift to the hospital. She was particularly grateful to her doctors, Alison Chung, Franky Mah, and Peter Hopp, for increasing her quality of life in her last years.