Celebration of Life Service
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Saturday, August 11, 2018
251 Garafraxa Street
Interment: Private Family Service
McLean's Cemetery, Bognor ON
Cornelius 'Corny' Peter Vlielander
June 7, 1942 – August 6, 2018
Vlielander- Cornelius (Corny) Peter Vlielander of Chatsworth, passed with his loving family by his side, at Grey Bruce Health Services, Owen Sound, on August 6, 2018 at age 76. Beloved husband of 55 years to Fay Vlielander (nee Connell). Cherished father of Lynn Hellyer (Nelson) of Markdale, Carolyn Marx (Peter) of Owen Sound, Lisa Hartley (Rick) of Shallow Lake, and John Vlielander (Chris) of Calgary. Dear grandpa of Rachel Phillips (Paul), Leah Stajcer (Matt), Josh and Brooklyn Marx, Lander, Derek and Elyse Hartley, and Jacob and Eden Vlielander. Doting great-grandpa of Natalie and Benjamin Phillips. Also survived by his siblings Alice VanderPloeg, Leonard Vlielander (Linda), in-laws Ann Johnston and Allen Connell (Rae). Lovingly remembered by many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents Jacob and Adrianna Vlielander (nee Herwynen), parents-in-law David and Blanche Connell (nee McCauley), brothers in-law Ralph VanderPloeg and Gordon Johnston.
At the age of 5, Corny's parents boarded their young family on the Tabinta, only the second vessel to leave the Netherlands after World War II, with nothing but a trunk and a few hundred dollars heading for a new home in Canada. Sponsored by a local farmer, they settled near Massie, committing one year of work to their host family, the Sutherlands. This hard work paid off and the family would soon purchase their own farm just north of Massie in 1950. Not speaking English yet, Corny was off to grade 1 at the Massie School, walked there each day by his first friend in Canada, Ronnie Rice, who spoke no Dutch! Corny soon found out he had a passion and talent for baseball and enjoyed the Massie-Bognor rivalry. Corny continued his schooling, graduating from OSCVI. Corny's first job after high school was at Dominion Motors in Owen Sound and this certainly fostered his love of the automobile. He then went to Toronto, hoping to become a police officer, but was talked out of that, and instead settled for pitching for their baseball team for two summers! Employed as a union drywaller, he worked across Ontario completing residential, commercial and industrial projects. His first true love though was Fay, and they would marry in August of 1963. They purchased their first home in Bramalea and began raising their family. The purchase of the 10th line United Church near Walters Falls became their weekend retreat from the City which they converted into a home and later apartments. Corny dreamed of owning a farm he frequently passed by that overlooked the valley. This dream became a reality when he and Fay purchased the 75 acre farm and named it 'Valley View Acres'. Loving the farm life, Corny completely restored the farmhouse since it had no electricity or running water. It was here that Corny and Fay would raise their 4 children, Lynn, Carolyn, Lisa, and John, and the hobby farm would also become home to beef cattle, chickens, goats, sheep, and rabbits. A special border collie named Cassie was one of his favourite pets. The hard-working Corny also established his own drywall business along with a used car dealership. His first collector cars included a '66 Mustang, ’56 T-Bird and a ’56 glass top Crown Victoria. Corny pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot obtaining his license for several years. He soon became an avid, lifelong collector of all gas station memorabilia, including signs, visible gas pumps, oil cans, fire extinguishers, as well as John Deere tractors and '78 - '79 Ford pickups. Corny and Fay would make road trips, often sleeping in their conversion van, to Dunkirk, Carlisle, or Hershey Pennsylvania, and Barrie flea markets to source more collectibles; Corny heading to the automotive section, Fay to the jewelry section. The purchase of a motorhome, lead them on travels from west coast to east coast and to Alaska. Somehow, Corny still found time to serve as municipal councillor for over 20 years with first the Village and then the Township of Chatsworth. Corny loved to socialize and talk. He was an avid storyteller and would engage complete strangers at coffee shops or on park benches, soon having them sharing their life stories with him. In his younger years, Corny would entertain friends and family by walking on his hands across a room or on occasion up a set of stairs. He could also be seen extending himself horizontally from a flagpole. At parties he loved to play guitar and sing at impromptu jam sessions. Corny was first and foremost a family man; he loved his children and grandchildren dearly. Although Canada was his adopted home, he was so proud to be a Canadian, just as he was of his Dutch heritage. His outgoing nature endeared him to everyone he met and he will be sorely missed by all.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the GARAFRAXA HILL FUNERAL HOME, Chatsworth, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on Saturday August 11, 2018. Private family interment at McLean's Cemetery, Bognor. If desired, donations to the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce, or the charity of one's choice would be appreciated by the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.garafraxahillfuneral.com