Obituary of Fenje FYNEBUIK (nee van der Velde)
June 13, 1932 - Tolbert, The Netherlands
January 10, 2020 – Calgary, Alberta
Fenje (Fanny) Fynebuik (nee van der Velde) passed away at 87 years old. She left as she lived, on her own terms.
Fenje spent her childhood and young adult life in the Netherlands and then immigrated to Canada in 1957 to join her future husband, Anton, in their newly adopted homeland. They were married on October 13, 1958 and together they raised two daughters who, according to Anton’s writings, were ‘perfect’. All the makings for a good fairytale.
In her early years, Fanny loved to draw and paint and took a keen interest in the visual arts. She attended the Dutch College of Arts and Crafts for two years and graduated in 1954. The art skills that Fanny brought to Canada enabled her entry to the creative world and eased her integration into Western Canadian life. She continued to study at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary under the tutelage of artists like Margaret Shelton, Rex Brandt, Dave White, Zoltan Szabo, and many more.
She called Calgary home, and she loved her home. Especially her art studio, her south facing back yard, and slathering on her Bain de Soleil to lay out and soak up the sun. She loved her privacy and her own space where she could indulge in her creative spirit. She was happiest while creating her paintings or hiding in a good book. Most of her mornings began with tea in bed, served by either Anton or her daughters. An inside joke, with a thread of truth, was that Fanny was the “Queen” and Karen and Hedy were the “Princesses”.
In 1973 Fanny joined the Calgary Sketch Club. She was dedicated to the group for many years before becoming a lifetime member in 1991, where she held several board positions including her favorite one of camp director, after which, her involvement continued well into the early 2000’s. Fanny painted all the time. It was truly her life’s passion, ‘you’re only an artist if you do it every day’, she would say. In 1983 she became a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. For decades she immersed herself in her natural surroundings which inspired her art and its reflections of the natural world and representations of the Canadian Rockies. She was a recipient of many awards and commissions and had yearly exhibitions in local and provincial galleries. Fanny's work may be found in her personal and collective exhibits as well as in many private and corporate collections in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Fanny loved to travel. Be it return trips to Europe, holidays on the beach at Waikiki, annual RV trips with the whole family, or a day trip to the mountains; she was always up for an adventure. Fanny and Anton were avid car travelers, and together they often escaped Calgary and travelled to connect with their community of friends.
She loved fashion, and shoes, and possessed a real personal flair. Along with a good many top-of-the-line face creams, she was never without her signature scent, Chanel No.5 (which Anton bought for her every Christmas). Fanny was an observant person with a free spirit. To many she was a spitfire, energetic and lively. Known to dress up in costume for events and parties, she would often tell made up tales of her life’s adventures just to see who would believe her. She’d even hide ‘colourful rocks’ (Smarties) around her apartment to create a surprise treasure hunt for her great-grandson – mischievous ‘til the end.
Health and wellness were important to Fanny. She walked every day, and especially loved walking with her beloved dog, Rusty. A companion she reminisced about often. She loved green apples. Raw, peeled, cooked, inside of Jell-O - it didn’t matter, she ate an apple every day (you know how the saying goes!). On the kitchen counter she’d grow her own yogurt, and even alfalfa sprouts for sandwiches. Everyone took their daily vitamins, Fanny made sure of that. But if you did get run down there was no need to worry, making great homemade soups was also one of her fortes.
Fanny loved house plants and flowers, but the dirt not so much. She was very tidy, and always ate with a fork and knife, a skill her grandchildren recall her teaching them as well. She loved doing laundry, right until the end; a love she passed down to her daughters who are also known to revel in new types and scents of detergent.
Fanny believed in angels and her horoscope which, over time, evolved into the ‘Gemini Club’. The members of this club included all her Gemini girlfriends who would meet annually for their birthday celebrations. The ritual of yearly celebrations was of great importance to Fanny and involved ornate productions from decorations to food. These events also sometimes included kitchen bickering, that often ended with Karen or Hedy imitating their parents’ interactions.
Fanny was an intuitive woman. On January 10, 2020 she left Lake Bonavista Village, her much-loved home, via ambulance for the Rocky View Hospital. As she was escorted through the building, she serenely waved goodbye to all her friends, like a beauty queen taking her final glide across the stage. A true Fanny-like departure.
Predeceased by the love of her life, Anton, and lovingly remembered by her daughters Karen and Hedy, son-in-law Steve, grandchildren, Chloe (Kristopher), Kristof (Julia), Renee (Adrien) and great-grandson Owen. All loved her dearly and will never forget her tenacity, wit, charm, grace, and undying love and caring for them.
A special thanks to Lake Bonavista Village Retirement Residence, where Fanny forged many wonderful friendships and lived happily for seven years.
A Celebration of Life will be held at River Park Church (3818-14A Street SW Calgary, AB T2T 3Y2), on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.
In her honour, please donate to Fanny’s long-time association, The Calgary Sketch Club (P.0. Box 34041 Westbrook Post Office) 1610-37th Street SW Calgary, AB T3C-3W2. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Fanny’s obituary at www.McInnisandHolloway.com.
A tree will be planted in living memory of Fenje Fynebuik. McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, CALGARY, AB, T2E 2V6, Telephone: 403-243-8200.