Born as Doede Teitsma on May 15, 1932 with a three-year older brother and two preteen half sisters, I grew up in Brunssum, a town in the coalmine district of southern Limburg, the Netherlands. I liked school, but in high school I did not like to study outside school hours. I just wanted to play. So I failed two classes and my final exam. At age 14 my sister left home and I was appointed as the only ‘organist’ in a small congregation of the Reformed church (art.31). Having to play the pump organ/harmonium at all congregational functions for the next seven years, I believe, must have kept me on the straight and narrow. At sixteen I wanted to leave the country and everything else to make a fresh start. At seventeen I decided to be just myself, regardless of what others thought about me or whatever the consequences of my actions. Nevertheless, and as expected, the following year I ended up in the underground coalmine for four years. After another year as a farm labourer, I could finally emigrate to southern Alberta, Canada in 1955. The following year I sponsored my parents and two younger sisters. A year later I moved to southern B.C. and I chose to become Dennis rather than Donald as my Dutch hosts in B.C. suggested. After all, my name was pronounced Dody, a girl’s name in the U.S. My girlfriend Annie van der Zee from the South Holland province followed me in 1958 after she turned twenty. We married a year later and received six children. See my immigrant story at www.Pier21.ca.
After a dozen labour jobs in construction, at an experimental farm and as a jr.draftsman in Alberta or electrician helper, home delivery sales in the Fraser Valley, or as a farmer in Carman and moving my household ten times in ten years, we accepted a transfer in federal corrections from Abbotsford to Winnipeg, MB as a counselor and later becoming a parole supervisor. Almost every job I held had been offered to me. I was a hopeless job hunter. In the seventies, I was coordinator of a bible study magazine, Almond Branch, for eight years, an elder and in 1974 a delegate to Synod Toronto, while studying at the U of W. In 1975 I attained a BA in psychology and sociology. My hobbies were biking, woodworking, organ playing, family road trips, reading and bible studies. In the eighties I wrote Hymn harmonizations (65), Organ Variations on mainly unfamiliar Psalm tunes, and 30 Organ Offertories in a variety of modes and keys to fit those in the Book of Praise. After 30 years with the Correction Service Canada, I retired at age 63. Having experienced two light strokes and a sawdust allergy, I could still start a new hobby in 2008 and paint landscape pictures. In 2014 I managed to write and type harmonizations for the Psalms and I could update my book of 1990 The Hymns (65). (www.bookofpraise.ca/resources). And now I’m using opportunities given by a one-year free internet service at our new rental apartment. With my wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I enjoy a content life where boredom remains a total stranger.?
Dennis Teitsma passed into eternal glory on April 20, 2018.