Obituary of Michael Tudor Nyenhuis
Mike Nyenhuis passed quietly from this life to the next from his room at Forest Hill Long-term Care Home in Kanata on April 8, 2023. Predeceased by his loving wife Pat (Letetia Mae Williams Duplisea), he is survived by their three children: son Joe Nyenhuis (Claudette) of Ottawa and daughters Mary Lynn Lalonde (Mike) of Halifax and Elizabeth Dettweiler (Greg) of Mississauga; and eight grandchildren Jessica, Lilly, Grace, Kimberly, Hope, Reid, Gordon, and Rose. Also left to grieve are his sister Lucia Daley and family (Kate McMahon, Charlie Daley), and brother-in-law Freddie Duplessis (fiancé Kathryn MacLean) and family (Patricia McAllister, Lori Delanoy, Fred Jr.). Mike was predeceased by wife Pat, parents Koenraad and Edith Nyenhuis, brother-in-law Roger Daley, and sister-in-law Ethel Duplessis.
On May 18, 1938 Michael Tudor Nyenhuis made his debut in Montreal, Quebec, a first child to Edith Louise and Koenraad Nyenhuis. Little sister Lucia arrived the following year. Soon afterwards, when his homeland of Holland was invaded by German forces, Koenraad joined the army, to help his family in Holland, and was shipped overseas. Edith did a stellar job of raising their little ones, whom she described as “perfect in every way.” In 1945 the war was won and Koenraad returned safely home. Then at the age of 7, Michael had to get to know his father and adjust to a new family dynamic. The family of four then moved to Aylmer, Quebec, across the Ottawa River from the Nation’s Capital.
Growing up in a house in Aylmer, Michael and his sister experienced “the local wildlife” and many stray animals were rescued, even a donkey. The family also spent some time living abroad as part of Canadian diplomatic missions. Michael developed a love of travel, especially to historic sites and art museums, and most importantly to the beaches. Even in his elder years, he could not pass a large body of water without heeding the call to go for a swim. Swimsuit and towel were among the emergency items always packed in the car trunk.
With his parents still living abroad, Michael came back to Canada to study Forestry at the University of New Brunswick. His interest moved to the Arts and he graduated with honors in a double major of History and English, and a minor in Political Science. He also earned his Teaching Certificate and taught high school while pursuing his Master’s in History at UNB. While at university, Michael met his bride-to-be, Patsy Duplisea, who coincidentally or providentially was the roommate of his sister at MacDonald College in Montreal. Michael and Pat were married in Pat’s hometown of Keswick, New Brunswick on June 28, 1963.
Michael taught in a number of cities (Bathurst, NB, Cobden, ON, and Ottawa, ON) and in a number of schools within the Ottawa Board of Education. He earned a Master's of Education degree in Guidance with Special Education. He and Pat lived and raised their children in Kanata, ON for most of those years. Visits to Pat’s family’s farm in New Brunswick, canoeing and camping with his family gave him pleasure in the summer months.
For decades, Michael served and supported his family and his community. His consistent enthusiasm and dedication made him a pillar in many community organizations including Kanata United Church where he spearheaded the Building Project Committee, and later the Property Maintenance Committee. Mike also served on the Outreach Committee, the Kanata Interfaith Council, and Amnesty International from 1975 on. He and his wife, Pat, were fundamental to the success of the KUC Mayfairs and Flea Markets as well as many other KUC fundraising activities. Mike joined Pat on the KUC Pastoral Care Team where they served together for years. From 1975 to roughly 1982, Michael was a Scouts Canada leader, leading the Kanata Scout Troop to Canadian and International Jamborees in PEI and Sweden. He also put his carpentry and various other skills to use helping at Circle Square Ranch in Arden, ON, with his family.
His studies at the Lay School of Theology in Ottawa led to many years as a lay preacher with the United Church of Canada, Ottawa Presbytery, leading services and delivering sermons throughout the Ottawa Valley and Gatineau areas.
Michael always loved to sing and was a long-time member of the choir at KUC, as well as the Kanata Choral Society, the Nepean Choir, and the Ottawa Carleton Men’s Choir, honouring his Dutch heritage. He and Pat toured Europe with this choir, Mike performing with them in many countries. He loved to laugh and always had a story to tell. He was genuinely interested in people and was always ready to provide some sagely advice or lend a hand, especially if it involved carpentry.
In retirement years, he and Pat enjoyed traveling to many places worldwide. They wintered in Florida where they supported and were supported by their community in Skyview Estates and at Lakeland’s First Baptist Church.
Leaving a legacy of loving hugs, encouraging words, and faith-filled hope, he will be greatly missed.
The family would like to thank his wonderful care providers at Forest Hill who managed the daily needs and made a comfortable home for Dad after his stroke.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Kanata United Church, 33 Leacock Drive, Kanata. Visit kuc.ca for the YouTube live link.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Kanata United Church.