There are three important words in life. Love, honesty, and trust.
Tom’s everyday actions revolved around these three keywords. It didn’t matter if you were one of his daughters, a friend or a complete stranger, he treated everyone with the same respect. Honesty, however, was the quality Tom admired most. He led by example and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Tom was a humble, patient man who will be dearly missed. Thankfully, he will live on in all those he touched through the memories and stories he left us.
Teunis “Tom” was born on Friday, April 24, 1953 to Gijsbert and Jacoba (Groeneveld) Janssen in Ede, Netherlands. He was the youngest of eight boys; Jan, Mies, Gijs, Jaap, Rein, Aart, Joop and Teus (Tom). The Janssen family resided on a farm on the outskirts of the town where he attended public school in Lunteren. Tom then attended trade school in Ede for three years, becoming a licensed carpenter at the young age of 15.
In 1973, while on holidays in Mallorca, Spain Tom met a young woman by the name of Nanny “Nancy” Schuur who was also there vacationing with a friend. This was the first time they met, even though they had been dancing at the same venue back in the Netherlands, Frans Van Tellingen, every Saturday night. The young couple married on Thursday, July 10, 1980 and just a month later, immigrated together to Canada on August 8, 1980. Canada presented more opportunities and a brighter future for the newlyweds. Initially, they settled with Tom’s brother Jan for a short period of time, before purchasing their first home on the 14th of Bentinck. The Janssen family soon began to grow, with the arrival of their four daughters; Joyce (1982), Amy (1984), Angela (1988) and Nicole (1994).
Upon arrival in Canada, Tom began working for John Kuiper Construction and remained with them for the next ten years. In May of 1989, the Janssens moved into a spec home on Sideroad 5, before building a new home on the 12th of Bentinck. It was at this time that Tom started his own business, TJ Construction. The year was 1990. After many years of doing home renovations and agricultural construction, he later concentrated more on building new homes.
Tom had always been interested in real estate and development and enjoyed this opportunity more in recent years. In March of 2018, Jako Developments Inc. was formed with Harry and Leony Koelen and their vision of Forest Creek Estates became a reality. In August of 2020, Tom and Nancy sold their family home and moved to Forest Creek.
Life wasn’t all work and no play for Tom. He loved anything that was fast and had a motor. Tom was a big fan of Formula 1 and any form of motorcycle racing. He enjoyed his fair share of time on motorcycles and snowmobiles. As most of you know, Tom was a Ford guy and wasn’t afraid to let his preference be known.
Many Friday nights were spent out in the shop, having a few drinks – most likely a rye and Coke, hanging with the guys. These evenings often involved a poker game which Tom always looked forward to. Tom was also a bird enthusiast. He even tried his hand at breeding Kakariki’s, a small parrot, and found great pleasure in just watching the birds gather at his feeders. He would entertain himself by reading or watching the news on CNN or Fox, sports, or a good Western movie. When it came to reading, he enjoyed documentaries, true stories and war novels.
Tom loved the heat and could be found sunbathing even if there was still snow on the ground. He particularly enjoyed the beach and hot summer days. Tom enjoyed kayaking with Nancy and Sunday drives together for ice cream. Tom also enjoyed travelling. For many years, he returned annually to the Netherlands to celebrate special occasions with family. Tom enjoyed travelling South with Nancy, his favourite destinations being Costa Rica and Florida. He and Nancy also explored Northern Ontario and recently took a road trip through Western Canada and the United States. He had a soft spot for impoverished countries. He tried to help wherever he could and spent time in the Dominican Republic building a church and over the years provided support to a variety of other missionary ventures.
It should be no surprise, but Tom’s top priority was always Nancy and the girls. As the girls grew up, Tom eagerly welcomed his sons-in-law as his own and enjoyed the guy time. During their childhood, Tom loved taking the girls for snowmobile rides. He never hesitated to take a day off work to join the girls on school ski trips, skipping the bus home to extend the day on the slopes. The girls also recall the days where dad came home at lunch to take them swimming in Scone, before returning to work. He taught all the girls a variety of life skills and lessons, always remaining patient with them and never getting upset. He handed down his passion for hobby farming, supporting the girls in raising various animals.
As a carpenter, many other lessons took place in the shop and involved building a variety of things. Some of Tom’s best words of wisdom included, “measure twice, cut once” and “don’t hit the wrong nail!” He always encouraged the girls to work hard and do the job right the first time. They always knew that they could count on dad no matter the time or situation. As they got older, he was their chauffeur on more than one occasion, but also enjoyed being part of the fun when the girls had friends over to the house.
The introduction of grandchildren meant another chapter in Tom’s life, one that he truly treasured. Opa always had a treat on hand for his grandkids. He could often be found playing soccer, or a board game such as chess or Cat & Mouse with Logan and Cason. He also enjoyed watching them participate in their sports and building with them in the shop. He often took Claire and Kaylie, who he lovingly referred to as Double Trouble, for rides on his side-by-side.
Tom made connections everywhere he went. He was easy going and easy to get along with. Through his work, travels, and day to day life, he impacted the lives of many and made lots of close friends. Whether it was a funny joke or his whistling tune, his presence was always appreciated.
Sadly, Tom and his family’s world was turned upside down in November 2019 when he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. This news was devastating for everyone, however Tom’s strong faith in God allowed him to accept his fate, never complaining once. In true Tom fashion, he made the best of each day and appreciated all the support of his family and friends. Tom passed away surrounded by his loving family and closest friend Harry, at Chapman House, Owen Sound on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in his 68th year.
Beloved husband of Wijnanda “Nancy” (Schuur). Loving father of Joyce (Brent) Nicoll of Chesley, Amy (Pat) Madill, Angela (Chris) Hopkins, all of Durham and Nicole (Andy) Peterson of Walkerton. Cherished Opa of Claire, Kaylie, Logan and Cason. Tom will be dearly missed by brothers Gilbert (Elizabeth) of Hanover, Marinus, Rein (Jennie), Aart (Dina), Joop (Marie-Jose), sisters-in-law Jans, Willie, and brother-in-law Ruud Schuur, all of Holland. He was predeceased by his brothers Jan, Jaap and his parents Gijsbert and Jacoba (Groeneveld) Janssen.
A public visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 3 – 8 p.m. In order to attend, all guests must call the funeral home and register – please call (519 363-2525) anytime daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to register. All visitors will be required to wear face masks and socially distance. A private funeral service celebrating Tom’s life will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. A recording of the service will be available on the funeral home website Thursday. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Chapman House or Chesley Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.