We are in deep sorrow, having been deprived, through lengthy illness, of our much valued wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, athlete, public servant and friend. Still, we must advise the passing of Grietje Towers, 81 years, long-time resident and community-builder of Red Deer, August 14, 2017.
Born October 19, 1935, in Den Helder, the Netherlands, Grietje Petrus, her dad Jasper, mother Grietje and brother Jasper were all under Nazi occupation when Grietje was but 5 years of age.
After the conflict and due to war wreckage, Dad Petrus was unable to rebuild his coastal business and after the attempt, sought destiny in Canada, first at Prince George, B.C. where Grietje, a teller in the Royal Bank, met her future husband, Don Towers.
Pulled by vocations to Rocky Mountain House, the couple built their home where they had their first three children and started a 60 year bond. A fourth child was born when the pair moved to Red Deer where Don reported and edited for The Advocate and Grietje began her long association with the City Aquatics department. In this job, Grietje was supported by her early experience and training as an ocean distance swimmer which she had pursued while living in Holland and Prince George. Through the Red Cross and private sponsors, including The Advocate, Catalina and Marlin Swim Club, Grietje taught generations of children and adults to swim and as a lifeguard saw no aquatic tragedies on her watch which spanned 35 years.
Her children Theresa Rickard (Steve), Joanne Towers, Joe Towers (Suzanne), and Martha Towers (Greg), grandchildren Josh (Stephanie), Eryn (Jeremy), Lauren, Joseph and great-grandson Devon, with Don survive and were at her side to the last.
Grietje has many friends, most of whom shared time at the pool. Predeceased by her mother, father, brother, and her brother’s sons, Ronald and Robert. Grietje is also mourned by Aunt Jane, James and Heidi Petrus of Campbell River, B.C; Aunt Shirley Telfer, Penticton B.C, cousins Marion and Ken Walko, Calgary and the circle of Audrey and Peter Westrate, The Happy Wednesday Gang, and Riet Van Der Kley of Toronto, and a wealth of relatives in The Netherlands.
Abiding by her wish, the family will hold a tribute to their great lady at a later date.
The Family is grateful to the professional and ancillary staff of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, including Doctors Regina Donnelly and Amy Philpott for their unstinting care of their patient.