Cor Van Raay, father, companion, prominent cattle and grain farmer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 29, 2021, with family at his side.
Born May 30, 1936 in Nijmegen, Holland, Cor was an enigmatic personality that lived life to the fullest.
As a boy, Cor knew he wanted to be a farmer. He attended agricultural school but realized there wasn't enough land in Holland to farm the way he dreamed. Driven to achieve his goals, Cor arrived in Vancouver in 1959, where he worked as a landscaper. Soon a farming opportunity beckoned in Alberta where Cor began his career growing beets. Later, he added barley, potatoes, and wheat to his crops. In time, he bought land and cattle, developed large feedlots, and honed his marketing skills. He passionately believed if he did what he loved, success would follow. It did. Cor became a leader in the cattle and grain industry. When challenges arose Cor's work ethic, drive, and high expectations, fortified him. With his business acumen and leadership abilities, it was natural for Cor to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and he became partners in numerous business adventures. In later years, Cor successfully extended his farming enterprises into Saskatchewan.
Cor met his future wife, Christine, in Alberta. The couple married on April 20, 1963. Christine's participation in the farm made her a wonderful partner in life and business. They raised six children, Kenneth, Brenda, Sandra, Colleen, Michelle, and Darren. Sadly, Christine passed away in 2005.
Cor believed Canada and his Southern Alberta community provided opportunities which contributed to his success. In a spirit of gratitude and generosity, he gave back to his community by supporting a variety of organizations with monetary donations and service. Among them are the YMCA, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College, and St. Michael’s Health Centre.
He received many honors including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, induction into the Alberta Hall of Fame, Picture Butte's Citizen of the Year award, and an Honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Lethbridge.
Cor was passionate about fitness. He enjoyed cycling, running, and power walking. This balanced well with his love of pie. He ran his first marathon when he was 61. At the age of 70, he embarked on the adventure of a lifetime when he cycled 7,100 km across Canada in 73 days.
Cor cared deeply for his family in his quiet way. He valued being there for his children and grandchildren. Cor’s family is so proud of the great and kind man he was.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Kenneth and Lori Van Raay, daughter and son-in-law, Brenda and Bill Bezooyen; daughter, Sandra Van Raay, daughter and son-in-law, Colleen and Duncan Mackey; daughter, Michelle Van Raay, and son and daughter-in-law, Darren and Crystal Van Raay; grandchildren, Emily, Adam, Dexter, Luke, Zoltan, Sawyer, Sullivan, Lincoln, Agatha, Pax, and Brock.
Cor is also survived by his companion, Julie Perverseff. Julie poured her heart and soul into life with Cor. Cor was fortunate to have this special person wholeheartedly take on life’s adventures in his golden years, including the start of a farming operation in Saskatchewan. Julie can never be thanked enough for the care, support and love she gave Cor these last 10 years.
Cor is predeceased by his wife Christine, parents Maria and Gerrit van Raaij, sisters Joke and Annie. Survived by siblings Henk, Will and Thea.
A Prayer Service will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, at ST. MARTHA’S CATHOLIC PARISH, 355 Columbia Blvd W, Lethbridge, Alberta,
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, August 5, 2021, at ST. MARTHA’S CATHOLIC PARISH, 355 Columbia Blvd W, Lethbridge, Alberta.
A Private Family Service will take place at Mountain View Cemetery following the Funeral Mass.
For those who wish, the Funeral Mass AND Prayer Service will be available to view via livestream by going to https://www.mbfunerals.com/obituary/Cor-VanRaay and scrolling to the bottom of Cor’s obituary.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Those who wish are encouraged to donate to a charity of your choice, or to the Covenant Foundation - Supporting St. Michael’s Health Centre, https://covenantfoundation.ca/ online or mailed to 3C60, 11111 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 0L4
3C60, 11111 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 0L4, Edmonton AB T5K0L4