Pieter (Piet) Meliefste was born July 27, 1927 to Cornelis Meliefste and Francina Joosse in Middelburg, a city in Zeeland, a province of the Netherlands. He was the fourth child in the family, a middle child.
After grade seven, at the age of thirteen, Pieter began to earn his own keep, working for a farmer. He moved away from Middelburg and his family to live at the farm a bit to the south. He would come home on the weekends to regale his family with stories of what he had worked at on the farm and of things he had learned. He quite enjoyed the farm life and his independence. He also experienced wartime as a farm worker, telling stories of seeing the bombing of the Westerschelde inlet. Not long after his farming debut, at the age of 20, Pieter joined the Marines. His older brother Kees was a sailor, and Piet looked up to him. His stint in the Marines lasted two years, which he completed with a certificate as First Class Mariner in October 1949.
Not much later Pieter met Cornelia (Corrie) Verstraten, and she became his dearly beloved wife in February of 1951. Immediately after marrying, Pieter and Cornelia immigrated to Canada, putting their hope and trust in their Lord to take care of them. Pieter was sponsored as a farm laborer by a farmer in the area of Taber, Alberta. He spent one year on the farm, arriving in the dead of winter and survived a sugar beet planting and harvesting. Pieter found employment at a roofing company, Charlton and Hill, and so moved his young family to a rented house on a farm just outside of Lethbridge. It was a good place to live and raise a young family, and the Lord took care of Piet and Corrie and their large young family: Corny, Inga, Francis, Gerald, Linda, and Frank. Pieter remained with Charlton and Hill until his retirement, working himself up in the business.
As a young immigrant Piet became instrumental in the infant years of the Coaldale Canadian Reformed Church, where he served as an elder for many years. He served with thankfulness, and we know from friends that they appreciated him as an elder: he never judged and had a kind heart. As the church in Coaldale grew, so did its pastoral needs. Dad saw many ministers come and go in Coaldale and recognized great qualities in all of them. His children loved hearing his stories of those early immigrant years, when times were tough but everyone looked out for each other and helped each other out. The church became their family and anchor, as it was for many other immigrant families.
Piet and Corrie loved Canada and its many opportunities. They became Canadian citizens in 1962. They both availed themselves of educational opportunities whenever it was possible, and Piet insisted all of his children receive an education beyond grade 12. Some followed Corrie and became teachers, one became a nurse, and some went into the trades, following in Piet’s footsteps. It was important to Dad to do the best you could. Piet was involved and took great interest not only in his church but also in the broader community. He served on the town council of Coaldale for many years and sat on the board of the Barons-Eureka Health Unit. The daily newspaper was a continual source of information for Pieter, which he read until he entered the hospital a week and a half ago. From an early age, he taught his children about politics the importance of voting in an election. There were many lively discussions about church and politics in the Meliefste household.
During their retirement years, Piet and Corrie loved to travel. Their Lord had blessed them both with good health, and so they drove their motorhome throughout Canada and all of the United States, and even as far as Mexico and Costa Rica. Their travelling stories were not dull; they loved exploring new places. For most of their married life, Piet and Corrie lived in Coaldale. They loved southern Alberta’s big blue skies and sunny winters. In their older years, they moved into the Elim retirement home in Lethbridge, where they had several good years before Pieters’s beloved wife Corrie passed on to glory after 66 years of marriage. This was tough on Pieter, and as children we knew Dad needed some extra care, and so he came to live in Langley, BC. He had two and a half wonderful years living at Avalon Gardens, right around the corner from his three daughters. The sons visited when they could and phoned him regularly.
After living nearly 93 years on this earth the Lord has called Pieter home to his everlasting dwelling place
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