It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear Mother, Ann.  She passed peacefully with family at her side.  Ann left us the way she wished and prayed for.

Ann is survived by a large family. Her brother Case, her boys, John (Diana), Pete (Liz), Gerry (Anita), and Jim (Roxanne).  Ann was fortunate to have a “daughter” in her life as well, Jenny Nielsen. To her family, Ann was known as Oma and what a wonderful Oma she was.  In addition to her four sons, she is survived by 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.  Oma treasured every one in her family and showed them unconditional love no matter if they “were up to no good”.   Oma always focused on the positive side of life and could often be found with a sparkle in her eye, a heart-felt laugh and a good joke.

Ann had an intriguing life story which found her born in Rotterdam Netherlands.  She started her younger life in Curacao WI. Ann was a young teacher stepping into a new world after WWII.   It was there she met her husband, Pete Broere, an industrial electrician who had also decided to head out to the West Indies.  Ann and Pete met on a bridge in Curacao. It was love at first sight.   After leaving Curacao and deciding to finally emigrate to Canada, the growing family lived in several mining communities throughout Eastern Canada.  Story has it that Oma was very good at scaring off bears before her kids set off to school.  The family finally settled in Dryden, Ontario.  Tragically, Oma lost her beloved Pete in an industrial accident in 1971.

Never a woman who was held back by adversity, she picked up the reins of being a single-mom to four boys, re-educated herself in bookkeeping and set about getting a job.  She worked as a bookkeeper and later as a travel agent.  During her years in Dryden she made many good friends and kept up with what was happening through her dear friend Cecile.

It was in Dryden where a gentle plumber won her heart and became a second Dad to her four young men.  He became known as Opa. (Frank Szarkowicz d. 2018) Ann and Frank moved from Dryden to Victoria B.C. in 1999 to escape the cold winters in Ontario.  Ann was thrilled as she never had to shovel a speck of snow again. They enjoyed their life in Victoria immensely.  Oma attended the University of Victoria, because she could, was an avid user and supporter of the library and local restaurants where she and Frank loved to enjoy a good meal.  Ann and Frank continued to travel worldwide in their retirement years.  Never shy of putting their voices to work, they could often be found on the sidelines, along the race route or wherever Oma’s children or grandchildren were competing. For those who didn’t live in Victoria, Oma had a special shelf dedicated to beautiful photos of her beloved little ones.

The family would like to extend their deep gratitude to Dr Aaron Childs and all the staff at Parkwood  Place Retirement Residence for their wonderful and attentive care over Ann’s years there.

Oma, you will be missed by all of your family, friends, and residents at Parkwood . We know your strong faith in God allows you to be looking down upon us all. We are certain you are sharing a good meal and many laughs with those whom you loved and are now reunited with.

A Catholic Mass will be held on Friday, April 14th, 1:30 pm at St Andrew’s Cathedral, 740 View Street, Victoria , BC. A reception will follow at the Penny Farthing Pub, 2228 Oak Bay Road, where you are invited to come and celebrate an incredible life, well lived.

In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the Royal Jubilee hospital Emergency Department.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Beth Cairns

    My sincere condolences for your loss. I had the pleasure of getting to know Ann through her philanthropy to our Victoria hospitals over the last eleven years. Every time we met her first request was to see photos of my boys. Ann would delight in stories about my two sons and she taught me to embrace their antics. Ann reminded me that this time goes fast and to appreciate it. I am so grateful to experienced the joy and wonder that Ann brought to the world.

  • Isa Milman

    Sending my condolences to Ann’s family. Ann was a wonderful person that I was so happy to know. She and Frank were enthusiastic members of the Golden Rods and Reels fishing club, as was my husband, Robert McConnell. He and Frank spent many happy hours fishing together, while Ann and I enjoyed wide-ranging discussions. I enjoyed her company immensely. She was a life-long learner, a compassionate lover of life and an inspiration. May her memory always be for a blessing.

  • Jennifer Davidson

    I am so saddened to learn of Ann’s passing. She was a longtime customer of mine at the farmers market. That relationship continued on even after she moved to Parkwood because she really loved the jams & marmalade. What a sweet lady. I will be keeping the family in my thoughts & holding the memory of Ann in my heart.

  • Jodie Leonzio

    My condolences go out to Jerry and family. I remember going to Jerry’s home when they first moved to Dryden back in the 70’s .

  • Deb Leonzio

    My deepest condolences to Jim and family. Thoughts and prayers are with you all during this sad time.

  • Willem Vermeer

    Met Ann shortly after she started working for Mr. Cortens.
    Frank and Ann were great friends of my parents as well and saw she and Frank on many occasions while they were in Dryden . She had a real zest for life and it showed. Condolences to the family who are missing a wonderful Oma.

    Will Vermeer

  • Bill Vincent

    We send our condolences to Ann’s family. Ann and Frank were good friends during their years in Dryden. We spent many good times in their company. Ann was a great lady and will be missed.
    Bill and Susan Vincent

  • Cindy Palermo

    My sincere condolences for your loss. Your mom was a lovely lady and I always remember her from the years she lived in Dryden. She had a great laugh and smile, and I still can hear her memorable accent.

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