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296 Isabella Street
Pembroke, ON K8A 5S9
Phone: 613-735-5711
Fax: 613-735-6228
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Haas (Zwanikken)

July 20, 1930 – November 17, 2018

Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas Corrie Haas
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— The Murphy Funeral Home

Obituary for Corrie Haas (Zwanikken)

Surrounded by the love of her family, at Miramichi Lodge, Pembroke on Saturday November 17, 2018 at the age of 88 years. Corrie Haas ( nee Zwanikken) of Petawawa, beloved wife of Bert Haas. Loved and cherished mother to Odette Haas (Michael Freeman) Kingston, Maureen Haas (Michael Cartan), Timmins and Yvonne Haas (Roman Wasylyk), Toronto. Loving Oma to Thomas, Danielle, John, Leah, Erin, Alison, Helena and Anna. Dear sister of the late Paul, Mieke Klein- Schiphorst, Felix and Hilda Joosten all of the Netherlands. Friends are invited to share their memories of Corrie with her family during visitation at the MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 296 Isabella Street, Pembroke on Thursday 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 p.m. only. Member s of Our Lady of Sorrows CWL will meet at the Funeral Home Thursday at 3:00 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday November 23 at 10:30 a.m. in Our Lady of Sorrows Church 11 Mohns Avenue Petawawa. Interment St. Columba's Cemetery. In memory of Corrie donations to Pro Life Canada, Miramichi Lodge Auxiliary or Columbus House would be appreciated. Condolences, tributes, donations

Oma is infinite. That was what one of Corrie's grandchildren said when we found out that her cancer had returned, and that sums up exactly how we all felt about her. Corrie/Mom/Oma was so full of life that none of us can conceive of a world without her in it.
Cornelia Henrietta Bernardine Zwanikken was born the 4th of 5 children to Dutch colonial parents in Indonesia. Her father managed a sugar plantation, and she had many adventurous stories of her childhood in the tropics chewing on sugar cane, playing with giant beetles, and travelling to school by rickshaw with her siblings Paul, Mieke, Felix, and Hilde. One legendary Zwanikken family story is of the episode when a tiger was terrorizing their village, and her father as the only gun-owner in the region was called on to deal with it. Then WWII came, and her family was separated and imprisoned in Japanese internment camps. She spent the ages 12 to 15 with her mother and sisters focusing on survival. She spoke of her job of squashing the bedbugs that swarmed their bed nets every night, of the women trapping frogs for meagre extra food, and of her sister stealing the stumps of cabbages from the kitchen for the rest of them to share in their extreme hunger. Some compatriots were lost to starvation and some to currently unheard-of diseases like diphtheria. She almost lost her mother to Beriberi from malnutrition, but the war ended just in time. After being released from the camp, the family was awaiting transport to the coast when a young mother with a baby asked Corrie's mother if she could take their place on the first truck. My grandmother agreed, and her kindness saved their lives because shortly after, the truck was attacked by militants and blown up. Corrie's family was then transported to a refugee camp in Singapore, followed by travel by ship to the Netherlands.

Remarkably, all of Corrie's family survived, and the Zwanikkens settled in the city of Deventer, where her father became a professor of agriculture. There, Corrie volunteered at a youth group where she made a friend, Josephine Haas who had a handsome younger brother named Bert. Corrie and Bert's lives also intersected when Bert became a student at the college where her father taught, and Bert thought that the young Corrie Zwanikken was one of the beauties of Deventer. Bert then emigrated to Canada, and Corrie began her career as a primary school teacher, managing classes of 50 children at a time, and coming up with fun and creative activities which became her signature skill. In 1959, at Jos' urging, Corrie and Bert began corresponding. After a year of romantic letter-writing, and a brief courtship back in the Netherlands, they married, and Corrie followed Bert to the promising frontier of his adoptive country, Canada. Soon after, Odette, Maureen, and Yvonne were born. After spending their early married years in the Orono/Bowmanville area, Bert's work with the Ministry of Natural Resources took them north to Sioux Lookout, Geraldton, Terrace Bay, and finally to Petawawa.

As a mother she was our rock, a reassuring constant in the fabric of our childhood and she was always conscientious about bestowing her love and attention equally among her three daughters. She was always there in the mornings before school, with a boiled egg and a lit candle on the table, and in the afternoons at the end of the day with CBC radio filling the house with classical music while she watered her many plants or was stirring a pot of something delicious. She made our home a cozy sanctuary. Mom was a master of fun games, activities, and dress-up. She never failed to make our birthday parties special, and for each one, she would come up with an elaborate treasure hunt. She led us on many exciting explorations around the Lake Superior coast, or along the Ottawa River, pointing out the little things like an interesting piece of driftwood or beautiful pebble. She was a warm and comforting mother, and was always there with a warm blanket, a hot-water bottle, and a comforting touch. I have memories of sitting snuggled at her feet in the front passenger seat of the car on family trips to Thunder Bay with her reassuring hand on my head (the days before carseats,) and of her reading wonderful bedtime stories to us in her beautiful lilting style. And I will always think of her puttering around in her garden surrounded by a riot of colourful flowers.

Corrie warmly welcomed her sons-in-law Mike, Mike and Roman. And she adored her eight grandchildren: Thomas, Danielle, John, Leah, Erin, Alison, Helena and Anna. Oma loved babies, and there was no grandmother better at coming up with inventive activities for kids. Christmas was a particularly magical time when each daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild would get a carefully curated stocking full of books, pyjamas, treats and magical yard-sale finds.

She had a fondness for all creatures great and small, and there was always a birdfeeder outside her window, and a dog in the house. On a few occasions, she was known to rescue neighbourhood dogs. I remember her regularly feeding a neighbour's dog that was neglected, and once she brought home a box of puppies from across the street, because they had been left outside in the cold. One of them never left, and we named her Panda.

Mom had a keen interest in the world around her. She followed the news and was a voracious reader. But she would spice up her reading of literature and heavy theological tomes with a generous sprinkling of Harlequin romances. She was also an avid volunteer, and was involved with multiple organizations including the CWL, the United Way, the Arthritis Society, and the Petawawa Public Library. She was the president of the Renfrew County Right to Life Association for many years. She also visited elderly shut-ins and helped provide food for the funerals at Our Lady of Sorrows church. Mom was a dedicated member of the church choir, singing alto even up until the week she was hospitalized. Mom's faith was a big part of her life, and a tremendous comfort to her. It was also how she met her incredible group of friends. Despite being older than most, she very much considered her group to be her comrades, and she never wanted to miss the after-church coffee club at Tim Hortons.

She always loved a good debate, and she never felt she had a satisfactory family visit unless we talked about one of her issues. This led to many spicy moments around the dining room table, or in relatives' living rooms of family in the Netherlands. Certainly, her Dutch bluntness could take people aback at times, but her incredible charm seemed to always win out. She was tremendously social and interested in the lives of people around her.

We three girls also feel very fortunate to have parents who clearly loved and supported each other. I can't imagine too many women who would be so keen to leave her family and civilized life in the Netherlands to tramp around the bush in Northern Ontario, but Mom was always game. In fact, she became a camping pro, and she had a magical skill of whipping up something extremely yummy over a fire in her signature blackened pot. Over these past four years since Dad's stroke, Mom almost never missed a day visiting him. She was unbelievably dedicated, and she loved her visits to Miramichi Lodge where she came to know many of the residents and staff, and where she brightened the days of a lot of people. We are so grateful that when she was no longer able to stay in her house, that through the efforts of some wonderful people, she was able to get a bed near her beloved Bert, in a place she already felt was home.

Mom was one of the toughest people I have ever met. She was a survivor, and she never let her personal pain or difficulties slow her down. Despite having polymyalgia rheumatica, osteoarthritis, and in the end the breast cancer which ravaged her bones and brain, she never complained or felt sorry for herself. And even surviving through three years in a Japanese internment camp in Indonesia, she was never angry or bitter. She simply got through things and remained forward-looking. Recently, when asked if she was worried about the future, she smiled and quipped, “I am a cork floating on the ocean. Where the water takes me, that is where I go.” In her last weeks, she told me she had had a great life, and she had no regrets, not even the war years. She felt it was a part of her life, and she wouldn't change a thing. I am so very proud to say that Corrie was my mother.

Corrie valued connection with family and friends above all else. She touched others, and in turn was supported by her wonderful community. Indeed she could never have stayed in her house as long as she did without the help she got from all of you. Odette, Maureen and I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the many angels who helped with driving Mom to appointments, shovelling her snow, and visiting Dad when she wasn't able to. And for us, thank you for the gifts of food, flowers, dog care and love. We are eternally grateful to the many staff at Miramichi who treated our mother with such compassion and care in her final days, and who also helped us get through that difficult time with the endless supply of food, drinks, blankets, and empathy. We are also so very touched by how many people came to see her and the outpouring of love she received.

Corrie, Mom, Oma, we love you and we will miss you, but you are with us always.

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First Visitation

When Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Murphy Funeral Home
296 Isabella Street
Pembroke, ON K8A 5S9
Additional Information Members of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Women's League will meet for Prayers at the Funeral Home Thursday at 3:00 p.m.

Second Visitation

When Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Murphy Funeral Home
296 Isabella Street
Pembroke, ON K8A 5S9
Additional Information

Service Information

Friday, November 23rd, 2018 10:30am
Fr. Steve Ballard
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church
11 Mohns Avenue
Petawawa, ON K8H 2K4

Interment Information

St. Columba's Cemetery,
Bruham Avenue and TV Tower Road
Laurentian Valley, ON K8A 6W5

Reception Information

Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall
11 Mohns Avenue
Petawawa, ON K8H 2K4


  • Catholic Women's League