April 5, 1929 – December 2, 2022
In Loving Memory ~
Following a short illness, Ernie passed away peacefully in Campbell River, surrounded by family. He was predeceased by his wife Christena (16 February 2021) and is survived by his 8 children, 25 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Ernie and Christena continued to live independently at home until their passing.
Born in Beerse, Belgium, on 5 April 1929, Ernest Valentine was one of 7 children of Jacqueline Stroobant and Eugene Wouters. Ernie moved to Canada as a teenager with his family, settling on a farm in Winchester, Ontario. He married Christena Mary Kelly on 1 September 1956.
Ernie and Christena were loving parents to their eight children: Patricia Wouters (Sergei Vinogradov), Deborah (Gary) Skoye, Sharon Wouters, Jackie (Frank) Behrens, Carolyn Wouters (Thomas Lloyd), Ernie (Amy) Wouters, Shelly (Frank) Lightfoot, and Marc (Angie) Wouters.
Patriarch who loved grand adventures, lemon cakes, yellow roses, and his dog Mirra
As one would expect with his adventurous spirit, Ernie held many roles throughout his life – student, teacher, tradesman, coach, fisherman, artist, and overall – grand patriarch born with an enlarged heart that was filled with unconditional love, generosity, and enduring willingness to help. He led by example, and we are all stronger and continue to be inspired by his many acts of kindness. Described as ‘mesmerizing’, Ernie’s actions were always purposeful.
Ernie lived life as one grand adventure — meant to be truly experienced, enjoyed, and approached vigorously, with hope and wonder. In the best of ways, he had the heart of a child, finding joy in everyone he met, and leaving a lasting impression. His neighbours called him ‘the Mayor’ of the neighbourhood, remarking on his positive energy, ready generosity, and buoyant sense of humour. Community service was important to Ernie — from volunteering as a soccer coach to driving seniors to medical appointments and helping at food banks, amongst many other contributions. Ernie loved many things — sweet cakes, yellow roses, playing cards with family and friends, and his childhood dog, the Belgian shepherd Mirra.
The role that gave Ernie the most pride and pleasure was that of being a dad, grandpa, and great-grandparent. He loved all his children and their families without reservation, and each in their own way. He was a steadfast supporter for all his family and their fierce protector; he engaged deeply. His belief in us made us capable of what we have accomplished in our lives; he inspired us to live fully and fearlessly. He wanted his obituary to be short and simple – perhaps in great contrast to the expansive, abundant, diligent and exuberant person he truly was. We honour that here.
There will be no funeral or ceremony at Ernie’s request. The family would ask that in lieu of flowers any donations be made to the Campbell River Food bank at Campbellriverfoodbank.com or to the Salvation Army, Campbell River, at Oceancrestchurch.org. With many thanks.
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