ROODENBURG, Marie Henriette Josephine (nee Courtois)
Marie Henriette Josephine Roodenburg (née Courtois)
MARCH 20, 1940 – JUNE 5, 2022
Known by many as Martie, Mariette was the 8th of nine children born in The Hague, The Netherlands, having survived World War II as a strong and loving family. In 1957, at 17 years of age, Mariette attended the Royal Academy of Arts to study Interior Design, where she met her soul mate and future husband, Robert Roodenburg. They married on December 18, 1959 and went on to have four children: Sabine, Roderick, Vanessa and Robert Jr.
Always living with a sense of adventure, faith in each other and pure determination, she became caretaker of Kasteel de Wittenburg, a castle in Wassenaar, while Rob attended university. Shortly thereafter, Mariette and Rob embarked on a journey changing their lives forever by immigrating to Canada in 1965.
Mariette was a ferocious learner. Continuing her education, she studied Human Anthropology at UBC. At the age of 51 she became a real estate agent in Vancouver for 24 years, a career she excelled in due to her love for truly getting to know people and helping others. Passionate about sustainability, living off the land and giving back to nature, Mariette’s values were easy to see from her love for gardening and her beautiful weavings of tapestries and clothing from her homespun wool that were carefully dyed with naturally sourced plants.
In line with their sense of adventure, Mariette and Rob maintained several homes concurrently: in the Netherlands (de Kleine Pal) and in Vancouver, while always keeping a home-base on Salt Spring Island. Mariette worked side-by-side and hand-in-hand with Rob, designing and building four beautiful homes and restoring countless others from 1970 onwards, with the most recent restoration in Fulford Valley.
With her interior design background and knowledge, Mariette was particularly adept at finding and collecting all means of art from paintings to sculptures, poetry to ceramics. Her deep interest in humanity, human psychology and the historical and artistic relevance of significant items can be found in the books and treasures that surrounded her.
A lifelong designer and artist, Mariette looked for ways to elevate others and their creativity, through art and craft sales at their barn on the mainland, helping artists sell their wares in the 1970’s, to “Christmas sales” and “Gallery days” at the Log Cabin in their current home in the Fulford Valley.
Beyond her passion for the arts, Mariette was a fierce advocate for both women and children. As a pioneer in the women’s movement, she was involved in BC’s first women’s centre, Ishtar Transition House, in 1973. She will be remembered by her children and grandchildren for her ability to create safe spaces, encouraging all to have a voice and reminding everyone that it’s okay to get a little messy. For these qualities, Mariette was known by many more than her own kin as “Oma”.
Mariette passed away in the comfort of her home after she had bid farewell to her friends and family, finding peace with the knowledge that the family will always stay together and keep strong. Mariette is predeceased by her mother Hubanie Emely Goeverneur and father Johannis Gerardus Bernardus Courtois and sisters: Clementine, Jeanne, Tini and brothers: Jan and Leo. She is survived by her sisters: Yvonne and Hubanie and brother: Joop, husband Robert, four children: Sabine, Roderick, Vanessa, Robert Jr., eight grandchildren: Joshua, Tyler, Raquelle, Jesse, Kai, Angelina, Rowan, Luci and great-grandchild: Sienna.
Forever in our hearts, we will miss Mariette, Martie, Oma, Mama, tante, best friend and wife of Robert Roodenburg. We will always heed her advice: “sterkte, moed en kracht.” Her legacy will carry on for generations.