Janneke Klaas

Joan Klaas

Thursday, March 18th, 1943 Friday, February 19th, 2021

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Obituary for Joan Klaas

With great sadness, the family of Joan Klaas (nee VanGeem) announce her passing at the Hospice Unit of St. Joseph’s Care Group on February 19, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Joan was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands on March 18, 1943, the daughter of Jan and Margje VanGeem. In 1952 she immigrated to Canada with her parents and brother Kees, settling in Port Arthur. Upon her arrival in Canada, she didn’t speak English but through dedication and hard work she won a public speaking award two years later. In 1964 she married Robert Klaas and they had 3 children. Joan dedicated her life to raising her children and providing a wonderful loving home for them. Her home was always a place filled with love, friends and laughter. She enjoyed spending time with her children and their friends. Many hours were spent at the kitchen table on Peter Street telling stories and sharing a glass of wine. Joan had a zest for life and was passionate about the arts, reading, cooking, crocheting and movies. She would always be up to chat about the latest cheesy Hallmark movie. Joan also loved to sing! She was a longtime member of the choir of Westminster United Church. Joan was an amazing cook and loved to entertain. She was famous for the best potato salad in town! She always welcomed friends into her home to share great food, wine and conversation. She had a wealth of information on history, politics and current events which made her an excellent conversationalist. Her wonderful sense of humor and pleasant personality were contagious to everyone she met. Joan worked for many years in retail and sales. Her charm and smiling face always drew people to her. Joan was so very proud of her grandchildren. She loved to cook for them and they always looked forward to “Gramma Joan’s” famous dishes. Later in life, Joan lovingly cared for both of her parents at the end of their lives. Her dedication to them was tireless.

Joan will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed by her children Robert (Chrissy) Klaas, Janis (Gary) Gummeson and Susan (Gary) Prezio, grandchildren Greg and Kate Gummeson, brother Kees VanGeem as well as by numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. She was predeceased by her infant grandson Robert Christian Klaas, parents Jan and Margje VanGeem and her sister-in-law Judith VanGeem. Joan’s battle in recent years showed her courage in facing life with a smile. Despite the pain, Joan came out a hero and still managed to flirt with her favorite nurse Jeff.

A celebration of Joan’s life will take place when family and friends are able to come together again. As expressions of sympathy memorials to the Hospice Unit of St. Joseph’s Care Group would be greatly appreciated. Arrangements are in care of the Sargent & Son Funeral Directors, 21 N. Court Street. On-line condolences may be made at

Joan made an incredible impact on the lives of her children and grandchildren as well as so many others. Her warmth and smile will be forever missed. We will continue to honour her legacy by living our lives to the fullest.

To plant a memorial tree in honor of Joan Klaas, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Donations are being accepted for: ST. JOSEPH'S CARE GROUP.

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