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We give thanks to God for the life of Hendrik (Hank) Offereins who passed away at the age of 87.
We will remember him lovingly—Ruthild, his wife and business partner of 63 years, his children, Calvin (Theda), Philip (Diane), Tanya (Tim), and Jason (Ruth); grandchildren, Trenton (Carrington), Jarrod (Jill), Katelyn, Hudson, Garrett, Simon, Benjamin, Samuel and Julia; great-grandson, August; his sisters, Martha, Trynjte and Hanna and families; and a large circle of friends. Hank was predeceased by his parents and his brothers, Jan and Fritz.
Hank was born and raised in Groningen, Netherlands. From a young age, Hank was interested in fashion and worked in clothing stores. He immigrated to Canada one month before his 21st birthday. In Calgary, he worked in the men’s department of a downtown store. One of his customers was a young woman who bought a tie for a friend’s birthday. That same evening, Hank attended a birthday party and the young woman—Ruthild Seliger, an Austrian immigrant—was there. They married in 1957 and began life together in Pincher Creek (population: 1,702) when Hank became manager of the Co-op men’s department. (He often joked how proud he had been to become a manager but learned later he had been the only person to apply!)
As sons Calvin and Philip were born, Hank’s dream to own a clothing store materialized. Enter Hank’s Men’s and Boy’s Wear Ltd. When Hank’s shoe supplier repeatedly mentioned Fort McMurray and the anticipated growth from oilsands development, the couple pondered the opportunity. But, how would they know it was God’s will for them to move north? If there was space to rent. When Hank visited Fort McMurray (population: 1,804), the new Peter Pond Shopping Centre had space available and Hank signed a lease. In September 1965, Hank opened one of the town’s first men’s wear stores. He slept at the back of the store until March 1966 when Ruthild arrived with the boys and their baby daughter, Tanya. Their fourth child, Jason, was born in 1968.
And thus began Hank’s contribution—five decades’ worth—to a one-industry town that boomed and busted more than once. His retail ventures included ladies, bridal and children’s wear, tuxedo rentals, a jeans store, and a discount store long before dollar stores existed. His flagship store, Offereins, and adjacent Pant Stop were a fashion hub on Franklin Avenue, selling Canadian fashion labels that Hank bought directly from Montreal.
Throughout his life, Hank was an avid volunteer for local service clubs, business associations and their church. He served an elected term on the hospital board and campaigned with conviction during federal elections. Most recently, he was an active member of the Rotary Club of Fort McMurray Oilsands.
With a beautiful tenor voice, he loved to sing at church, in community choirs and the occasional musical, and competed in the local music festival. He sang a solo at each of his children’s wedding. He would happily accompany sing-alongs on the piano. He promised Ruthild they would travel the world and they did. And he loved wintering in Mexico.
Hank was a blend of Old World gentleman and New World pioneer, unafraid of the unknown. He could be stubborn and annoyingly particular about certain things! He was a kind employer and an honest business owner. He was a faithful husband and an immensely proud father and grandfather. He was a beloved brother to his sisters Martha, Trijn and Hannah and a generous uncle to his nieces and nephews. Hank and Ruthild believed in hospitality, often hosting friends, family, newcomers, employees and many others at their home or cottage.
Above all, Hank believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and, since youth, sought to live a life that honored God. At the end, Hank’s overriding sentiment was gratitude for God’s faithfulness in his life.
We thank God for him—the patriarch of the Offereins family in Canada.
Thank you to those who joined us in caring for our father in his final months—Calgary’s SW palliative team, and Arlene, Brenda, Joan, Elizabeth and Jennifer. Donations in his memory may be made to one of Hank’s longtime favorite causes: Oilsands Rotary Music Festival, 230 Powder Drive, Fort McMurray, AB T9K 0W8.
A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. MST, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, 10011 – 114 Street NW, Edmonton, AB.
Due to current COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, the Service will be livestreamed and a recording will be available afterward.