Antoinette was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, October 9, 1943. Life started in upheaval as it was the middle of WW II. Antoinette’s father was an artist and her parents divorced shortly after the war. Antoinette’s mother then moved with her and her sister, Jose, to The Hague. Antoinette never liked the strict rules of school, but she was very bright so graduated a year early. After spending a year in Switzerland working as a waitress she met and married.
At first the young couple moved to the Ottawa area where Antoinette completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology through Carleton University. In 1968 Antoinette and her husband moved to Montreal, where they welcomed into the world their son, Arjen Spruit. While there they adopted a three year old daughter, Melody. From 1974 thru to 1977, she and her family lived in France followed by a 3 year stay in Hawaii. After a divorce in 1980, Antoinette moved back to Canada with her children, settling in Victoria for the next ten years. While in Victoria Antoinette completed her Master of Science degree (1989) and obtained her Professional Teaching Certificate (1991). After one year in Clearwater, Antoinette settled in Quesnel where she taught at QSS from 1992 until her retirement in January 2009.
Antoinette is known for living and thinking ‘outside the box’. Students will remember her hands-on experiments, the salt water sea creature tank, chem camp and the occasional purple boa with a song. Friends enjoyed lavish international dinners, Christmas crafts with homemade soup, and the annual lobster boil. Since retirement, Antoinette pursued her flare for art taking-up painting, sculpting and multi-media work. She loved her times with the ‘Thursday Painters group’. For the month of June, the Artrium will feature a collection of Antoinette’s art work. One of Antoinette’s pieces, “The Corset”, will become part of the permanent collection at the Art Gallery.
Lifestyle and diabetes took a toll on Antoinette’s health in the last several years, but she continued to live with the flare for which she was known. In the last year, Antoinette was very thankful for the support given from the staff and volunteers of “Better at Home”. After some time planning, Antoinette was able to live what turned out to be her final dream, to reunite with her sister after 30 some years, in a trip to Bali. It was there that Antoinette became critically ill and died on February 21, 2015. As per her wishes, Antoinette was cremated with her ashes being spread over the sea.
As she wished, a potluck celebration will be held in Antoinette’s front yard on May 23, starting at about 4:00 pm. If you wish to join us, bring a story and an exotic dish. Donations in Antoinette’s memory can be made to the Quesnel and District Teachers Association Bursary Fund.