Annette Urbon (nee Willems)

September 28, 1957 – December 12, 2018
It is with heavy hearts and disbelief that we inform you of Annette’s passing on December 12, 2018

Annette was an amazing mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend and the wonderful woman that you met when you visited Outback Nursery.

Annette was born in Amsterdam on September 28, 1957. She was predeceased by her sister Rita.

She is survived by her son Cody, her mom Maria and dad Johannes, brother Roger (Michelle and nephew Bryce), brother Tom, brother John (Vicki) and sister Marja (Gordon) Dann and nephew Ivan (Sue), niece Tineke (Jamie) and their children Tristan and Cayden, her brother-in-law Andy (Rita), niece Andrea and nephew Michael (Xavier and Annabelle) and many others across the globe. Of extreme importance, is her beloved dog Kato, who never left her side.

She emigrated with her family (age 9) to Canada in 1966. They sailed from Rotterdam to Montreal and then took a train to Vancouver. It was a memorable trip.

Annette loved animals, and was always bringing home strays to nurse back to health. Like many young girls she was crazy about horses and her first career was as a trainer at Canmor Thoroughbred Horse Farm. Quite often Annette would transport Cody to and from Elementary School on horseback.

She was a gifted, self-taught artist. She liked to work with chalk, oil pastel and pencil crayon and her creations were of horses and wild animals. She won first prize for a poster she designed for Fraser Down’s Racetrack and her art is housed in collections across Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

In 1999, Maria and Johannes moved from Aldergrove to Merville. Annette, Cody and Roger decided to join them and thus the beginnings of Outback Nursery. Many would ask how the name came to be and our it’s because when the phone rang for Annette or Roger, mom would tell the caller they were Outback!

When Annette wasn’t in the greenhouse, you would find her behind a good book, in front of a jigsaw puzzle or working on the computer, always preparing for next season. She was also writing a book, about gardening, which we will publish. Annette was a homebody. She was happiest tending to her plants. She loved what she did and it showed!

She will be fondly remembered for her outspoken ways. For example, On a regular basis she would receive visitors who were looking for a particular tree or plant for a very specific location in their garden and if the site wasn’t exactly what the plant required, then she would let you know. “You might like it but it won’t do well in your yard, so please consider this instead.” People were surprised when advised not to buy something but they definitely appreciated her honesty and straightforwardness and it might be why her clients had such great success with their gardens. We take comfort in knowing that her beautiful landscapes will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Annette was the real deal. She was unpretentious. She was very generous with her time. She had a unique ability to retain and recall detailed information about her plants. “Third greenhouse, half way down on the left”, she would say. She was a free spirit with an infectious love of life and the natural world. She was passionate about her art, her plants and her people.

Annette was an organ donor and she helped the lives of 3 others.

Please join us in a Celebration of her Life at the Native Sons Hall on Sunday, January 6 from noon to 3:00. We’ll share photos, memories and an exhibit of her artwork. She will be missed.


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