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Thea Bodenstaff - April 6, 2021

Thea Bodenstaff - April 6, 2021

Lima, NY. On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Trijntje (Thea) Bodenstaff, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully at the age of 94.

Trijntje Blaauwbroek was born in Oosterwolde, Friesland in the Netherlands on January 12, 1927, to parents Harm and Ebeltje (Vonk), as the only daughter in a family of four sons. After enduring many excruciating years in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation during WWII, Trijntje emigrated to the United States of America with her husband and infant daughter on May 6, 1949.

The traumas presented by suffering under Hitlerís control instilled in Thea a profound appreciation for the country that she now called home and the American freedoms that it provided. She was unwaveringly grateful for the opportunity to vote, never neglecting a chance to exercise this privilege or speak to others about the need to appreciate this liberty. Despite her failing health, Thea insisted on completing her ballot in November 2020, proudly demonstrating that her voice mattered, after experiencing a regime that had silenced her views as insignificant. Theaís deep-rooted patriotism was a hallmark of her character and, whether waving a flag at a parade or saluting the soldiers that liberated her hometown, she was eternally grateful for the country that had adopted her as its own.

Thea was married to the love of her life, Herman Bodenstaff, for 44 years. After emigrating to America, Thea and Herman settled and raised three daughters in the Rochester area. She was a skilled homemaker and an active member of the community, participating in PTA and enjoying many years as a Girl Scout Troop leader. For over 30 years, Thea volunteered at the Rochester General Hospital Oncology Center, finding immense joy in attending the needs of the patients and assisting the staff. Her childhood aspiration was to become a nurse, but the occupation of her home country stipulated that she use those nursing skills for the Nazi regime, something she refused to do. Her morals led her to sacrifice that dream until she found an outlet at the RGH. Recognized as ëVolunteer of the Yearí for her work at the hospital, she stated, ìI love people. You get so much out of what you put in. We just all need to show each other more love.î

An avid gardener and nature enthusiast with unsurpassed skill, Theaís beautiful gardens and talented green thumb were the envy of many. She remained active in bowling leagues, Womenís Life Benefit Society, Silver Sneakers exercise group, wood carving, painting and the Lima Golden Agers. She was a masterful knitter, spending many hours crafting hats for newborns at area hospitals or designing sweaters and blankets for chilly family and friends. She also held a passion for traveling the world and appreciating the intense beauty to be found, despite the early hardships she had endured and evil she had seen. Never willing to turn down an adventure, Theaís 94 years were focused on imparting love, enjoying her family and appreciating the world around her with every moment that was granted to her.

Thea was predeceased by her husband, Herman, and daughter, Evelyn Kirkwood. She is survived by her daughters Nancy (Joe) Barkan of Geneseo, NY, Louise (Richard) Utter of Salem, SC, son-in-law Jim Kirkwood of Lima, NY, grandchildren Jim (Julie) Kirkwood, Kim Barkan, David (Anna) Kirkwood, Kristy (Nick Warner) Barkan & Jeff Barkan. Also surviving are five great-grandchildren; Lucy, Molly, Freddy, Kate & Henry, of whom Thea was exceptionally proud. Thea leaves behind many nieces, nephews and relatives both in the USA and the Netherlands. The family would like to also thank Theaís devoted friend, Mrs. Margaret Paradise, for her support and friendship.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family will be holding an outdoor celebration of life at an undetermined date in the Summer of 2021. Details will be forthcoming.

A private graveside service will be held in the future at St. Michaelís Cemetery, Livonia, NY.

In addition, the family would like to acknowledge the exceptionally caring and skilled staff at the Avon Nursing Facility for the wonderful comfort and love they have provided Thea during such a difficult year. We are overwhelmingly grateful to all of you.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you please use Thea's memory to spread love, kindness and perhaps even a few flower seeds to make this world even more beautiful than the way she viewed it. Donations are unnecessary but can be sent to the Rochester General Hospital Oncology Center or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, if desired.

To send a condolence or share a memory please visit:

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