Peter Van Essen

January 15, 1922 - November 1, 2018

Peter died in his 97th year after a brief illness, with his family by his side at Extendicare Cobourg.

Peter was the eighth of nine children born to Gerrit and Hermina (Peppelenbosch) Van Essen in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. In 1943, while he was an onderduiker in Aalten, he met Berendina Hendrika Wikkerink and they were married in May 1947. Peter worked as a bookkeeper in Apeldoorn before immigrating to Canada with his family in November 1953. Peter and Henny lived in Trenton from 1954 to 2012. As part of the Dutch community in Trenton, Peter helped establish the Dutch Canadian Credit Union and eventually owned his own bookkeeping business. The family was active in the Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church and the development and support of the Trenton Christian School (1956). Peter and Henny participated in prison ministry at Warkworth Penitentiary for 15 years from 1973 to 1988. Peter taught oil painting lessons in Trenton for many years.

In 2012 Peter and Henny moved to Landmark in Cobourg where Peter often wrote stories for the monthly newsletter and published his war memoirs in his book Above the Pigsty.

Peter was predeceased by his wife Henny (2013), and by his parents and seven siblings.

He is survived by his sister Nen Gerrits in the Netherlands and several in-laws in Canada: Dick Wikkerink, Ina Den Ouden, and Geert Lammers. He leaves his daughter Dela Wilkins (Robert), and sons Gerrit (Cathy), John (Beverly), Peter (Sharon) and Herbert (Dianne).  He will be missed by 10 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces in both the Van Essen and Wikkerink families in Canada and the Netherlands.

Along with his strong faith and love of his Heavenly Father, he shared his love of gardening and his passion for oil painting as seen in many homes of his friends and family.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 4 from 2-5 p.m. at MacCoubrey Funeral Home, 30 King Street East, Cobourg. A Memorial Service will take place at the Funeral Home on Monday, November 5 at 2 p.m. followed by a reception in the Funeral Home Reception Centre. Those wishing may make donations to Northumberland Christian School or the Trenton Christian School.  Condolences received at

Matthew 25: 34-40

Service Video
Streaming video of the service available here

Sunday, November 4th from 2-5 pm
MacCoubrey Funeral Home, Cobourg

Memorial Service
Monday, November 5th at 2 pm
MacCoubrey Funeral Home, Cobourg

Mount Evergreen Cemetery

MacCoubrey Funeral Home Reception Centre Cobourg

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