“What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, anger, discontent and drooping hopes? …Life is too strong for you---it takes life to love Life.” From Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology: Lucinda Matlock.
Our beloved and remarkable 99-year-old “Grandma Toni” moved on to a heavenly realm on March 20, 2022. We will miss her terribly.
She was born December 13, 1922, in Java, Indonesia, a Dutch colony, where her father was working. The family returned to their homeland of Holland when she was a toddler and she had fond memories of her childhood on the Maternesserweg in Rotterdam with her sister, Ans (Ann) and brothers, Henk (John Henry) and Aad (Adrian). Life became more difficult when World War II hit during her teen years. Fortunately, there were blessings even then, and toward the end of the war, she married the dashing, Jan Copier. That next year the contented couple was thrilled to welcome a baby girl. Only six months, later, however, Toni’s beloved husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. With determination and faith, she decided to follow through with the plans she and Jan had made to come to the United States.
Thanks to a Dutch friend, Toni landed a job at the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City. Next she worked at the phone company where she acquired the skills she needed to eventually become a supervisor. She’d trained in Holland in tailoring, and after work she sewed dresses, coats, home accessories, doll clothes, formals and wedding gowns for family members. With her can-do attitude, she acquired other talents and skills according to necessity. She learned carpentry, for instance, in order to build some bedroom furniture because she couldn’t afford store-bought. She also became a fix-it person, auto expert, gardener, neighborhood animal activist, linguist, and lover of learning in general. Then she used her mite and might to help others she was sure were struggling harder than she was.
When she prayed, we were sure that her prayers went straight to heaven because of her great faith in Heavenly Father. Toni believed firmly in the restoration of Christ’s church. In fact, in 1966 after her daughter got a call to the California South mission, Toni took a leave of absence from her job, sold her home, and put in her papers, serving the next year and a half in her homeland.
Grandma Toni was devoted to her daughter Anya and her son-in-law, Vaun Bateman, and was an amazing grandmother to her four grandchildren and then her fourteen great grandchildren. She also doted on her nieces and nephews and their children. And have we mentioned her sense of humor?
Toni is survived by her youngest brother, Adrian, and his wife, Grace. Her sister Ann, however, and her brother John Henry preceded her in death along with all her siblings-in-law. We were beginning to believe she would outlive us all, but finally she called it a life. Well, it was an amazing life, and it makes us happy to imagine her reunion with her sweet parents, her sister and brother, and the rest of her relatives and loved ones, but best of all, her husband, Jan.
Funeral services will take place Monday, March 28, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at the Holbrook Mortuary, 3251 South 2300 East. Viewings will be held at Holbrook as well from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 27th and prior to the funeral on Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Interment will take place at the Elysian Burial Gardens. Tributes and messages may be sent to the family at www.holbrookmortuary.com.