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Karolyn Anne Toews

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Karolyn’s early years were filled with regular family gatherings, piano lessons, church activities, and family camping trips. Childhood was full of joy. She graduated from Eden Christian College in Virgil, Ont., in 1985, then went on to university studies in Winnipeg in 1986. Her undergraduate studies in music (ARCT piano), theology, and liberal arts culminated in a Professional Development Plan teacher certification from Simon Fraser University in 1990. This led to a 31-year teaching career in the Abbotsford School District, many of them in Matsqui, B.C., a community that found its way deep into her heart. She embraced kids and the act of discovery and experienced rich friendships with colleagues. Telling stories and inviting imagination were unquenchable passions. Karolyn met Gary in Winnipeg at MB Bible College in 1986. Their common gifts and love of music brought them together. They were married in 1987 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and began married life in Abbotsford, B.C., Gary’s hometown. Karolyn embraced motherhood with her whole heart. Easter egg hunts, homemade birthday cakes, and walks at the Mission Abbey marked the rhythm of their family life. From early childhood, she desired to know and follow the One who made her. Karolyn anchored her life in Jesus. She sought out faith communities where serving and learning went hand in hand. Many pages in her books and Bible display careful notations. Questions. Exclamations. And affirmations. She was a seeker, a thinker, and a lover of truth. She knew God’s love for her was secure. Karolyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, beginning a journey that was painful and hard. However, in the midst of this, Karolyn took on a posture of learning and acceptance. She completed her masters degree; she read, reflected, collected sets of her favourite children’s books, and wrote about her faith. She was living in the dying. Karolyn will be remembered for her insatiable passion for teaching, undeniable love of her family, probing love of God, and  exuberant delight in nature, learning, and friendship.

  • Birth: January 2, 1966
  • Birthplace:
    St. Catharines, Ont.
  • Death: September 7, 2021
  • Parents:
    John & Anne Koop
  • Married:
    Gary Toews, 1987
  • Family:
    Gary; children Rachel, Julia, Emily, Josiah (Lily); her mother; sisters Kathryn (David) Balzer; Judith (Jo) Voth; Andrea (J) Janzen; nieces & nephews
  • Church:
    South Abbotsford (B.C.); Arnold (B.C.) Community; Highland Community, Abbotsford, B.C.
  • Baptism:
    Orchard Park Bible, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., 1982