Edith Bakker

Obituary of Edith S.W. Bakker

TROY - Edith Bakker, 86, of Troy, New York, was admitted unexpectedly to St. Peter's Hospice on February 22, 2023, where she passed away on the morning of February 24, 2023 while her daughter Star held her hand at her bedside. The daughter of Stella and Sydney Walker, Edith was born on November 30, 1936, in Croydon, Surrey, England. Wife to her second husband, Pieter Bakker, she is survived by Pieter; her eldest daughter, Star Donovan; her son-in-law, Jeffrey Bell; her younger brother, Frederick Walker; her grandchildren, Anthea Morris and Briony Allan; her niece and nephew, Sydnie, and Simon; her seven great-grandchildren, Colwynn, Chase, Theron, Elora, Liadan, Elowen, and Quentin; and great nephews, Kingsley, and Theo. In addition to her parents, Edith is predeceased by her daughter, Frederica Donovan; her sister-in-law and schoolgirl friend, Anne Walker; and her uncle, Stuart Saunders. Edith led an interesting life. At the age of three she began singing and piano training with her mother Stella, who owned a music school. She had a rich, deep alto voice and sang in and conducted various choirs in high school and beyond. She helped in the music school by teaching theory. She was a talented actress, too, and performed in various operettas and plays. In junior school at St. Anne's, she was a fierce defender of her little brother Freddy. As a young adult, she enjoyed playing water polo, for which she trained by swimming endless laps of breaststroke. Her mantra during said activity - which she inevitably repeated to her children and grandchildren, ad nauseam, whenever the topic of swimming came up - was "I must, I must, I must improve my bust." After graduating from art school in England where she met her first husband, Lester Donovan, Edith taught art for a few years at a small Catholic school until her first daughter Star was born. Her second daughter Frederica arrived six and a half years later. Three years after that, Edith moved the family to Holland for 18 months, returned to England for six months, and then followed Lester to South Africa, where they mutually parted ways a year later and Edith married her second husband, Pieter. During her 20-year stay in South Africa - and being a self-proclaimed nomad - Edith continued to move her family every few years, living in eight or nine different houses throughout the Johannesburg area. Working in conjunction with Lester's newly formed exhibition (trade show) company, Edith and Pieter built up their own successful exhibition building and design business, for which she won several awards for outstanding individual stand design. She particularly enjoyed designing stands for industrial corporations and always won the inevitable argument with management about how best to display their signage, heavy equipment, and machinery in the most eye-catching and uncluttered way possible. She always lost a lot of weight during exhibition season from going up and down ladders a hundred times a day, putting up polystyrene lettering on the fascia boards and interior walls of the stands. Her daughters grew up thinking it was normal to have ready access to any kind of art equipment or supplies they might need. When South Africa first began television broadcasting in about 1977, Edith strongly resisted buying a television, preferring instead to spend the evening listening to radio programs with her family - except for when a hailstorm was hammering on the metal roof of the house. She also enjoyed family crossword sessions and helping her daughters tell her Dutch-speaking husband, Pieter - usually the assigned crossword filler-in-er - alternative, creative spellings of words, which he would faithfully write down. Her favorite expression during social get-togethers and the customary dart game with friends was "Better than a poke in the eye with a burning stick." Edith enjoyed cooking but not the actual consumption of food. She would often lament that she wished someone would invent a pill that she could take instead of bothering to eat meals. She did, however, eat a lot of salt, and even a whole teaspoon in one go. Her sausage rolls and mince pies at Christmas were legendary. She was also able to tolerate very spicy foods - a trait regrettably not shared by her daughters or her brother - and often made chili con cane, which consisted of ground mince (hamburger) and a can of chili baked beans. On one occasion, she dumped a can of chili beans into the mince, only to discover that the can was missing the beans. The result was an incredibly spicy, almost inedible dish, which she attempted, unsuccessfully, to persuade her family to eat. In 1990, Edith and Pieter moved to the United States to be near daughter Star and watch their two local grandchildren grow up. During her first few years in the States, she worked for a year or two in an after-school respite program for young children. She also ran several art- and acting-focused summer camps out of her home, and enjoyed watching her daughters and several of her grandchildren develop their own artistic, acting and writing talents. While living in Loudonville opposite St. Pius X church, it was Edith who discovered the St. Pius choir during Easter mass with the late Father Farano, and she encouraged Star to join the choir, which she did. Later, she attended Star's second wedding in the St. Pius Chapel, saw Anthea and Briony both go through the RCIA program to receive their sacraments, and attended several grandchildren's baptisms there. Edith was a strong, courageous, and opinionated woman, who sometimes caused awkward moments by blurting out what she was thinking. She was a true believer in the British stiff upper lip and endured several difficult trials in her life when her daughter Star was knocked down by a car at the age of six and her daughter Frederica was diagnosed with liver disease at a young age, eventually passing away in South Africa at the age of 28. Towards the end of Frederica's life, Edith applied to Senator Al D'Amato for help in persuading the American INS to allow Frederica to visit for three months from South Africa while awaiting an immigration visa. Edith herself was rarely ever ill and paid for that in later life, developing migraines and an eventually debilitating arthritis. She enjoyed being a mother, grandmother and great- grandmother and was loving and compassionate at heart. However, she was not in the least bit sentimental and was an easy discarder of inanimate objects, except perhaps for certain family photos and artwork. Her greatest hobby throughout her life was reading, and she was a frequent visitor to the Colonie Town library. She regularly devoured up to 12 books a week, especially during the last two years of her life when her arthritis got the better of her and she was forced to move to the Shaker Place nursing home in Colonie, New York. Edith's family wishes to acknowledge the Hospice Inn at St. Peter's hospital, Albany, New York for their endless compassion and empathy in taking such gentle loving care of Edith and her family over the last two days of her life. Thanks also goes to the Riverview Funeral Home in Troy, New York for their sympathy and kind accommodations regarding the wishes of the family in arranging her private funeral service followed by her cremation in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy. Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared with Edith's family online at TheRiverviewFuneralHome.com, and any donations to the St. Peter's Hospice or the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in Edith's name would be welcome. Funeral & Cremation Arrangements Entrusted To: The Riverview Funeral Home, Inc. 218 2nd Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 Private Funeral & Cremation Held. Wake & Funeral Service at: The Riverview Funeral Home, Inc. was privately held for the family. Rite of Committal and Cremation followed in Oakwood Cemetery Crematorium, Troy, NY. function myfunction() { var vars = {clip_id:""""}; var svp_player = new SVPDynamicPlayer(""svp_player5ybtpxckoogs""
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