Maria “Rie” Greenfield
November 13, 2023
In Loving Memory
Maria “Rie” Greenfield
Maria “Rie” Greenfield of Kamloops passed away on the 13 of November 2023, at 97 years of age.
She is survived by her children: Leonard/Julia Greenfield of Hillsboro, Oregon and Renata/Adam Johnson of Kamloops, BC
Grandchildren: Daniel/Phoebe Nguyen, Caroline Greenfield, Max Greenfield, Sam Greenfield, Nat/Dana Johnson, Rachel Johnson, Abby Johnson and honorary granddaughters Kiara/Nathan Postma (Everleigh and Hyacinth), and Mckayla Ramsey
Many nieces, nephews and grand and great grand nieces and nephews in both the Netherlands, Australia and the United States.
Predeceased by her husband of 38 years John Greenfield and her many siblings and their spouses.
Rie was born on March 26, 1926, in the town of Dordrecht, Netherlands. She was the youngest of 8. When she was 14 the Netherlands became an occupied country and she had to grow up quickly. She started nursing school at 16 and became a nurse. She had the desire to not only be a nurse, but also a midwife. She moved to England and studied at the Deaconess hospital in London while also learning English. She worked as a nurse and midwife in both England and the Netherlands. In the late 50’s Rie felt a calling to become a missionary. She left the Netherlands and traveled to then Dutch New Guinea (now West Papua) in 1958, where she used her skills as a nurse and midwife to care for people who had never seen a “white” person. She delivered babies, took care of mothers and children and sewed up a few battlefield wounds as tribes warred against each other in her backyard. It was during this time she met her husband to be who was also a missionary when he became very ill. In 1962, John had to return home to Texas because of his health and due to political unrest in Dutch New Guinea Rie returned to the Netherlands.
After corresponding together, at the end of 1962 John asked Rie to come to the United States and marry him. On April 11, 1963, they were married in Houston, Tx. They felt led to apply to United Indian Missions and were accepted September 1963. They were commissioned to go to Havasupai Canyon, Arizona at the end of an 8-mile trail to minister to the Havasupai tribe. During this time son Leonard and daughter Renata were born. Rie used her nursing skills to care for the people in the canyon. After 10 years, they were transferred to Burns Lake, BC to work with the Lake Babine Nation. Rie and John helped start Rocknest Ranch Bible Camp in Houston, BC for indigenous children and youth. Rie and John loved their ministry in Burns Lake and at Rocknest Ranch. After 10 ½ years an opportunity opened to go back to Arizona to teach at the Indian Bible College in Flagstaff.
While in Flagstaff Rie played a supportive role to John. She hosted students and teachers alike. Rie and John were never too busy for to care for big or little things. They were faithful to make time for people and put relationships before projects or tasks. Rie was always quick to pray and quick to offer Godly wisdom and advice for people in need.
In 2000, Rie and John came back to Canada to “retire”. Missionaries never really retire and Rie and John joined the Native Fellowship in Kamloops. Rie loved sharing herself with the folks in the Fellowship. In 2001 after a short battle with cancer John went home to be with the Lord and Rie had to rediscover her life without him. Rie was not one to give up on life and still drove herself all over. Trips to Arizona and back, never a day that she wasn’t off to town in her little Subaru. Most likely off to visit the old folks. She never saw herself as a senior citizen. Rie remained home with the assistance of family and friends until due to health issues she moved to Ponderosa Extended Care.
Special thanks to Phaedra Stuart-Montgomery for her companionship and friendship with Rie, the nursing and care staff on Ponderosa 3rd floor. Your care was so appreciated. Thank you also to Dr. Grant Del Begio for his kind and consistent care over 24 years.
A memorial service is Saturday the 16th of December 2023 at 1pm at Summit Drive Baptist Church in Kamloops, BC with Harvey Fehr officiating.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers can be made to a few of Rie’s favorite organizations: Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Smile, and the Canadian Bible Society.
Arrangements entrusted to
Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services 250-554-2324
Condolences may be expressed to the family by phone or email through Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services: