The death of Stoffel Vogelaar of Bohea, Liscarney, Westport, on January 2 came as a great shock to his family and friends.
Stoffel was born in a small village south of Rotterdam in the Netherlands where his parents owned a farm. He was an only child, a bright boy, excelling in school. He had a special knack for languages, studying the classical languages of Latin and Greek, as well as French, German, and English. He also acquired a basic knowledge of Russian and Spanish.
The busy life in the city did not appeal to Stoffel, he preferred life in the country. He had been to Ireland on holidays and had fallen in love with the west of Ireland. Stoffel and his wife decided to sell their home in Holland and moved into a traditional cottage near Mulranny. Stoffel enjoyed the rural life and kept busy reading, writing, and extending his knowledge of history and economics.
In 1980 their first child, Ann, was born and Tom came three years later. By then the family had moved to a larger house near the beach. This was a very happy time.
Some years later, Stoffel's father died and left his farm to Stoffel. There was a big decision to be made — move back to Holland or remain in Ireland. Stoffel did not take long to make up his mind. He decided to sell his parents' farm and buy a farm in Liscarney. His widowed mother moved into a cottage near the new family home.
Later, Stoffel found another passion, computers. Computers were the future, he believed, and everyone should learn how to use one. Soon there were three computers in the house. He became quite expert, using the internet to expand his collection of antique coins. He was a member of the British Numismatic Society and was well known for his expert knowledge, advising collectors and dealers alike. He also helped to set up a local ISP in Westport, ANU Internet Services, in 1996.
In his fifties, Stoffel developed heart trouble. He was hospitalised several times and was advised to have surgery as soon as possible. However, feeling reasonably well, he decided to wait until spring of this year.
Stoffel was a quiet and private person, and did not enjoy parties or going to the pub. He was happiest at home, with his family, his books, and his computer. He is deeply mourned and missed by Ans, his wife of almost 40 years, children Ann and Tom, cousins and friends.
Removal took place from Kilcoyne’s Funeral Home Thomas Street, Castlebar, to the Christ Church, Castlebar for services let by Rev Val Rodgers and funeral took place to Aughavale Cemetery, Westport.
Donations in Stoffel’s memory may be made to Croí, c/o Kilcoyne Funeral Directors, Thomas Street, Castlebar.