Cover photo for Ada VanDooren's Obituary
Ada VanDooren Profile Photo
1925 Ada 2015

Ada VanDooren

February 20, 1925 — August 13, 2015

Life Story for Ada VanDooren

Ada Van Dooren Obituary

On August 13, 2015 Ada Aleid (Visser) Van Dooren passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. Ada was born in Heveadorp, Renkum, The Netherlands on February 20, 2015. Her father was Johan Visser and her mother was Aaltje DeJong Visser. She grew up in Oosterbeck, The Netherlands. Her mother was often ill so she didn’t have a lot to do. Before the age of 12, her most exciting moment was when she went with her best friend, Annie the maid, to the neighbors to clean out cupboards, wash dishes and put them away. She grew up with her brother Guus and four foster kids. In elementary school, her father was the principal where she liked playing leap frog. She felt like she was shy and just watched the other kids play, but, somehow she did manage to kiss a boy! From the ages of 10 – 15, Ada was in the Girl Scouts.

In 1940, when Ada was 15 years old and starting high school, World War II broke out. During the time of German occupation, Ada acted as a courier for the underground. In 1944, the allies invaded and her town of Arnhem was evacuated. Her family traveled north out of the conflict where she slept in a pig pen until they were able to return. Her father encouraged her to find a career where she could support herself so Ada decided to go to medical school. She moved to Amsterdam to go to the University of Amsterdam and graduated in 1952.

During her college years she met Hugo Van Dooren at a Mason’s party. He was handsome and fun. They were married on August 7, 1952. They finished college and saw that internships were being offered in America. They travelled to Salt Lake City, Utah after touring all of the major western National parks searching for the great American bear. During her years in Salt Lake City her daughter Joanne was born as was her son Ivan. Joanne contracted Hydrocephalus in her first years and was cared for by Ada for the rest of her life. In the Fall of 1957, they moved to Tacoma, WA where Hugo started his practice. They bought a house for $19,000. Mike was born as was Gwen by 1962. They moved to Lakewood, WA in 1962 when Ada established her residency at Western State Mental Hospital. Ada graduated with her Psychiatric M.D. in 1968. She started off by contracting to Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and starting her private practice. She loved to travel and in 1970, to celebrate her divorce, she took her children on an extended trip to Holland riding trains, ships and airplanes to get there and back while visiting her brother and father.

The bulk of her career she worked at PLU, Comprehensive Mental Health Center in Tacoma, and in her private practice. On December 24, 1998, after years of caring for her oldest daughter, Joanne passed away. Ada retired from work in 1999. She moved to Idaho and built a new house that same year. The house she built was next door to her daughter Gwen, husband Steve and their family. She lived out the rest of her life in Idaho as a part of Gwen and Steve’s life and family. In her final years Ada was well loved and cared for at Safe Haven Home in Bellevue, Idaho.

Ada loved to travel and made it to many exotic places like: Nepal, China, Africa, Galapagos Islands, Australia, New Zealand, floating the Colorado River and of course all parts of Europe several times. Not liking the extravagance of modern Christmas one of her most favorite events was celebrating St. Nicholas as practiced in Holland with simple gifts and advice. A perfect day for Ada was having all of her kids together with her. It is fortunate that all of her kids were there in her passing and she will be greatly missed by her friends and family.

Ada is survived by her three children and their families: Ivan and Cianna, Spanaway WA; Mike and Kris, Hood River, OR; Gwen and Steve, Hailey, ID. She had 14 grand children and one great grandchild.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley and/or the Blaine County Senior Center.

A Celebration of Life, where we will share memories, will be held on Sunday, September 6, 2015, 1:00, at Joeseppis Restaurant. Please call Wood River Chapel at (208)788-2244 or go to for further details. You may also leave a condolence, share memories and light a candle.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ada VanDooren, please visit our flower store.

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Wood River Chapel


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Cremation under the care of Wood River Chapel

403 N Main St, Hailey, ID 83333

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