His family’s wartime service later enabled him to qualify for the refugee relief program and immigrate to the United States. Hennie was a veteran of the Dutch Air Force, having made the rank of sergeant. He met his wife, Hillie, at a local dance and fell in love. The bond held strong for 58 years, and Hillie was at his side when he passed after a difficult struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Many remember Hennie from his career as a mechanic. He was a self-made man and owned several businesses, including The Bike Shop in San Francisco and International Auto Car in Livermore. Hennie was a skilled mechanic, known to repair just about anything. He was involved with the Dutch Apostolic Church and is remembered as a giving man who would frequently help those in need. He is fondly remembered by his four children – Jeannette, Annerieke, David and Hans – as a loving father and devoted husband.
Hennie once described himself as being “tremendously rich,” not by monetary standards but by the joyous life he built here in California, the lifelong friends he made and the pleasure he took in seeing his family thrive. Hennie is survived by his wife, four children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Services will be held at the Byron United Methodist Church on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.