Neeltje “Nelly” passed away January 6, 2018. Nelly was born October 4, 1931 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Neeltje, like most Dutch children, enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the 1940s. That changed when the German troops invaded Holland during World War II. Despite their profession of faith and practice of Catholicism, their involvement in the Resistance and Jewish ancestry forced the family to flee Haarlem and hide with sympathetic Dutch citizens. Post World War II, Nelly married a U.S. Army career military professional. She had the opportunity to live in various countries and serve her family and adopted country as a military wife. She was fluent in four languages and enjoyed serving as an interpreter in military social engagements. She never came to terms with the cruelty imposed during World War II. It left an indelible mark on her, but she never reflected bitterness due to the circumstances of the war. Her response was to live life with grace, determination, joy and a giving spirit. She was successful in cultivating many loyal friendships and assisting those in need. Nelly leaves her two sons Richard (Donna), Jay (Jami), five grandchildren – Rick, Anna, Taylor, Graham and Shade, and a host of beloved nieces and nephews in Holland. We would like to thank the Allied Armies that liberated Europe. The sacrifice of the U.S citizens will never be forgotten. Nelly was especially thankful for the Salvation Army. Their care and support was monumental to her family and the citizens of Holland. We would also like to thank the friends and relationships in Columbus, MS where Nelly lived for thirty years. We will forever appreciate their acceptance. In addition, we thank our friends and neighbors in Memphis. We thank them for their support, love and sympathy. Paul’s letter in 2nd Timothy illustrates that the wealth of an individual is not in the material. The letter depicts that the wealth of an individual is in the relationships we cultivate and nurture - to that, Nelly died a wealthy lady. Neeltje will be memorialized in her native country at a future date. Memorials may be sent to the U.S. Veterans, Salvation Army, U.S. Holocaust Museum and/or the National Civil Rights Museum.
Appeared in The Commercial Dispatch on January 12, 2018
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