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In Loving Memory

Gertrude Carolyn Wijnmalen Verkerk

September 25, 1920 – April 25, 2021

Gertrude Carolyn Wijnmalen Verkerk passed away at the age of 100 ½ years old on April 25, 2021.

Gertrude was born on September 25, 1920, in Bindjei, Indonesia to Margaret Christine Herklots and William Theodoor Wijnmalen.  She moved to the Netherlands with her parents in her late teens and was living there during the German Occupation in World War II.   After the war she returned to Indonesia where she met and married her husband Lucas Verkerk on December 5, 1947.

In 1949 she moved back to Holland and on September 23,1949, she had her first child, Hendrik Johan Verkerk.  In 1950 she moved back to Indonesia and on January 17, 1951, had her second son, Willem Christian Theodoor Verkerk.  A year later on May 30, 1952, another son was born, Eric Carol Lucas Verkerk.   In 1955 the family moved back to Holland.  On May 19, 1957, Gertrude had a daughter, Helga Marion followed by a son, Simon Peter on September 16, 1958.

In 1960 the family immigrated to the United States and lived in Cambridge, MA for several years.  After moving to Tewksbury, MA, Phoenix AZ, and Washington Township, NJ, the family finally settled down in Houston, TX.   Gertrude applied for and became an American Citizen on June 26, 1967.   Gertrude was divorced from Lucas on August 29, 1980, after several years of estrangement.   

Gertrude, who was known as "Oma" to all in the family, was a sweet and kind hearted women.  She raised her five children mostly by herself and was a devoted mother and follower of Christ.  Her Dutch and Indonesian cooking was a delight to all the family. She enjoyed her Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and Dutch treats.  She loved family and enjoyed family get togethers, trips up to visit her daughter in OKC, and holiday and birthday celebrations at her eldest son's home in Pearland.

Gertrude is survived by her son and his wife, Hendrik and Sylvia Verkerk of Pearland, TX, her son and his wife, Willem and Jane Verkerk of Missouri City, TX, her son, Eric Verkerk of Trinity, Tx, her daughter and her husband, Helga Marion and Patrick Fleming of Norman, OKC, and her son, Simon Peter of Houston Tx.   Gertrude is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Nikki Stahl, Paul, Patrick, and Joey Fleming, April Jackson, Emily Schnitzer, Josh Verkerk, Elle Armstrong, and Simon Verkerk.  She is also survived by 15 great grandchildren, Ava and Sam Stahl, Trinity and Falyn Fleming, Coleman, Westly, Parker, and Finley Fleming, Ashley, Alex, and Andrew Copeland, Nathan, Callie and Jake Jackson and Evie Schnitzer. 

 She is also survived by her nephew Raoul Debrichy and his wife, Yvonne, Paul Debrichy and his wife Eveline, and her niece Sylvia Nolten, who all reside in Holland. She was also preceded in death by her niece, Merle Terol and Merle's husband, Chiel.   

 A celebration of her Life will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Jeter Memorial Funeral Home, 311 N. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood, TX 77546 (281)992-7200, with Rev. Rex Forsyth of Sagemont Church officiating.  All friends and family are welcome to attend.  Anyone wishing to sign the online guestbook, share memories, or issue condolences to the family may do so at www.jeterfuneralhome.com. The family asked in lieu of flowers donations be made in Gertrude's memory to the Dementia society.org

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25 thoughts on “Gertrude Carolyn Wijnmalen Verkerk”

  1. Sylvia Verkerk

    Dear Oma, Your loving heart and kind spirit will be missed! You have always been an example to everyone in the family as you shine for Christ. I remember going over to meet my future mother-in-law fifty years ago, not sure how I would be accepted since I was marrying your oldest son and it was going to be the first marriage of one of your children. You opened up your arms to me and always showed the caring heart of a mother.
    We have so many wonderful memories of "girl's night outs" at my house with Marion, Nikki, and sometimes, April. Your sense of humor and kind spirit was so relaxing to be around. I remember you were trying to teach me Dutch as a 19 year old and newlywed before I left to meet Hank in Europe for a year. I would make my best effort to make all the "guttural" sounds necessary to pronounce the Dutch words and you would just crack up but patiently continue to work with me.
    I remember all the times when Hank and I would take you on trips to see Marion and the family in Tulsa. While we were there, you would sneak up and whisper "lets get all the girls and go out for ice cream but don't tell the boys!" We would be giggling and cutting up when we returned! What fun you had doing things like that"
    I also remember how much you enjoyed staying at our house whenever your nieces and nephews in Holland would come over and stay for a few weeks. You looked forward to it so much and truly enjoyed your nephew, Chiel, cooking all the delicious Indonesian food while he was here, and your nieces Merle and Sylvia's fellowship, who were more like sisters than nieces to you.
    So many memories! You may be gone Oma but you will live on in our hearts and we celebrate the fact that we will meet again one day up with our Heavenly Father. You will always be our family treasure, a true gift from God, and such an amazing mother-in-law!!

  2. Dear Trudy,
    I remember sitting around your oldest son's, Hank, house playing parcheesi with you and your daughter in law, Sylvia.
    I was teaching both of you how to play. Before we knew it you had beat both of us at the game. You were
    beaming from ear to ear so happy. You were usually so quiet it was fun watching you as you realized that you
    had won. I enjoyed all the times over the years that I got to visit with you during family gatherings, you were
    always such a kind, sweet lady and a joy to be around!

    1. Paul en Eveline Debrichy

      Dear Verkerk family,
      Our deepest condolences to all for the sad loss of your Mother, Mother-in-law, Oma and Great-grandmother.
      Our 'Tante Truus' (aunt Trudy) was for us a very special person during our whole life inspite of she was most of her life not in the Netherlands.
      We will remember her as an icon of kindness and we were often so surprised when she was on the phone, she talked immediately in Dutch with us.
      We will always remember the moments we were with her in the Netherlands and in the USA, special her 90th birthday when we stayed with Henk and Sylvia with our children.
      We regret we can't be with the memorial on may 15th but you are all in our thoughts.
      We hope tante Truus will rest in peace.
      Love Paul and Eveline Debrichy

  3. Sylvia Nolten

    I remember the period that tante Truus and her children stayed for a period with our family in our home in "Hofwijkplein" in Holland. At that time she and the children went through a very difficult time. I will always have a deep respect for the way taute Truus raised her 5 children alone and took care of them.
    Years after it was also a joy to me that Micha and Priscilla and I were able to come to Houston for the first time in 2005, along with Chiel and Merle. We had a family reunion and met all the family in Houston. We were also able to come to Houston for tante Truus's 90th Birthday celebration in 2010. During that second visit I interviewed tante Truus in the garden of Hank and Syl and I asked her many questions about my grandparents life. It was a very lovely time together. During the last years I had precious telephone calls with tante Truus when we talked about the family, the Lord, encouraged each other from the Word, and prayed together. I am very grateful for the times I had with tante Truus.

  4. Raoul and Yvonne Debrichy

    We offer our deepest condolences to all family and friends for the loss of Gertrude Carolina Verkerk.
    We wish all of them much strength in coping with their grief.

    In loving memory: Lieve tante Truus
    When I think of you, I see a loving woman who cares about the events of all family members. Very attentive to birthdays and holidays, such as Christmas and New Year. We have received many handwritten cards and letters. You have done that to a very old age. When I called you for your 91st birthday and asked if you could still walk with a walker, as proof of your fitness, you replied, "I bought a new walking stick!"
    For our first meeting, I will go back to the moment when I met you as a 3-year-old toddler at grandpa and grandma Wijnmalen at 11 Egelantierstraat, in The Hague. That was in 1945-1946.
    You were a young woman in your mid- twenties and not yet married.
    My parents lived on the 2nd floor and 'opa' and 'oma' Wijnmalen on the 1st.
    I cannot remember much of that time, only that opa and oma celebrated their birthdays extensively with many family and friends from the former Dutch East Indies.
    When you returned from Indonesia married to Uncle Lucas, you lived in Hengelo, Overijssel.
    Uncle Lucas had a good job at HEEMAF, a factory producing large electrical appliances for industry.
    When I was 15 years old you invited me to come and stay for a week during the school holidays.
    On an early morning in August I cycled from The Hague to Hengelo at six in the morning. It took me 12 hours . At the time you lived with Henk, Wim and Eric and baby Marion in a new housing estate at Bankastraat 43. We tasted the Lonneker ice cream there and explored the city center of Hengelo, walked and told family stories.
    Later you came to Dalfsen again. We also visited you in Houston in 1993, where you cooked deliciously for Yvonne and me. The dedication to all of us is especially evident in the closing lines of your cards and letters;
    Quote: Ik hoop jullie terug te zien, dat zou fijn zijn. En nu lieverds, een dikke pakkerd en veel liefs van jullie tante Truus!
    "I hope to see you again, that would be great. And now, dear ones, a big kiss and lots of love from your aunt Trudy!
    Aunt Trudy you were a great aunt, the warmth you radiated is palpable when we think of you!
    Thank you for allowing us to receive that family love from you.

  5. Arthur en Marianne Terol

    Our deepest condolences to all family for the loss of a kind and warm person, Gertrude Carolyn Wijnmalen Verkerk.
    We hope and pray that you'll find the strength and comfort to carry on, the time for sharing memories and the courage to support each other in times of sadness.

    In loving memory of "tante" Truus

    One day I came home from primay school and there she was, tante Truus. I saw the resemblance to my grandmother, Oma Louise Eleonore, but then again she wasn't. "Hoe gaat het met jou?"("How are you?") she asked in Dutch. Shy as I was we had a short conversation in wich she explained the family situation. Then I gave her a big hug and recieved many more back.
    I always received a kind, warm hug and a warm see-you-again. With joy I saw the many pictures and messages Eveline shared with us.

    I'm greatful I have met you!

  6. Suzanne Debrichy en Jan Willem van Hooff

    To our dearest family, we are so sorry for your loss and send you our deepest condolences. We wish we could be there to honor aunt Trudy along with you.
    I am so lucky that I got to meet and speak to Aunt Trudy 'tante Truus' a few times despite the long distance. She was truly one of the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met. Such a lovely, calm and funny person to be around. I remember that special time when we all came over to celebrate her 90th birthday. It was great to see her enjoy spending time with all of the family and taking an interest in each and everyone. I never got the talk to my grandmother, the sister of aunt Trudy, since she passed away shortly after I was born. I like to think I saw a bit of what she was like, whilst talking to aunt Trudy and I am so grateful for that.
    Wishing you peace,

  7. I feel very blessed to have known Trudy. She was a very special lady. She was a kind, gracious, sincere individual. I admired and greatly respected her. Her family was very fortunate to have such a loving and caring mother. Our prayers and condolences to all her family. You have lost a dear and special person. Sincerely, Sid Brockman

  8. Martin and Muriel Debrichy

    We share with you in the sadness of the passing of Aunt Trudy, but also in the appreciation of the kindness, warmth and love she brought to all the families. I remember when I was a child the first time I heard about our relatives in the United States of America, the name "Tante Truus" was mentioned. It was clear from that moment Tante Truus was a very special person with a clear place in everyone's heart. May she rest in peace and love.

  9. Helga Marion Fleming

    I am the most fortunate daughter in the world. I was raised by Gertrude Caroline Verkerk a loving , kind and godly mother. She gave me the example of a kind heart who always saw the best in everyone. I will miss you mom, and I have a life time of memories that will keep you alive in my heart and I am looking forward to seeing you again soon. I Love you always.

  10. Patrick Fleming

    Dear Oma, Although I didn't not get many chances to spend time with you. I do cherish, the times I did get to spend being your grandson. You were always kind and generous. You were loving, sweet and funny. The more I learn about your life the more impressed and in awe of what you have been thru and accomplished. I know you are in a much better place and look forward to seeing you again. God bless you and thank you for being an amazing Oma. P.S. Thanks for providing me the greatest mother in the world.

  11. Patrick Fleming

    To Oma,
    Seeing Oma and you smile,
    Visit with her and you feel relaxed,
    Know her and you are blest,
    She lives through her children and you remember her,
    You will be missed by all

  12. Paul - grandson

    It is not very often in this life you get to meet a true saint, but that is the opportunity you gave every person that met you. When I think back about your life story I believe you are easily one of the toughest, most amazing women to walk this earth. I wish my wife and children would have had the pure luxury of getting to spend more time with you. I wish they could have gone on the trips to get ice cream from Baskin Robins just like when we were kids!
    Oma grew up with the most amazing family, and now have the world's greatest wife and two young girls. Your influences on my mother and father helped shape who I am today, and I love you. I regret not spending more time with you over the last decade and I hope you can forgive me. My wife and two daughters only got to meet you once, but immediately saw how amazing you were and look forward to spending time with you in heaven when we catch up with you. I am glad you are no longer in pain and get to spend everyday rejoicing with the heavenly father. I miss you Oma. Love your grandson Paul

  13. April Jackson

    When I think of Oma
    I think of,
    coffee candy,
    trips to Baskin Robbins for Jamoca ice cream,
    Her laugh,
    Her heavy Dutch accent,
    Me playing in her room and playing dress up with her jewelry,
    Her kitchen,
    chocolate jimmies on toast
    Peanut butter sauce
    Her smile,
    and her ability to sit, listen, and enjoy her family

  14. Eleonore Armstrong

    I remember going to visit Oma at her apartment many times with my dad,
    or dropping by after church. I like tying to pet her cat, sitting on her couch,
    telling her my latest accomplishments or adventures, and eating Andes mints.
    She was always encouraging and a great listener.

  15. Joshua Verkerk

    A series of memories I have of Oma is when I was much younger, a few days before my birthday
    each year she would come pick me up and take me to the old Service Merchandise store on Hwy 59
    and we'd explore until I found a birthday present I really wanted. Then she'd buy it for me and I'd take
    it home, my new prized kids telescope or lego set or something like that. We did that each year until I
    was about 12 or 13, then the store closed in 2002 when I was 16, but whenever I drive by that location
    I remember those trips and how much I looked forward to them!

  16. Eric C. L. Verkerk

    Dearest Mother, I miss the times we spent together shopping at Walmart & HEB on Saturdays, taking drives in the country on nice days and just talking. These were the times you were still living in your own apartment. I also want to thank you for interceding with Will to get me to Teen Challenge to get me help, this was a life saver and changer. Thank you Mom for all you did and for always praying for me. Thank You!

  17. Willem Verkerk

    My Mom
    The two most important things in my mom's life were her Faith and her Family, especially her children. And it took a lot of faith to raise 4 rambunctious boys and 1 lovely girl.
    Oh the hell we boys would have put her through. if she had known half the things we did. But she was always the epitome of love and forgiveness.
    She seemed timid to some, yet had an inner strength that was truly awesome.
    My mom more than anyone else modeled for me, how to be a parent, a father.
    She showed us love and through that disciplined us.
    When I had my motorcycle accident she took care of me. she cut back on her work hours to be there for me. She took me to the semi weekly doctors appointments. She worked to raise my spirits and keep me focused on recovery as weeks ran into months. She stayed up at night to talk me through episodes of deep depression.
    She was a rock and not just for me, but my sister and brothers and others.
    Thank you for being my mom, I love you always.

  18. Sadly I did not spend near enough time with you Oma. I am sorry I did not make it a higher priority, you would love all your great grandkids. They are all full of love and compassion in their hearts. I have a very fond memory of a time when we visited you in your apartment when I was very young. We all talked and laughed, but after dinner we turned on the tv and started a back rub train…..I was at the front 🙂 After we had chocolate gemmies and I loved that night. Also I always loved going to Baskin and Robins with you……I still only eat mint chocolate chip to this day.
    Love You!

  19. Simon Verkerk

    mom you were the greatest not because you were perfect because you were first to care and always there. You were the perfect mom for me
    You. will live foreverl in our hearts.

  20. Emily Verkerk-Schnitzer

    My best memories of Oma are sitting in her apartment, typing out stories on her typewriter. She would help me make up stories and would read them when I was done. She always acted like it was the best thing she'd ever read. As I grew older, she would routinely ask if I was still writing.

  21. My Oma and I always had such a great time together watching movies, getting a bite to eat, or going to get Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Oma would share stories about her youth with me and her time during the Nazi occupation and following liberation. I enjoyed the time we would spend together. She was always so great about lending a supportive ear and providing kindness. One thing people may not have known is that my Oma loved to watch WWF wrestling, she would get so into it! Even then, she was such a sweet, gentle soul. I also still love to remember my Oma's giggle whenever she got tickled about some thing. Her laugh will forever be imprinted into my memory.

  22. Hendrik Verkerk

    My Mother arrived in the United States with 5 children. She has left behind a legacy of 9 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
    She never lost her sense of humor and enjoyed her family. I know for a fact that her faith in God gave her the strength to
    keep the family together in both good times and not so good times. She may have seemed meek on the outside but God gave
    her a strong inner strength. I look forward to seeing her again.

  23. As mentioned by others, Trudy appeared meek and gentle, but as we learn more about the life she lived, her strength and courage become obvious. She was born in Indonesia, returned to Holland, and eventually lived under Nazi occupation there. As a young adult in the post-war years, she chose to return to life in Indonesia without her parents. Her choice reveals an independent and courageous heart. Years later, after marriage, five children, a move back to Holland, and immigrating to the United States, an occasion arose where Trudy journeyed to Holland and back to the US with five children, via ship – only a strong, faithful, courageous woman would accept that challenge.
    Through it all, she was kind, cheerful, loving, and meek. Her story is an amazing adventure to a woman from a small town in Michigan (me).
    I came to know Trudy and the family through marriage to her son, Willem in 1983. My most precious memory of Trudy happened just a few months after our wedding. We were at a family gathering where a few of us were standing talking about recipes. One of the ladies happened to ask Trudy what Will's favorite meal was. Trudy smiled, looked at me and said, "I don't know, you should ask his wife". Although it was small talk, Trudy let me know I was accepted. That was no small thing for a young lady who had just married into the family. I have often thought of this moment and been grateful for my Mother-In-Law. Trudy always made me feel wanted and loved.
    Trudy, you were an amazing mother, mother-in-law, and person. You lived the values of the Christian faith beautifully, and quietly influenced all who knew you. I am so blessed to have been one of them.
    I am happy knowing you are now free of pain and the encumbrances of this world, rejoicing continually with the Lord.

  24. As Trudy aged, I had opportunity to take her to a doctor appointment or to get her hair done. On our first trip to a doctors appointment, we were sitting next to each other in the examination room when the nurse walked in. As she bustled about taking Trudy's vitals and chatting with her, I asked a question. At that, the nurse looked at me and kindly asked, "And, who are you?"
    The thought came to me that a 'daughter-in-law' might not be close enough family to attend her appointment, so I responded, "I am Trudy's daughter, Jane".
    Trudy looked at me and smiled. When the nurse left, Trudy asked, "You're my daughter?" with a knowing smile.
    "Is that OK?" I replied, smiling too.
    "Oh Yes", she chirped as she reached over and patted my hand.
    Of course, I took her for ice cream after the appointment. She deserved a treat.

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Friendswood, Texas 77546


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