Gertie Sluys Butterman was born in Andijk, the Netherlands, to Cornelis Sluys and Vimke Woudstra on Armistice Day. She married Cornelis (Keith) Butterman in 1941, and the couple lived and worked in Amsterdam, where they ran a print shop.
In 1943, Keith was arrested for his assistance in organizing strikes to protest Nazi oppression. Initially condemned to death, his sentence was commuted and he spent 1943-45 as a political prisoner in concentration camps, mainly Dachau. Gertie and her baby daughter went to her parents’ farm in North Holland, which became a refuge for people hiding from the Nazis. Keith survived Dachau and returned to North Holland, where, in Heer Hugowaard, he ran a newspaper.
Three more children were born to Keith and Gertie. In 1953, they followed Gertie’s sister’s family’s and her brother’s family’s examples, and immigrated to California. After a year of moving - from Ripon to Oakdale to the Bay Area - they settled in Campbell, California. Keith was a printer first for the Campbell Press and until his retirement, for the San Jose Mercury-News. He passed away in 1976.
Three years after coming to the U.S., Gertie was teaching Sunday School, in English, in her church. She was active in its choir, and in its women’s groups. Her hospitality was boundless; she loved to entertain. She loved the beauty of the mountains and the seashore, and she and Keith took their children on regular picnics and camping trips. In the 1980s, she herself became a sponsor of immigrants from Cambodia. She was profoundly interested in the wider world. She visited her daughter in Zambia and later in Ghana; and returned to the Netherlands on multiple occasions. She had a wide circle of friends, and, literally, loved her neighbors. To the end, she followed the political developments of this country and of the world. Her faith in God was the source of her strength, and her example shines on.
She is survived by her sister, Patricia Vriend of San Jose; her children, Judy Butterman and Roger Tangri, Hanna Wilson, and William Butterman of Ripon and Case Butterman and Jan Schori of Sacramento; her grandchildren Joshua Butterman, and Jennifer and John McCall, of Chico, and one great-grandchild, John Patrick McCall.
Graveside service will be on Wednesday, May 11, at noon at Los Gatos Memorial Park. Her memorial service will be on Thursday, May 12 at 1 p.m. at Almond Valley Christian Reformed Church in Ripon. Arrangements by Deegan Ripon Memorial Chapel; there is an online guest book available for you to share your condolences with the family at www.deeganfuneralchapels.com
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Saturday, May 7, 2011