Our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend Johan Jeremias De Jong passed away on August 5, 2020, in Ocala, Florida at 90 years of age. John, as he was called in America, was born to Willem and Wien de Jong, the second son of a family of 7 children on October 21, 1929 in Buitenzorg, Indonesia, a Dutch colony at the time. John’s father was retired from the Royal Dutch Army in Indonesia.
He had a joyful childhood with his many siblings and cousins until the occupation of Indonesia by the Japanese in World War II. The war years were difficult. His father died in 1942 and, at the war’s end, he and his older brother were incarcerated by the Indonesian nationalists.
It was at school that he met the love of his life Wilhelmien (Willy) van Akker. They were married in 1953 and their daughter Hady was born a year later. Because of Indonesian independence in 1949 the family moved to the Netherlands to start life anew in Hengelo, where daughter Debby was born.
The family moved once again, this time to America and settled in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. John continued his education by going to college at night to study chemical engineering at the Penn State Hazleton Campus. He worked at General Foam/Tenneco Chemicals for more than 30 years. They were active members of the community and members of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Retirement took John and Willy to Ocala, Florida, returning north to summer with daughter Debby on the Jersey shore. They traveled with friends and family and John liked to boast that they had visited all 50 states. They enjoyed social and dance parties with friends at Oak Run. John played golf, often 5 days a week, until the week before he passed. He volunteered at Munroe Regional Medical Center until Covid 19. They enjoyed all that the sunshine state had to offer until Willy’s passing in January and John’s in August.
John was perpetually cheerful and open, willing to help people. He was hardworking and a friend to everyone. They were valued members of the communities where they lived, participating and volunteering, and made the most of local opportunities.
In addition to his daughters, John is survived by Hady’s husband Iain; by grandson Alexander and his wife Michelle and their daughter Rowan; and by granddaughter Johanna and her husband Sam. He is also survived by his brother Paulus in California and sister Elisabeth in Nevada as well as brother Arnold and sister Maria in the Netherlands. John’s wife Willy, sister Suzanna, and brother Dick predeceased him.
Due to the coronavirus, a Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date. In the meantime, his daughters ask you to call up a friend and share a personal story or experience you had with Dad.