Petrus ‘Pete’ Cornelia Vander Werff, 88, passed away peacefully at his home in Escalon on Monday, July 7, 2014.
He was born Dec. 10, 1925, in Zoeterwoude, South Holland. Following World War II in 1946, Pete served for the Dutch Army where he fought in the Indonesia War for Independence. After three-and-a-half years of service, he came back to Holland where he immediately signed up with the U.S. Consulate to immigrate to the US. One-and-a-half years went by before his number was called and his pursuit of the American Dream began. He eventually proudly became an American citizen. One week before he was to leave, he married his wife, Cornelia, who followed him to America three months after his departure.
In September 1955, he came to Escalon, California, after a brief stay in southern California. His dream was to have his own dairy and that was realized after years of hard work and dedication. In 1987, he was honored to be the recipient of Escalon’s Outstanding Farmer of the Year award. Pete encapsulated the symbol of the American Dream by working hard, having determination and raising a family, all while starting out with practically nothing.
A devout Catholic, he was an active member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He was actively involved by serving over 58 years as an Usher, President of Our Lady of Fatima Committee Celebration in 1989, member of Men of St. Patrick’s and Minister of the Extraordinary Holy Eucharist.
He is survived by his children, Yvonne (Jim) Heryford of Murphys, Caroline (Keith) Rigg of Escalon, and Steven (Vickie) Vander Werff of Melba, Idaho. He was a loving Opa to his surviving grandchildren Darren, Brittany and Kristi of Escalon, Haley, Jaymie and Ryan of Murphys, and Clayton, Blake and Luke of Melba, Idaho. Also survived by his brother, Johannes (Carolina) van der Werff of Escalon, half-sister, Mien van Kempen and half-brothers, Sjon van der Werff and Gerard van der Werff of Holland, along with many nieces and nephews in California and Holland.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Cornelia.
Visitation was at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on July 15 followed by a Rosary.
Mass will be Wednesday, July 16 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s, 19399 E. Highway 120 in Escalon followed by burial at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery.
Remembrances can be made to Men of St. Patrick’s and mailed to 19399 East Highway 120, Ripon CA 95366.
For condolences to the family, visit www.deeganfuneralchapels.com.