Willie Ann Boonstra passed away peacefully on Feb. 14, 2021.
Willie was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands on March 21, 1927 to Jacobus and Johanna (van der Sloot) de Ruiter. She was the youngest of four children. Spending her childhood in Diemen near Amsterdam, she enjoyed sharing stories of growing up near Amsterdam, the theater and joining in the celebration when the Canadian forces liberated Amsterdam in 1945.
Meeting the love of her life, Egbert (Ed) Boonstra in 1948 and marrying in 1952, they chose to live their life in the United States.
Traveling with other emigrants by ship, the Holland American Rotterdam, they arrived in New York Harbor and then traveled by train across the U.S. to Oak Harbor, Wash., becoming part of its Dutch community. Willie worked as a housekeeper in the earlier years, then as “the lunch lady” at the elementary schools and, eventually, at Chris’ Bakery as a clerk. Everyone knew Willie when they showed up at the bakery for coffee klatch.
Willie’s life was defined by a deep faith and she was a lifetime member at the First Reformed Church. She was devoted to helping at the church, working in the kitchen, volunteering at church camps on Orcas Island and assisting in preparing the annual Dutch dinner for Holland Happening for many years.
On weekends during the summers, you would always find Willie, Ed and their two children, Rick and Karin, camping on Lake Whatcom, Lake Wenatchee, the Columbia River and at Pearrygin Lake near Winthrop, Wash. You could still find Willie waterskiing at age 70 on Lake Pearrygin, enjoying time with family and friends.
Spending many vacations taking relatives from the Netherlands on the Cascade Loop, Willie enjoyed the outdoors and the beauty of the mountains. After retirement, life was enjoyed by traveling back to the Netherlands, throughout Europe, Hawaii and Alaska, and taking cruises and making wonderful memories with family and friends.
The door has always been open for coffee at the Boonstra home with Willie being a welcoming hostess. Until her final days, she would join the regulars around the table enjoying coffee klatching.
Willie is survived by her husband of 68 years, Egbert (Ed) Boonstra; daughter Karin Nelson, of Kirkland, Wash.; Gary and Jan Boonstra; Rick Boonstra; Mike and Susan Boonstra and their children; and many nieces and nephews here and in the Netherlands.
Her son Rick Boonstra, and son-in-law Ted Nelson preceded her in death.
The Boonstra family would like to thank Home Health Care and Hospice of Coupeville, Wash., for the years of excellent care. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Home Health Care or your favorite charity.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at First Reformed Church of Oak Harbor.
Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com