Mama Oma Willy Monsantofils Duysings passed over into her heavenly home peacefully at home 10:56pm March 27, 2024 surrounded by family members.
Mama, Willy Monsantofils Duysings, was born on September 2, 1926 in Porwokerto, on the island of Java, in The Dutch East Indies.
She passed away on March 27, 2024 at age 97. She was the last of her siblings to go. She lived a long and full life filled with joys and pangs, a fruitful life.
She was the 4th child of eight children. Three boys and five girls. Her father was Hendrik Monsantofils, a train station master, and her mother was Josephine Droop, a great-great-granddaughter of a German pirate, Henrich von Droop, who eventually sailed to The Dutch East Indies and married a native girl, making Java his home.
Her childhood was a normal upbringing, with the exception of multiple moves to different cities because of her father’s train station master job. Growing up with seven siblings must have had many interesting times.
In her later teens, for three and a half years (1942-1945) the family had to survive the harsh Japanese military occupation of the islands.
Their lives were tremendously affected by the war years. Immediately, when the Japanese military invaded the islands, her oldest brother, Alfred (Diet), was gathered up and put into one of many military prison camps on Java. Her second oldest brother, Gerard (Ade), who was a very young 19 year old Dutch Navy sailor, was killed in the sinking of the Dutch Navy flagship, the HNLMS De Ruyter, in the Battle of the Java Sea in February 27, 1942.
The family plied out a living under the very restrictive Japanese rule.
In late 1944, her father, Hendrik, was arrested by the Japanese, accused of taking part in a train sabotage. This was a drummed up charge to conveniently point blame for the incident. He was placed in a government prison to rot away. In the meantime, the family had to eke out a very precarious and meager living without the father’s monthly income. They were forced to move to a different house in the outskirts of the City of Batavia, the capital. Life was difficult during the war years, but the family pulled through.
Only two months before the end of WWII, their father died from ill health in the prison. Such a horendous loss.
After the war, the family got on with life as the oldest children found jobs to keep the household together. Yet, a new threat loomed and posed itself on them, Indonesian Nationalism seeking independence. All non indigenous people became targets of discrimination with brutal attacks against them in the post war years. Life as the family knew it in pre-war years would never be the same. It would be a time for tremendous change which led to a large-scale diaspora out of the country for non-indigenous people.
In the meantime, in early 1948, at age 22, Mama Willy met Herman, her future husband. They married on October 15, 1948.
Papa Herman, also a survivor of a Japanese prison camp, had just finished a stint in the KNIL (Royal Nederland East Indies Army) and civil engineering school, now was employed on a tea and rubber plantation near Sukabumi, Java as head of security. Security measures were needed because bands of Indonesian insurgents roamed the countryside to rid the country of foreigners, especially of Dutch extraction.
Two sons were born during this time, Arthur Roland (1949) and Peter Robert (1952).
After the plantation was stolen by government decree to take control of all businesses, the young family moved to Bandung, Java where Papa Herman got a job with a civil engineering company. Rudolf Paul was born here in 1953.
That same year, Papa Herman along with two friends were arrested on bogus insurrection against the state charges and were thrown in a government prison.
While our father was taken captive, immediately our mother was faced with a whole new circumstance, having to figure out how to eke out a living with three very young sons and our father’s mother, old Oma Leen (L¯ane), also living there. The fortunate thing was that the house they lived in was owned by a family member and they stayed there rent free in Bandung. Another gracious gift was, our father’s employer, an engineering company, continued to pay his monthly salary for another six months. Anticipating the lack of income after the six months, our mother began growing orchids and cooking food for other families for money, while Oma Leen sewed clothes to sell. Of course, this routine could not sustain them forever.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Consulate, kept urging the family to get out of the country for their sake of their welfare. In January 1955, a little over one year after our father was arrested, the family said their goodbyes to the few extended family members and friends who were still living in the country, and departed Java for Holland. Mama believed she would never see Papa Herman again.
However, a marvelous story unfolded by God’s merciful hand and brought Papa back to us in Holland a year later in December 1955. (details of his escape is a separate story)
Soon after, Papa got a civil engineering job and Mama a government job. In March 1957, a fourth son, Bernard Alexander was born at home in ‘s-Gravenzande, South Holland. We immigrated to America in June, 1960 to Bellflower, California. Then moved to Riverside, CA in 1963.
Mama began work as a home cleaner full time. In June, 1969 we moved to San Jose, CA. Mama again picked up home cleaning jobs. She always said that the families she worked for treated her as family and even paid into her social security account, which helped her on retirement years.
In 1974, Papa & Mama moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains on 3 acres. Ben was the only son still living at home. In 1989, Papa & Mama retired and moved out of state to Greenbank, Whidbey Island, Washington and built their dream house that Papa designed on a large parcel of land. At that time, Rudie and Ben and their families lived close by on Whidbey Island. They enjoyed the years gardening, road trips, and spending time with grandkids.
Then in May 2002 Papa passed away at age 78 from a stroke. Mama sold the home and property and had a new small home built on the back end of Rudie’s 10 acre property. She has lived there happily since 2004.
She has lived a very healthy life into a very ripe old age. A lot of that stems from eating healthy foods. She is survived by 4 sons, 12 grandchildren, 30 great-grand children, and 1 great-great grandchild. The great grand children have given her a lot of joy in her later years.
Some miscellaneous info:
She liked to laugh and play along with jokes – two of her favorite cartoon characters were Heckle & Jeckle. She even allowed us the watch The Three Stooges as long as we did not copy the rough antics.
She liked playing tennis in her youth.
She loved to read and do crossword puzzles.
She was humble and had a good strong work ethic.
She was well known as a good cook. She never used a cookbook. She cooked meals from scratch. It was rare when she cooked a meal from a boxed mix from the store. She cooked from memory, from years of learning from her mother how to whip up meals while growing up. She always made the tastiest of meals using her blend of spices. Some of our favorite ones were, Nasi goreng (fried rice), bami (Indonesian version of Chow Mein), sate Ayam or Babi (grilled chicken/pork kabab), bubur ayam (chicken rice porridge), Sayur (coconut vegetable soup), Gado-Gado (a type of salad), Krupuk (shrimp chip), and one of course we can’t forget Mama’s lumpia (egg roll). Immigrating to the US, brought forth new additional meals. Hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, grilled cheese, spaghetti, tacos, and her version of Spanish rice.
Her favorite color was Blue
Favorite flower: orchid and lily
Spring was her favorite season
And lastly, but the most significant attribute of her life was her love and faith in the Lord God.
The family knows that Mama’s faith and reliance on God was her all-encompassing treasure. To us, her simple faith in trusting the Lord was her paramount focus and was reflective as in Luke 18:17, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And this elementary trust in God was her stability, her pillar in life. We are all so very jubilant that she is celebrating the most magnificent gift of eternal life with her God in paradise now. We thank God for loving Mama, and bringing her into His fold.
We love you, Mama. You have always been our most favorite mother of all time. It is soothing to know you and Papa Herman are together again. Rest in God’s bosom forever.
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