In Memoriam, Jeannette “Netty” Herman-Louwerse

Jeannette Herman-Louwerse


January 27, 1910 – November 22, 2011

Jeannette “Netty” Herman-Louwerse peacefully passed away during an afternoon nap in her recliner on November 22, 2011 in the Netherlands.

Born on January 27, 1910 in Middelburg, she lived independently in her own home in Nistelrode after the death of her husband Fokko in 1998. At the age of 100, she decided she could no longer take care of herself because macular degeneration was slowly but surely depriving her of most of her vision, and she moved to an assisted living facility close to her home.

The warm, personal Memorial Service on Saturday, November 26 showed the strong family ties between Netty, her daughter Ronny  and her son-in-law Mike, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren in the United States and Canada, who, together, had prepared a final farewell message. All her surviving nieces, nephews, cousins and second cousins from the Netherlands and as far away as Spain, friends from near and far, as well as daughter Ronny from Arizona attended the service.

The ninety-seven happy years of her life were captured on a beautiful DVD with her favorite music. Grandson Dennis on trumpet provided the hymns for the service on a CD concluding with The Lord’s Prayer for Trumpet and Organ.

Netty’s secret journal of the four years of anxiety and hardship during World War II, her desperate struggle to stay alive in Japanese concentration camps on Java with her two little girls Ronny and Paula was translated by Ronny and published in March of 1992, titled In the Shadow of the Sun.

In March 2011, Ronny published a sequel, Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: a Story of Love, Survival and Joy with an updated version of her mother’s journal of the war years in Part One, followed by her own memoir of life after the camps in Part Two. In 2015 she published a Second Edition with the same title, commemorating her mother’s life.

On April 8, three days after the sudden death of her sister Paula at the age of 70, Ronny comforted her mother and read parts of the very first copy of their second book to her so she could enjoy the stories and visualize the pictures. Together they dwelt on the happy years of their little family after the war, the years together with Pappa and Paula.

On October 1st Ronny tucked her mother in for what would be the last time. Ronny whispered, “I love you Mamma”, stroking her mother’s soft cheek. Mamma smiled and responded, “I love you too, m’n lieve Ronnetje.” It was a last farewell.

Fifty two days later, Mamma’s life of more than 101 years of love, survival and joy came to a peaceful end. Her memory will live on.