Hedwig H.C. Dekker, a longtime resident of Princeton, died peacefully at her home on July 10th, 2020 at the age of 99. Her death followed that of her beloved husband of 53 years and all of her siblings.
Hedwig, known to all as Henny, was born on June 10th, 1921 in Indonesia to Dutch parents. While she had very fond memories of her childhood in Indonesia, adequate local schooling was not available so her parents decided that it was best for her and her siblings to get an education in The Netherlands. At the age of 7, she and her older brother were brought to Holland to attend school. Life without her parents was difficult and got even worse when the Germans occupied Holland. Henny lived in Amsterdam during most of the war and endured the Dutch Famine of 1944-1945 (Hongerwinter) while half a world away her father was a Japanese prisoner of war. These memories of her early life were very vivid to Henny and she talked about them constantly and in great detail to those who cared for her in her final years.
After the war Henny studied physical therapy at the Mensendieck Institute in Amsterdam. By the time her parents returned to The Netherlands, she had met her future husband, the mathematician Jim Dekker whom she followed to the US in 1949. They were married in 1951. As a young academic couple they lived in Syracuse, Chicago, Princeton, Kansas City and New Brunswick until they finally settled in Princeton in 1969.
For many years Henny worked as a physiotherapist at Roosevelt Hospital in Edison, NJ, where she was well loved and respected by the staff and patients alike. She retired in 1986.
Henny was a very giving person. There was not a charity that knocked on her door that was left empty-handed. She also helped friends and family whenever they needed it. She felt very blessed in her life and was grateful for everything that came her way. She will be missed by all of those that had the good fortune of knowing her.
A memorial gathering will take place when it is safe to do so.
Burial arrangements will be under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton, NJ.