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Wilhelmina Lijntje Bak de Jongh, a longtime Madison resident, passed away peacefully Jan. 30,. Willy, as she was known, was born July 8, 1941, in Dubbeldam, The Netherlands, to Arie and Adriana Bak. She was married to Marinus de Jongh for 56 years.
As a young girl, Willy excelled in many sports, including speed skating, volleyball, and swimming. Acquaintances since childhood, Willy and Marinus married in 1965, and their first child, Marianne, was born in 1966. The young family moved to the United States, where their second child, Mark, was born in 1968. They returned to the Netherlands, where their youngest, Jacqueline, completed the family in 1971. They moved back to the United States, eventually settling in Madison, where they lived for the last 42 years. She embraced her Dutch heritage but was very proud to become an American citizen in 1999.
Willy worked for many years for the Visiting Nurses Association, retiring in 2006. She was very active in her community. She was a member of the Madison Lion’s Club, holding several positions, including president and recording secretary. A woman of great faith, she was a member of the First Congregational Church in Madison. She and Marinus had many friends and enjoyed playing pinochle with the Winter Hill group. They traveled extensively and loved going on river cruises in Europe. She enjoyed knitting and was a voracious reader.
Willy found joy in the simple pleasures: a strong cup of coffee, good Dutch cheese, a crisp Chardonnay, and fresh flowers. Most of all, she loved spending time with her family and friends. She was a loving wife, mother, and “Oma,” and always saw the goodness in others.
She is survived by her loving husband, Marinus; her daughter, Marianne Krantz, son-in-law Jonathan, and granddaughter Leah of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey; her son, Mark, daughter-in-law Sue, and grandchildren Nathan and Jill of Ivoryton; and her daughter, Jacqueline, of Revere, Massachusetts. She also leaves her brother Arie and sister-in-law Anita of Assen, The Netherlands, and a brother, Ad and sister-in-law Rens of Groot Ammers, The Netherlands; her two sisters-in-law, Alida and Corry, and a brother-in-law, Rolf, all of the Netherlands; and many other relatives and dear friends. She was predeceased by her brother Henk of Oosterbeek, The Netherlands.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family will hold a celebration of life in honor of Willy at a later date. The family would like to express its gratitude to Smilow Cancer Hospital and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Saint Raphael Hospital for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, donations in Willy’s memory can be made to the Closer to Free Fund, which jointly supports Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. Please make checks payable to Closer to Free Fund and mail to P.O. Box 1849, New Haven, CT 06508 or www.givetoynhh.org and include Wilhelmina’s name on the memo line.