Oak Ridge: Hetty Louise Karels van Eek, age 88; John (Jan) Herman van Eek, age 90
Best friends and soulmates, Hetty passed away on December 31, 2019, and Jan passed away on April 6, 2020. Though they were separated the last few months with lengthy illnesses, they never stopped asking about one another. They were married on May 31, 1956, in The Hague, The Netherlands, and they would have celebrated 64 years of marriage on May 31, 2020.
Hetty was born in The Hague, The Netherlands, on March 7, 1931, to Willem and Catharina Karels. Jan was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on January 9, 1930, to Herman and Petronella van Eek.
They grew up in The Netherlands and survived World War II. They immigrated to the United States in 1960. One of their proudest moments was becoming American citizens in 1967 and being able to both have careers. Jan retired from Y-12 and Hetty retired from EG&G Ortec, both after several years of employment.
In retirement, Jan enjoyed working with Southern Appalachian Railway Museum (SARM) excursions and maintaining rolling stock. Hetty was a charter member of the Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters Club (TVMK).
Jan and Hetty are survived by their four children, Jon, Cynthia, Jeff, and Lisa; and by their five grandchildren, Jonathan, Victoria, Reece, Sydney, and Emma, as well as extended family in the United States, The Netherlands, and Australia.
There will be a Celebration of Life on October 10, 2020, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please call (865) 507-9821 for address and directions. Face coverings will be required.
The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to Disabled American Veterans (DAV).