St. Simons Island, Ga. — On Feb. 15, 2013, we lost Janet Vrolijk to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Janet passed away peacefully in the company of her husband, Jaap, and her oldest son, also named Jaap.
She had recently moved from her home in Rockland to the Marsh’s Edge Retirement Center on St. Simons Island, Ga.
Janet was born on Feb. 26, 1934 in Kingston, N.Y. Her parents were Harry and Anna Davis, and she completed her secondary education in Kingston, after which she became a student at the Union College School of Nursing in Albany, N.Y., graduating in 1954. While working as a student nurse at the Albany Hospital she met Dr. Jacobus Vrolijk, a medical intern from the Netherlands. He returned to his country in 1954; she followed him and they married in July 1955 after his graduation from Leiden University. For someone who grew up in a small town in upstate New York, following the man she loved to a foreign country in the early post-war years was a courageous act.
Jaap and Janet started their life together in The Hague, Netherlands, where Janet taught at the American School while Jaap completed his mandatory military service. In March 1956 in Holland, Janet welcomed their first son, Jaap, into the couple’s lives. In 1957 the family returned to the United States to pursue medical residency training, and settled in first Norristown, Pa., where Janet continued as a hospital nurse, and later Ogdensburg, N.Y. Janet gave birth to the couple’s second son, Peter, there on the Canadian border in 1958. In 1959, the couple moved to Cobleskill, N.Y. where the family established the foundation of their lives. In Cobleskill Janet completed the family with the birth of the family’s third son, Nick, in 1961. Janet considered these the best years of her life, and spent her time working as an office nurse, tirelessly fulfilling her role as a dedicated soccer mom, supporting her husband in his practice, and volunteering with the American Red Cross Blood Bank.
After retiring in 1991, Janet and Jaap moved to Rockland, where they enjoyed the beautiful scenery at Jameson Point and made many new friends in the community. Janet survived two episodes of breast cancer and a throat cancer. She was proud of her three sons, their wives and seven grandchildren, and her pleasures included reading, birdwatching, and traveling.
Funeral arrangements are limited to immediate family only; memorial services will be planned in the coming months.