IN MEMORIAM: Wilhelmus Pijnenburg, 78;
Superintendent, Leatherstocking Golf Course
COOPERSTOWN – Wilhelmus “Willy” Pijnenburg, a long-time resident of Cooperstown and retired superintendent of The Leatherstocking Golf Course, passed away Saturday morning, Aug. 2, 2014, at his home on Fair Street, surrounded by his family. He was 78.
A native of Holland, he was born March 13, 1936, in Tilburg, a son of Alfons and Josephina Henrika VanLoon Pÿnenburg. On Jan. 22, 1952, Willy, his mother and seven siblings came to America. A newspaper article from January 30, 1952, best describes the family’s arrival:
“A 48-year-old mother and her eight children – four boys and four girls ranging in age from 7 to 20 – are now in Cooperstown, looking forward to a new life in a new country. Mrs. Josephine Pijnenburg and her family arrived in New York on Wednesday of last week. Instrumental in the emigration of the family to this country were Mrs. Hiram Burch, member of the local Double X Club, a 20-member women’s social group which “adopted” the family several years ago, and J. Harry Cook, well-known Cooperstown business man who has promised employment here for the oldest boy.”
Willy and his family quickly settled into their new home on the corner of Walnut and Delaware streets and into life in the Village of Cooperstown.
On Aug. 31, 1958, he married Eileen Bowman in a ceremony at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church, with Father Robert Murphy officiating. Willy and Eileen then made their home on Fair Street, where they raised their four children.
In addition to years of employment at the Leatherstocking course superintendent, Willy, an avid golfer, enjoyed playing the game with his many friends, and was a part of the group that plays every Wednesday at Leatherstocking.
A member of the Native Sons of Cooperstown, Willy served his community as a member of Mechanics’ Hook & Ladder Co. No. 5 of the Cooperstown Fire Department, including fire chief in1980-82.
Willy is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Maria and Rick Ragsdale of Adrian, Ga., and Michelle and Steven Imbasciano of Morris; two sons and one daughter-in-law, David and Sharon Pijnenburg of Bethel, Conn., and Bill Pijnenburg of Hartwick; and a special granddaughter, Jacqi Le Pijnenburg of Bethel, Conn.
Also, three sisters, Elssie (“Els”) Tipsword of LaGrange, Ga., Johanna (“Jo”) Rotter and her husband, Peter, of Canastota, and Anna (“Ans”) Rasmuson and her husband, Jim, of South Carolina; two sisters-in-law, Edna Pijnenburg of Hogansville, Ga., and Willy Fae Pijnenburg of LaGrange, Ga.; two brothers-in-law, John F.(“Jack”) Bowman of Apalachicola, Fla., and Charles A. Dimick of Cooperstown; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 47 years, Eileen, who died Aug. 19, 2005; one sister, Maria Johanna Pijnenburg Dimick, who died June 22, 2006; and three brothers, Andreas (“Andy”), Hubertus (“Hubert”) and Alfons Pijnenburg.
Calling hours are 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, when Willy’s family will be in attendance. A funeral mass is 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at St. Mary’s, with Father John P. Rosson, pastor, presiding. Burial will follow at a later date at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Index, where Willy will be laid to rest with Eileen.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Catskill Area Hospice, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or Cooperstown Fire Department, Box 1, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home.