Shortly before I started this quest to discover more of my family’s Dutch heritage, the last of my father’s siblings had passed away. And so also were lost the memories and stories of my father’s family as they journeyed from the Netherlands to Detroit to embark on a new, hopefully richer (not just in terms of wealth) life. Unlike our more recent generations that are more apt to talk about our past, write things down and even immortalize our lives through photos, videos and scrapbooks, my father’s parents and grandparents rarely talked about their life or past. So we are left to wonder and deduce when possible, with the help of some rare photos, as to who they were, what they were like, what they did and accomplished, and whether in any way we are remotely like them.
Sadly this week, another of this family has left us at too young an age. So I would like to take a moment to remember those you have journeyed on without us.
- Cornelius Reyst: September 28, 1884 to January 11, 1944 (age 59)
- Jennie Marie Smouter: October 22, 1890 to December 15, 1964 (age 71)
Children of Cornelius and Jennie:
- Helen Jennie Reyst Carrie Niner: August 29, 1911 to October 12, 1992 (age 81)
- Arie (Harry) Russell Reyst: April 22, 1913 to July 30, 1964 (age 51)
- John Cornelius Reyst: May 13, 1915 to February 26, 1998 (age 82)
- Cornelius (Neil) Reyst: March 3, 1919 to August 28, 2010 (age 90)
- Geraldine Mildred Reyst Carmen: January 16, 1929 to October 30, 1998 (age 69)
- Dona Jean Carrie Farrel: August 5, 1937 to July 11, 2008 (age 70)
- Thomas Reyst: August 14, 1947 to June 1, 2000 (age 52)
- Gail Reyst Bodziak: August 4, 1944 to February 19, 2012 (age 67)
- Ronald Reyst: July 7, 1955 to September 4, 1999 (age 44)
- Brenda Kay Hancock: July 8, 1965 to September 1, 1986 (age 21)
In the words of our pastor, Reverend Roderic Jackson, at the First Reformed Church in Detroit, as he closed every Sunday morning service with a final prayer: “May the Lord be with you, now and forever more. Amen”