Jacob Veldhuisen

Jacob Veldhuisen

Monday, October 27th, 1930 - Thursday, January 16th, 2020
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With the passing of Jacob Veldhuisen, Eugene lost a unique educator, humanitarian and dedicated Duck fan. Jacob’s remarkable life ended peacefully on January 16, 2020 in Hood River, Oregon with his family beside him.

Jacobs eventful 89 years began on October 27, 1930 on a dairy west of Amsterdam, Netherlands, as the firstborn of Trijntje Franzen and Cornelius Peter Veldhuisen. He was soon followed by a sister Gysberta and later, brothers Hendrik, Cornelius and Peter. Being surrounded by extended family and farm products eased the lean years of the Great Depression and the Nazi Occupation. Still, ‘Jaap’ always looked forward to Sunday School and history class.

In 1948, Jacob’s family left their deep-rooted community and emigrated to the northwestern US, landing in snowy Trout Lake, Washington. The Korean War erupted and Jacob was drafted by both the Netherlands and US, and he opted to serve his new country as a clerical specialist in the US Air Force. There, he reached the rank of Staff Sargent and was immersed in the diversity of American culture. After an honorable discharge in 1953, he enrolled at the University of Oregon, completing an Education degree in 1958. This is when he became a lifelong fan of the GI Bill (veteran’s benefits) and the Oregon Ducks.

In 1960, he married another young school teacher, Kaye Nissen and they had a son (Curt Nissen Veldhuisen, 1961) and a daughter (Jan Kathryn Veldhuisen, 1964). Jacob taught history and social studies at the brand-new Sunset High School in Beaverton. On top of classroom teaching, he volunteered to coach the school ski team and led the local teachers association.

In 1965 Jacob and family returned to Eugene, where he remained for his lifetime. Jacob worked toward a Master’s degree and in 1972 completed a Doctorate in Education. The PhD was a significant academic accomplishment for an immigrant whose predecessors’ success resulted from their dairying prowess and industriousness. Another career milestone came in 1976, when the Oregon legislature approved collective bargaining rights for teachers when Jacob was serving as support staff for the Education Committee. The late 1970s were also a stressful time, and in 1978, he and Kaye divorced.

During the 1970s and 80s, Jacob mentored thousands of teens during his tenures at South Eugene, Sheldon and North Eugene High Schools, and Jefferson Junior High. To his final days, he couldn’t walk through Eugene without encountering past students and colleagues that would express their appreciation for his lasting contributions.

Around 1986, Jacob retired and dedicated his last decades to his family, church, community….and Ducks. He got great joy watching his children build their own lives and families and being their supportive ‘Opa’. Jacob became more active at the First Congregational Church, using his keen knowledge of history and group discussion to lead the adult study group.

Did I mention he loved his Ducks? He attended countless Autzen games, being a season ticket holder for four decades, arriving via wheelchair for his final season of 2018! Not to mention the basketball games, track meets and other campus festivities he relished.

He remained in his Eugene home until May 2019, when Alzheimer’s forced him to move to Hood River for his final months. Despite declining health, he rekindled his love for singing with the Sunshine Club for seniors.
Aside from his eventful life, what truly set Jacob apart was his continued growth in both wisdom and compassion. Despite witnessing war firsthand and the uprooting of his family, he was always alert to the needs of others, even a homeless stranger knocking on his door. Despite his accomplishments, he was humble and had time for anyone and had an off-hand joke to lighten many potentially awkward situations. All that knew him aspire to absorb those qualities.

Jacob is survived by four siblings: – Gysberta ‘Barbara’ Babbitt of Springfield, and brothers Cornelius ‘Case’ Veldhuisen of Salem and Peter Veldhuisen of Portland. Brother Henk Veldhuisen of Woodburn Oregon is deceased as of 2015. Children: Curt (and Joanna) Veldhuisen of Bellingham, Washington and Jan Veldhuisen (and Dick) Virk of Hood River. Former wife Kaye Veldhuisen of Portland. Grandchildren Kathryn, Meredith, and Anneke Virk, Leah and Ty Veldhuisen. Jacob leaves behind several nieces and nephews and their families.

Jacob will be buried at Willamette National Cemetery 9:30 a.m., Thursday, February 13th, 2020 at Willamette National Cemetery (11800 SE Mt. Scott Blvd., Portland, Oregon 97086).

A Life Celebration open to all is planned for 2:00PM Friday, March 6th, 2020 at the First Congregational Church in Eugene (1050 E. 23rd Ave., Eugene, OR 97405).

Direct donations to Hood River Sunshine Club and UO Scholarships sent care of Anderson’s Tribute Center.
The family would like to thank Providence Hospice of the Gorge and Nightingale Private Care in Eugene for the wonderful care they provided.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031.

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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, March 6th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Friday, March 6th, 2020 2:00pm
    1st Congregational Church
    1050 E 23rd Ave
    EUGENE, OR 97405
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    A reception will follow.
  • Interment

    Willamette National Cemetery
    11800 SE Mt. Scott Boulevard
    PORTLAND, OR 97086-6937
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Reception

    1st Congregational Church
    1050 E 23rd Ave
    EUGENE, OR 97405
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Immediately following the Celebration of Life.


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Howard Epstein

Posted at 10:51pm
I only knew Jacob from the DAC where we dressed in the same area of the locker room. I always enjoyed seeing and chating with him. He was a positive, friendly and obviously loving human being. I was sorry when he no longer appeared at the DAC. My sincerest condolences to the whole family. I’m sure he will be missed.

Kay Smithwick

Posted at 01:01pm
I had the pleasure of spending time with Jacob during his stay at Brookside Manor. What a delightful man. I remember one day I took my IPad with and we looked at videos of Amsterdam and he was quick to point out different places he remembered. He shared stories of his boyhood and loved talking about his family. And of course he was a Duck Fan...all you had to do was look at him because he was always decked out with Duck's attire and loved to sing the Fight Song. He really enjoyed it when people came to Brookside and entertained the residents with music. I don't think there was one song that he didn't sing along to. I know he will be missed.

Tina Castañares

Posted at 12:21pm
Pablo and I send condolences and love to Jan snd all the family. It sounds like your dad was a wonderful man.

Tiny Kool- Mantel

Posted at 02:18pm
Our condoleances on the death of your father and grandfather and brother.
Of his young niece and her husband from Holland.
Maarten en Tiny Kool-Mantel
Westerweg 36
1447 AB Purmerend
Wish you much strength,we keep a lot of good memories of him.

Curt Veldhuisen Posted at 05:49pm

Nice to hear from you,Tiny! My dad said many nice things about you and I hope you can visit us someday. Curt

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