Catrinus Onne "Andy" Tjeerdsma

catrinus tjeerdsma

Catrinus Onne "Andy"  Tjeerdsma



Catrinus Onne “Andy” Tjeerdsma was born October 3, 1935 in Bandung, Indonesia to Minze and Eelkje Tjeerdsma while his parents worked for a Dutch company. The city of Bandung is a mile high city, just like Denver, Colorado.   His siblings were Piet (Alie) Tjeerdsma, Gerrit (Iet) Tjeerdsma, Tena (Andy) Admiraal and Greetje (Jan) Boer.


When Catrinus was four years of age, the family moved to the island of Ambon, just prior to the Japanese invasion of the then Dutch East Indies.  When Catrinus’ father was captured and spent time in a concentration camp, in Hanon, China. Catrinus was six years old and remembers the initial Japanese raids and the panic to get on the ship to escape to Australia. The family left the island with a few backpacks of clothes without even being able to say good-bye to their father.  Although his father arranged for the safe evacuation of the family, he stayed behind and was captured. Catrinus spent several years, while his dad was in the camp, living in Australia with his mom and four siblings.  Indonesia was liberated August 1945 however the family wasn’t notified that their father was alive until October 3, 1945…an amazing 10th birthday gift for Catrinus. 


The family was reunited and moved to the Netherlands for several years where he met the love of his life, Winnie de Vries. As a young adult, Catrinus decided to immigrate to the United States.  When he arrived in New York in March 1957, Catrinus only had $50 and a train ticket to Grand Rapids, MI.  Catrinus and Winnie were engaged over the phone on Christmas Day 1960.  After many letters and advocacy, Winnie was able to immigrate to the United States in the spring of 1961 and they were married in September 1961.  Both graduated from Calvin College, Catrinus with a degree in Mathematics and Winnie with a degree in Education. They then moved to Paterson, New Jersey where they both taught at Eastern Christian.  Cathy, Ellenore and Nella were born there. The family moved to Indiana when he received a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame where he received a Master’s in Mathematics.


After receiving a job offer from Denver Christian, the family moved to Colorado where he spent the rest of his life. Michelle was born in Denver.   After a few years of odd jobs, he settled as a teacher at all three colleges in the Auraria Campus but mostly at Metro State University.  In addition to teaching, he tutored and helped mentor students who didn’t receive even a basic math education in high school.  He authored several math textbooks which were used even after he retired.


Catrinus found a church home in Hillcrest Christian Church.  He was an Elder, Deacon, and taught adult Bible studies on Sundays.  He was always looking for an opportunity to help both in the church and the community. Catrinus enjoyed working in his organic garden, raising Silkie chickens, his dogs over the years, and renovating the house.  He knocked down walls, cut out windows/doors, and even built a two story garage, mostly by himself.  He never sat still other than a few minutes to read the newspaper, his Kindle or watch the evening news (mostly for the weather).  He enjoyed the outdoors, including camping, fishing and hiking. He had a special fondness for his old 1962 sky blue Dodge Lancer which he tinkered on most of his adult life.


Family trips were always interesting and exciting – as he drove to Miami Florida every few years to see his mom while she was alive – a number of  time with four kids and two dogs and a handmade trailer in tow.  He always took detours in stride.  He enjoyed traveling with the family and as a teacher was able to take summers off to have extended time in the Netherlands.  After he retired, he was able to return to Indonesia for a school reunion as well as Australia.  He dedicated a lot of his time to documenting his father’s story and as a result his dad was awarded a medal of peace and medal of war for his heroism.   Catrinus also loved his visits with his grandchildren and sharing his diverse interests and talents with them. He and Winnie took many special trips together to places including Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean.


Catrinus was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife Winnie, four daughters, and six grandchildren (as well as in-laws on both sides). 

Visitation will be held at the Bullock Colonial Chapel on Sunday, November 19, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Monday, November 20, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Memorial services will be held at Hillcrest Christian Church (3000 South Race Street, Denver, Colorado 80210) on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.



Family and friends are encouraged to share stories and photographs as well as sign the guest book here on Catrinus's website (click appropriate tab on the left side of this page).

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Dear family,
    Our condolences to all of you. We think about you in these difficult times. Over the years Ellenore told us a lot about het father and we learnt what a special and remarkable person he was.
    Lots of love from Michiel and Cindy (Utrecht, Netherlands)

  2. Lieve tante Winnie en Cathy, Ellenore, Nella en Michelle,

    In gedachten zijn wij bij jullie in deze dagen van rouw en verdriet. We zijn met jullie heel erg verdrietig dat Onne er niet meer is en leven met jullie mee in deze moeilijke dagen van afscheid nemen en begraven.

    Veel liefs van ons, (tante) Peta, Tineke, Corrie en Winnie

  3. Our deepest sympathy to you Winnie, and your daughters as you mourn Andy,s passing and yet rejoice with him as he now lives with his Lord . We. Cherish those years together in New Jersey, the births of children ,hanging out our clothes on that pulley clothesline, and your dog, Etom(?). God comfort and bless you as you go on without Andy.

  4. Our deepest sympathy to all of you. Words cannot express this remarkable man. He has written quite a large history of the Tjeerdsma from early 1900 until the eighties.

    We all appreciated their presence during the funeral of our dad, his elder brother Gerrit in april 2012. It is a big loss and he has now joined his brothers and sisters, let this be somehow your consolation.

    Rest in peace and be assured that the Tjeerdsma family will live on for more generations to come.

    Our thoughts are with Winnie, Cathy, Ellenore, Nella and Michelle.

    Love, your cousin Tineke

  5. My deepest condolences to the entire Tjeerdsma family. As a friend and colleague of Mr. Tjeerdsma's daughter, Ellenore, I'm sure I see a glimpse into his spirit of adventure, dedication to helping others and lifelong learning since she exhibits all of these traits and more. I know he leaves a significant impact on the lives of those with whom he interacted and that will continue to spread via the family who loved him so dearly and now miss him so much. Blessings and peace to you all.

  6. Winnie and family-although no words can really help to ease the loss you bear, just know that you are very close in every thought and prayer. We admired Andy for his strength of character and faith. We will be inspired by the actions he took and the things he said while he was alive. Andy will live in our memories for ever.

  7. Beste Winnie,
    Allereerst nog onze welgemeende deelneming met het overlijden van Onne.

    Ik kreeg nu pas je kaart van begin 2018 onder ogen waarin je meldde dat Onne was overleden.
    Dat ik het zo laat las komt omdat Nelly alles verstopt, ze is al erg aan het dementeren.
    Ze kan ook bijna niet meer lopen.
    Verder gaat het nog wel.
    Onne was een beminnelijke man, altijd opgewekt en vriendelijk. Het gemis zal groot zijn.
    Winnie, we leven met je mee, al is wel veel te laat.
    Dat de email niet lukte komt door ons. We hebben een ander emailadres :
    Wellicht krijg je dit nog onder ogen.
    Met hartelijke groeten, mede namens Nelly,


Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle