Pietertje “Pyt” Reitsma

Valley Hills Funeral Home

On September 19, 1933, Pietertje “Pyt” Reitsma was born to Bauke and Meintje van der Meer in the lovely farming and sailing village of Heeg, Fryslan, the Netherlands. Teeming with gratitude for fifty-seven years with her cherished husband, Jelle, and for the steadfast love and devotion of her family and many friends, Pyt died on May 5, 2022 in her flower-strewn home, her daaldersk plakje, in Sunnyside, Washington.

An adventurous soul, Pyt relished her younger years: boating, biking, roaming about with her girlfriends, a year as a nanny in Paris. Frijheid! Fryslan boppe! Joie de vivre! Perhaps only Jelle Reitsma had what it took—a dash of California cool?—to persuade Pyt to immigrate to America, for a new, though taxing, adventure. In it wrede paradys, Jelle and Pyt endeavored—toiled, really—for nearly a decade in the greater Los Angeles area and in Woodland, WA to make their fervent dream of running their very own dairy a living reality—in Zillah, near Sunnyside.

In the midst of all the dairying, Jelle and Pyt had three kids: two daughters and then a surprise, a late-comer son. Hester Groeneweg (married to Bob, living in Outlook, WA), Leona den Boer (to Adrian, in Ada, MI), and Regan (to Beth Admiraal, in Forty Fort, PA) are forever thankful for having been raised, with such decency and kindness, by Jelle and Pyt, who encouraged them to enjoy life, as well as to live into “an inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade.”

Once all the kids were in school, Pyt, with a home economics and teaching degree already in hand, got more book learning herself. In her early forties, she became a Licensed Practical Nurse and thrived in her career, joyfully caring for patients at Sunnyside Hospital for many years.

After retirement, Jelle and Pyt criss-crossed the United States: to visit their far-flung kids; to explore the backroads, reveling in America’s beauty; and to “antique,” keeping an especially keen eye out for ornate clocks and elegant pocket watches. Jelle and Pyt periodically sojourned in the Netherlands, upholding their sturdy ties with family and bantering with old friends—boisterously, in the way Frysians do. Wat een mooi leven.

Proud of her eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Pyt stole a moment of pride in herself whenever her grandchildren asked their mother, “Why don’t you cook more like Beppe?” Pyt entertained the whole family—kids, grandkids, and all—at the Oregon coast anytime the scattered fruits of her labors could be gathered together.

Pyt loved the United Reformed Church in Sunnyside: “such friendly people.” She was honorary Beppe to familie Mensonides. Patiently, Pyt stitched: her exquisite hardanger and cross-stitches adorn the homes of those dear to her. Often in the garden from sunrise, Pyt happily dropped her trowel at a moment’s notice for bezoek, heartily welcoming visitors—such as her coffee group—into her beautiful home. If later in the evening, de koffie might be set aside for (what her own mother called) a “lyts parlepoopke”—a wonderful scrap of made up, nonsense Frysian. When visitors weren’t present, Pyt traveled the world on her iPad, and her final months were spent feeling spoiled by family, friends, and caregivers: Wa ha ik ut toch goed hijr (“I’ve been blessed”).

Pyt was preceded in death, in 2017, by Jelle, her “man of true character.” She is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; Fraukje and Ties Hartman (her sister and brother-in-law, in Astoria, Oregon); and Gerben and Griet van der Meer (her brother and sister-in-law, in Heeg, the Netherlands).

The Reitsma family would like to express profound appreciation to Pyt’s magnificent doctors, especially Dr. Pommer, and her caregivers, whose effort and personal attention were beyond expectations, off-the-charts excellent.

A Graveside Service has been scheduled for Saturday May 21, 2022 at 11:00am at Outlook Cemetery. Please visit www.Valleyhillsfh.com to share a memory or condolence with the family.

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