Details for John Jeninga

John Jeninga, age 96, passed away peacefully on January 7, 2018. John was born March 3, 1921 in Heerlen, The Netherlands. He was the seventh child born to Jan and Boukje Jeninga. John spent his childhood years in Heerlen, enjoying many adventures with his seven brothers, Ate', Paul, Sjoerd, Andres, George, Fred and Ted, and his 2 sisters, Metsie and Dina. John will be forever known for his smile, his pranks, and his jokes. He stated that if he could make someone smile everyday, then his life had been worthwhile. He loved nothing better than sitting down and chatting with someone, and he never met a stranger. John's passion was in math and science. He attended the Technical College of Heerlen from 1939-1943, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. WWII was ongoing when John graduated. Upon graduation, John joined the firefighters in Holland as a volunteer. This listed him as a public servant, preventing him from being picked up and made to work in Germany. As a public servant with papers, he was able to travel to places to get information from underground workers and bring it back to his brother who worked in the underground. During the war, John's parents put their own lives at risk by harboring defecting German soldiers, young Jewish children, and home-sick Americans. When Heerlen was liberated by the Americans, John joined the American Army to help fight for liberation of Northern Holland. He left the Army in May 1945 after the war ended. John had a number of positions after the war, and was especially proud of his work with a small entrepreneurial company involved in gold and metals. The owner was quite an entrepreneur, with strong ties to Prins Bernhard of Holland. John had developed a new type of lift shackle, as well as a super strong gold metal variant. He demonstrated to Prins Bernhard how the shackle could be hooked to the gold ring he designed, and could lift an entire car. After the owner of this company died, he and Eve made the decision to join his brothers and sisters in the United States. His career as an engineer included working for Sta-Rite, Ajay Golf Products and Foreway in Milwaukee. During his career, he designed and patented many improvements in golf carts and ball retrievers. In 1965, John and his younger brother, George, started Jeninga Brothers Wire Products. He continued working full time, devoting time evenings and weekends to their new company. John left Foreway in 1973 to dedicate his energy full time to growing Jeninga Brothers. John met his future wife, Eve, in Heerlen in 1939, when she was 14 and he was 17. They were married in June 1949, and lived in Utrecht, where the first of their three children were born. In March 1957, John and Eve moved to the United States, traveling on a ship called the "Groote Beer" or the Big Bear. They settled in Delavan, WI, and became lifelong members of Delavan Christian Reformed Church. Three more children were born after the move to the United States. John loved spending time with his six children, and his one regret was that working to support his children reduced the time he could spend with them. John loved to play. He made go-carts for his kids to ride on. He and son, Ed, had a great time shooting potatoes from a potato gun in the park. He loved camping, cooking sausages over the fire, and telling stories to his grandchildren. He was an avid soccer fan, and attended all the local games of his grandchildren, cheering them on loudly. When interviewed later in life, John was asked what he was most proud of in his life. He stated "I have the best kids in the world." John also loved music and was a member of the church choir until the age of 92. John is survived by his wife, Eve; six children: Mary (John) Reyenga, John (Karen) Jeninga, Maryann (Bill) Lundin, Bernice (Don) Zaehringer, Ed Jeninga, and Annette (Matt) Drefs; 16 grandchildren: Chris Reyenga, Corrina (Jared) Haringsma, Hillary (Harlan) Miersma, Leon (Michelle) Goytowski, Nadine (Robert) Osburn, Theresa Ware, Eric Lundin, Ben Lundin, Steve York, Sam York, Ashley (Nolan) Schneider, Nicole Zaehringer, Kelsey (Kyle) Houser, Jake (Alli) Drefs, Adam Drefs and Lena Drefs; 22 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Delavan Christian Reformed Church, 850 Oak Street in Delavan. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday at the church. Burial will take place at Spring Grove Cemetery in Delavan. The family asks that remembrances be made to Bethany Christian Services and/or the Delavan Christian School. Monroe Funeral Home in Delavan is assisting the family. Please visit us at delavanfuneralhome.com

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