Anneke Dankelman Zeylemaker
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Anneke Dankelman Zeylemaker -innovative educator, prolific artist, beloved Oma to
family and countless friends - died Saturday November 10, 2012 at her home in South Pasadena. She chose to go on to the Lord after a brief struggle with pleurisy at age 91. At her side, were her daughter, Elwia and her husband Oliver Beaudette, her "daughter" Pamela Risinger and her husband.
Anneke van Kol was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on October 1, 1921. After her father Anton died when she was 5, Anneke lived modestly. During these years with her mother, she learned her constant love of spending time with family and friends, celebrating life - a joy so many have since experienced with her. In later years, Anneke recalled her college years in psychology and education at the Catholic University of Nymegen being disrupted by the German occupation; blackout nights taught her and her friends to invent their own entertainment. In 1948, adventurous Anneke went to Curacao to become the governess and teacher to the Royal Dutch Governor's mentally-handicapped son. There she met Hans Dankelman, a naval officer whom she would follow back to Amsterdam and marry in 1950. After the birth of their only daughter, Elwia, the couple immigrated to the US in 1954, eventually settling in Los Angeles. Her first husband died of cancer in 1967.
Anneke began the nursery school at St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in San Marino in 1958. Her innovative and creative methods to develop "a sense of wonder that would last a lifetime" in every child became the foundation for the school's growth. Over the next 25 years as its director, Anneke gave the joy of learning about the world to countless children. She continued until her death to be active in events at St. Edmund's, which remains a top nursery school in the area almost 55 years after her founding.
Always ready for new experiences, Anneke married her beloved 2nd husband, the botanist Frits Zeylemaker after a trip to England. This "ship was launched", as she was fond of saying, in 1977. In her retirement, Anneke became such a prolific artist that at her 90th birthday party, each of over a hundred friends was able to choose one of her works to take home as a remembrance. Always wanting to learn about other cultures and people, she and Frits traveled widely before his death in 2003. Frequently they flew to Panama and Chile to spend time with her daughter and four of her grandchildren: Juan Carlos Miro, Ani Miro Mirpuri (Suraj), Carolina Miro, and Tomas Miro. She was the guardian angel for her fifth "grandchild", Garrett Risinger. Her "great-grandchildren", Jonathan, Tyler, and Megan Moffat, and Matthew and Brian Heckman always felt special in her eyes. Anneke also built many friendships within the South Pasadena Woman's Club and was a strong woman's voice for the local Republican Party.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 PM on Friday November 16, 2012 at St. Edmund's Episcopal Church, 1175 San Gabriel Blvd., San Marino CA with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the VA Ambulatory Care Center, 351 East Temple St., Los Angeles CA 90012: a cause close to Anneke's heart.
Published in Pasadena Star-News from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15, 2012