Willem Maugenest

WILLEM MAUGENEST 10/9/1922 - 2/21/2014 Willem Maugenest passed on peacefully at his home February 21, 2014, surrounded by his loving wife Olly and two children, Jeffrey and Margaret, on the 64th anniversary of his and Olly's wedding day. Willem was born in 1922, in Surabaya, Indonesia, which at that time was a Dutch colony. During WWII, he was a Sergeant in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL), fighting against the Japanese invasion, building Baley Bridges. He was a Japanese prisoner of war in Burma for 3-1/2 years. Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands after WWII. During the transition years that followed to help Indonesians, Willem was in charge of setting up electrical power plants in Palembang, Sumatra and on the island of Bangka. In 1957, he and his family immigrated to the Netherlands, where he readily found work as a piping engineer. In 1961, they immigrated once again, this time to the United States, where he was a much sought after lead piping engineer for various companies in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rochester, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky. He also designed piping systems for nuclear power plants for Brown and Root in Houston. Willem and Olly moved to the Victor Valley area in 1983. He had always wanted to retire in the desert and be near mountains. Willem had many hobbies, including photography and electronics (he built radios), and was a do-it-yourselfer and Mr. Fix-It. There was nothing he could not figure out, and no job he couldn't or wouldn't tackle. Willem was also the wickedest tennis and ping-pong player. And he knew how to have a good time on the dance floor. Willem had a real wanderlust and loved to plan and take trips throughout the United States and other countries. He was greatly loved and will be remembered for his gentle and quiet demeanor, beautiful blue eyes, contagious smile, and joyous spirit. Willem is survived by his wife Olly, his children Jeffrey and Margaret, his daughter-in-law Susie, and his brother Marius. He will be greatly missed but we are happy and grateful that he is at peace.
Published in the Daily Press on Mar. 2, 2014