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Hartger G. "Harry" Ruiter

1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Hartger G. "Harry" Ruiter Obituary
Hartger G "Harry" Ruiter

AGE: 91 • Newark

A wonderful Opa, father, uncle, brother, and friend …..A man who never complained died 5 p.m. Sunday, May 7, 2017 in the living room of his only remaining child from old age and a life well-lived. He was 91.

Hartger "Harry" George Ruiter was a mechanical engineer at DuPont for decades after he immigrated with his 1-year-old son and wife and retired as a principal consultant for the company in 1991. His free time was spent sailing, thinking about sailing or thinking about ways to think about sailing.

He loved to play the game of bridge with friends or a match of tennis, despite not being able to bend his right leg since the age of 15 because of a wound's infection.When asked by his grandson if he could fix that knee, which had grown shriveled from disuse, he replied that he could but he lived too long with it that way to ever bother, or care to bother.

He read the New York Times daily, looking at the international pages about places he used to call home -- such as Europe or Southeast Asia -- and met the news of disaster with a soft chuckle, a shake of the head and a little smile to himself.

Unlike most older men -- or people in general -- he never complained, meeting what should have been his senile years with immense pleasure through the ecstasy of an oatmeal cookie after dinner or the solemn business of watching a Philadelphia Eagles football game.

Even after decades in the states, his broken English would show through in phrases like football "costume" instead of football "uniform."

Harry was born March 10, 1926 in the Netherlands to Peter and Augusta Ruiter. His father was an employee of the world's first transnational corporation: the Dutch East India Company. And through his dad's job and Holland's colonization of Indonesia, Harry grew up on the Southeast Asian island of Java and attended the same elementary school that Barack Obama would later attend. It was a venture that went well until the Japanese occupation during World War II.

As a result, Harry found himself in a prison camp for several years as a teenager. One of the few remaining anecdotes about that period was his fond recollection of a Muslim guard, who would cup his hands around his mouth to smoke cigarettes because his religion wouldn't allow him to touch tobacco to his lips, so he said.

Many of his stories appeared just as trivial.

He warmly recalled the single hydrating "salt pill" he and shipmates would take during their 8 hour shift in the boiler rooms of company boats whose routes ran through the Caribbean.

He purchased a lot in the Bahamas for retirement but his dream to live there was never fulfilled.

On his visits to New York City, a premier metropolis, he only wanted to talk about the same pizza shop he'd visit with co-workers, over and over.

He loved anchovies and fought with his grandson over pickled herring brought over, by special request, from family in the Netherlands

And even on his death bed, after suffering both heart attack and stroke, he plead for the gin and tonics that punctuated the evenings of every day of his life.

He will be missed, so much so that those who miss him won't know how much they miss him.

He read politics but never talked politics.

He had opinions but never expressed opinions.

Instead, he settled for listening to the idle chatter and company of his family and friends, a bit of food, and a nip of the hard stuff.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions in Harry's memory to Seasons Hospice.

Services will be private. To send an online condolence visit
Published in The News Journal from May 16 to May 21, 2017
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