Cornelis van der Wouden

Cornelis van der Wouden

Cornelis van der Wouden

Cornelis van der Wouden, who came to the United States from The Netherlands as a young man with a new bride, flourished in Guilderland where he raised his family and enjoyed his work as a truck driver.

He “went home to be with the Lord on January, 13, 2023,” his family wrote in a tribute. He was 89.

He was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on June 19, 1933 to the late Arie and Trijntje (née van Herk) van der Wouden.

“Cornelis and his new bride Cornelia were married in The Netherlands on April 17, 1957, and then came to America 10 days later to pursue the American Dream,” his family wrote. “At the time, the Dutch government was offering sponsorships to adult children of dairy farmers to immigrate to America, because they felt the small dairy farms could not financially support the new generation of adults.

“Cornelis, who was not interested in being a farmer, signed up and asked Cornelia if she wanted to come too. Since two of his classmates had already immigrated to the Chatham, New York area, Cornelis and Cornelia initially settled there. In 1962, they relocated to Guilderland.

“Cornelis’s career included working for the Shaker Museum, operating a Gulf Gas Station in Guilderland, and driving a dump truck for the excavation of the Empire State Plaza construction project.

“Cornelis’s favorite job was being a truck driver for Sysco Foods. He made many friends delivering to restaurants and businesses and developed a keen interest in food preparation. He was known for his reliability to get the job done, no matter the challenges, throughout his 33-year career.

“Cornelis loved working on cars in his garage. Growing geraniums, collecting Dutch Delftware, and woodworking were other passions of his. He also liked to frequent estate sales to find treasures.

“Since his education was cut short because of World War II, he only completed school through the sixth grade. Despite this, Cornelis read The Wall Street Journal every day and became an avid investor in the stock market. He was a member of the Mercedes Benz Club of America, and owned numerous models, including his 1982 240D Mercedes that he won best of show with in 2012.

“Cornelis never forgot his Dutch roots. Nearly every year, he would travel back to Holland to visit his relatives. He loved to wear his wooden shoes, and had the nickname “Wooden Shoes.” He liked Dutch/German music and liked to go to the German American Club in Colonie for dancing and fellowship.

“He delighted in teaching his children and grandchildren automotive repair and other simple tasks, such as peeling an apple in one piece. He loved his cat, Tracy.”

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Cornelis van der Wouden is survived by his daughter, Nellie Goutos, and her husband, Greg; by his son, George van der Wouden, and his wife, Lynn; by his grandchildren, Kevin Goutos and his wife, Stephanie, Timothy van der Wouden and his wife, Abigail, Corrina Goutos, Steven van der Wouden and his wife, Meagan, Sarah Powell and her husband, Brian, and Dayle Carhart-Davis and her husband, Ryan; and by his five great-grand-children, Liam, Logan, David, Oliver, and Grace.

He is also survived by his friend Mirjana Skanski; his sister, Trijntje de Jong; and by his brothers, Adri and Johan van der Wouden.

His wife, Cornelia, died before him, as did his sister, Gerrie Meerkerk.

Family and friends are invited to a celebration-of-life service and luncheon at Carman Road Community Church at 3313 Carman Road on Saturday Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. The service will be streamed online: bit.ly/3kt4H8y

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