Wilhelmus (Bill) DeRuyter, 82, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, in Yakima.

He was born on June 18, 1926 in Ilpendam, Holland. At age 21, he immigrated to America along with his parents and siblings and initially settled in Artesia, Calif. In 1956, he met and married Maria (Mary) Tessel and made their home in San Diego, Calif., where they owned and operated a dairy and milk store. Together they raised six children. Later the family relocated to Alberhill, Calif. and subsequently Bill retired due to health reasons. In 1976, the family moved to Washington and settled in the Yakima Valley (Outlook), where their three sons began operating the DeRuyter Brothers Dairy on Van Belle Road. In 1987, Bill and Mary briefly resided in Corona, Calif., but returned to Sunnyside in 1989.

He was a genuine 'people' person and truly cherished his relationships with family and friends. He was a man that never hesitated to flash his charming smile to each and every passerby. He had a quick-witted personality. Extremely driven by his heart, Bill had indisputable compassion for others. Together with Mary, he found great joy in spending time with his children and grandchildren. He lived for their smiles and successes; he was always their number one fan.

Driving, among other things, was a passion for Bill. Whether it was a speedy errand or a long-haul cross-country trek, he found happiness in the simplicity of being behind the wheel. He was a fan of music, his favorites included Dean Martin and Dutch accordion music. One could often find Bill playing a heated game of Pinnacle (known for his high bidding!) or "thousands" (similar to Gin Rummy), as he was an avid card player. He loved traveling and had an irresistible sweet tooth.

In recent years, Bill had a strong drive to compile and complete the "DeRuyter Family Genealogy Directory" that was completed in 2004. With the help of his family, the story of the DeRuyter family's immigration has been memorialized, thanks in large part to Bill. This immigration process was a testament to his family's shared ambition, determination and unfaltering work ethic. The book was a very important accomplishment in Bill's life and sharing the story for future generations meant so much to him.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; six living children, named in birth order, Jake (Genny) DeRuyter of Outlook, Nick (Suzanne) DeRuyter of Caldwell, Idaho, Alida (Fernando) Estudillo of Bothell, Mary Alice (Glenn) Tadema of Ontario, Calif., Bill (Lisa) DeRuyter of Sunnyside and Karen (Marc) LePoullouin of Turlock, Calif.; 17 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and siblings, Leo DeRuyter of Corona, Calif., Mary Woods of Anaheim, Calif., Anna Dykzeul of Mi Wuk, Calif., Pete DeRuyter of Covina, Calif., George DeRuyter of Outlook, Jake DeRuyter of Long Beach, Calif., Ed DeRuyter of Mesquite, N.M and Dorothy Koetsier of Lakewood, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jacobus and Alida DeRuyter; his brothers, Qrijn DeRuyter, John DeRuyter and Neil DeRuyter; and his sister, Margaret Kroon.

Viewing and visitation will be held Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., with a rosary to be recited at 7:30 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sunnyside, with burial immediately following at Outlook Cemetery.

Those wishing to honor Bill's memory may contribute to the Lower Valley Hospice or Outlook Cemetery Association. If you wish you may go on-line at to sign Bill's memorial book or share a memory.

Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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