Clarence Schilperoort, 92, of Modesto, Calif. passed away on Monday, June 21, 2010, due to complications of a lung infection.
He was born Oct. 24, 1917 in Sunnyside to Teunis Johannes and Anna (DenBoer) Schilperoort.
He received his education in Sunnyside graduating from Sunnyside High School. Born and raised in Sunnyside, Clarence left the family farm to join the U.S. Navy on May 20, 1936 with his twin brother, Lawrence Schilperoort. Clarence trained as an electrician's mate, joined the Asiatic Fleet in 1940, and was eventually assigned to the USS Houston, a heavy cruiser based in Australia. Assigned to ABDA (a joint military operation consisting of American, British, Dutch, and Australian naval vessels), the USS Houston was one of several ships sunk during a fierce nighttime battle in Java's Sunda Strait on Feb. 28 to March 1, 1942. He was captured and spent the next three and one-half years as a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese, experiencing many physical and psychological hardships and atrocities prior to his liberation on Sept. 6, 1945.
On June 22, 1946 he married Mary Louise Carroll. Working his way up the ranks and serving 21 years, Clarence retired as a Lieutenant from the US Navy in 1957.
He was recipient of the Asiatic/Pacific Fleet medal with two stars, American Defense medal, National Defense medal, WWII Victory medal, the POW medal and others.
With a growing family, Clarence entered a vocational electronics training program in Portland, Ore. Clarence worked as a senior electronics technician for developmental engineering projects for 20 years, at Varian Associates, Palo Alto, Calif. in developing projects such as the Cesium Clock, a time standard used at the National Bureau of Standards and other state-of-the-art projects of the time.
Clarence enjoyed reading and collecting historical accounts of the war in the Pacific, finding many personal accounts similar to his own. He enjoyed the friendship of the servicemen he met through memberships in POW organizations, particularly the USS Houston CA-30 Survivors Association. He enjoyed traveling with his wife, Mary, to the Netherlands and had revisited Australia several times, including South East Asia, where he worked on the Japanese railroad as a POW.
Clarence had an engaging wit, and loved to joke and insert a new perspective into the conversation.
A resident of Mesa, Ariz. for nearly 30 years, he is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Mary; a son, Thomas (Katherine) Schilperoort of Modesto, Calif.; a daughter, Nancy (Darrell) Greenwald of Elk Grove, Calif.; four grandchildren, Shane and Michael Schilperoort, Benjamin and Whitney Greenwald; three great-grandchildren; one brother, Elmer Schilperoort of Sunnyside; three sisters, Lillian Jansen and Pauline Newhouse both of Sunnyside and Elsie Wassenaar of Seattle.
Clarence was preceded in death by his parents, Anna (Den Boer) Schilperoort and Teunis Johannes Schilperoort; five brothers, Gerrit Schilperoort, Isaac "Cornie" Schilperoort, his twin, Lawrence Schilperoort, Stanley Schilperoort and Franklin Schilperoort.
Viewing and visitation was held Monday, June 28, 2010, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Memorial services were held today, June 29, 2010, at 10 a.m. followed by internment with military honors at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside.
Those wishing to honor Clarence's memory may contribute to the USS Houston CA-30 Survivors Association, 2501 Amen Corner, Pflugerville, Texas, 78660, or to USS Houston CA-30 scholarship fund, USS Houston Scholarship, c/o Pam Foster, 370 Lilac Lane, Lincoln, CA 95648.
Those wishing to sign Clarence's online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com
Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.