Born in Purmerend, Netherlands on Sunday January 12th, 1930 to Elizabeth Meijer-Hellenberg and Pieter Hellenberg.
Passed away in Rochester, New York, USA on Sunday, September 6th, 2020.
Predeceased by her parents and younger sister, Tineke Trijntje Hellenberg.
World War II began when she was 9 years old; by the end she was 15 years old. She, like Audrey Hepburn, survived the Dutch famine of 1944–45, known in the Netherlands as the Hongerwinter (literal translation hunger winter.) It is estimated that 22,000 Dutch people died from starvation that winter. She despised throwing away food.
Hester completed her schooling after the war and her nurses training in 1952. Initially working in emergency and the operating room as a Registered Nurse.
She married Hendrik Adriaan VanderLeer, and together they immigrated to the United States.
She worked 30 years for the American Red Cross. Some of you may also remember her as the Eastridge high school nurse from 1976-1977.
She was strong, a strict parent and stubborn to the end. Appreciated and loved as a mother, grandmother (Oma), and great-grandmother, she provided guidance and support for many.
She is survived by four children.
In Raleigh, NC Peter (Linh Williams) VanderLeer
In Rochester, NY Judy (John) VanderLeer-Pata
In Washington, DC Robert (Paul) Kellett-VanLeer
In Manou, LA Nicole ( Eddie) VanderLeer-Fontenot
Also in Rochester, NY Two grandchildren Vanessa (Eddie) Pata-Ruiz and Marian Pata. One great-grandchild Isabelle Ruiz
She liked the outdoors, bicycling, soccer, flowers (especially tulips), cardinals, and the color red and blue. Passed the time reading books and solving Sudoku. She traveled to many locations for family, work and pleasure. She also supported many school and scouting trips as a registered nurse.
She was a STRONG SUPPORTER of EDUCATION. To her, education is the way to improve life, support family and democracy, and be good citizens in the world.
No services are planned per her request. Those wishing remember her are encouraged to raise a toast in honor of her life. Memorials in her name may be made to an education or scholarship program, your choice or nurse training, or the American Red Cross.
She will be missed.
Please send correspondence to
117 Pontiac Drive
Rochester, NY 14617