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  • Boucher O'Brien Funeral Home

Arend A. Bastiaans 1936-2023

Arend A. Bastiaans of Easthampton Mass passed away peacefully at Baystate Medical Center on December 9th after a brief illness. His daughter Sally was by his side gently singing his favorite Christmas songs to him.

Arend was born on July 6th 1936 in Batavia (now Jakarta) on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, to Johan F.R. and Mary (Laebens) Bastiaans. Arend’s father was an officer in the Royal Netherlands Army and the family was stationed in Indonesia before and during World War II.

Japan imprisoned the Dutch military families in POW camps during the war and from the time he was 5 until 9 years old Arend, his pregnant mother and siblings survived in one of these terrible camps. His younger brother was born there. Arend’s father was fighting in Burma and was himself in a POW camp. They didn’t know if he survived until after the war when the family was reunited.

After the war Arend and family went to Holland and he joined the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1954 and travelled the world. He spoke fondly of his navy years being stationed on frigates, battleships, destroyers, aircraft carriers and was even a submariner.

After serving 6 years he was discharged early in 1960 and returned again to Holland. At the end of 1960 he, his parents and most of his siblings moved to the United States. He proudly embraced his new home country and learned to speak English quickly. He studied hard and passed his citizenship test in 1965. Arend was a very proud and patriotic American and loved his adopted country. He always wore a USA cap with an American flag pin.

Arend worked many jobs in the area in his early years here and at one of them he met his bride Leota (Cross) who worked in the same greeting card factory in Springfield. He always said it was love at first sight and they were married in 1962.

Arend, who was called Ari in the family and Harry by most everyone else, became a skilled metal fabrication worker and worked in shops supporting the aircraft industry in Connecticut. Later he worked at Digital in Westfield building the metal mainframes for computers. He worked part time in small fabrication shops until he retired at 75.

He was a craftsman at home as well making many pieces of small furniture and shelves and did decorative painting on many of his pieces.

He happily stayed busy working in his yard even though his body was sore sometimes from years of hard work. Arend was a life -long learner. He read every day and at 87 was a master at his smart phone, remarkable for a man his age!

Arend married his wife Leota in 1962 and they had almost 57 years together until her unexpected passing in 2018. Their beloved son Roger passed away in 2020. The loss of his wife and son were very difficult for him to bear. Thankfully he had his daughter Sally who was always very close to her dad. Sally and Arend took solace with each other after her mom’s sudden passing and she was his constant companion for the last 5 years of his life. She took tender care of him and was there every day to make sure he had everything he needed and wanted to the very end. Her fiance Eric helped take care of any household tasks that were too much for Arend. The three spent many joyful hours together. Arend and Sally made people smile wherever they went.

Arend was a special man; kind, generous and had an infectious personality. He will be sadly missed by his daughter Sally and her partner Eric Cerreta, his son Michael and daughter in law Dahlia.

He is also survived by his beloved siblings Irene van Ossenbruggen and her husband Max, brother Johann and his wife Charleen, sister Margareth Jackson and husband Joe, sister Yvonne Logan and husband Gerry and his sister in law Cherry Bastiaans. He had many nieces and nephews whom he loved very much.

Arend was predeceased by his parents, his wife Leota, son Roger, as well as his older brothers John and Rudy and older sister Margaretha.

As he wished, there will be no calling hours or services. Boucher O’Brien funeral home provided compassionate care to his family.

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