Albert S. Zuidema

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Albert Sidney Zuidema, age 98, a resident of Springfield, Va., for the past 46 years, died on July 3, 2017 at Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Va.. He died of respiratory failure after a three day bout with pneumonia. Mr. Zuidema was born on Sept. 18, 1918 in Sutton, Mass. His father Sidney Zuidema and mother Theresa Zuidema (nee Oppewall) emigrated to the Worcester, Mass., area from the Netherlands circa 1910.

Mr. Zuidema attended Athol High School, Athol, Mass., and Northeastern University, Boston, Mass. While in Athol, he lived with the Donelan family and worked in their grocery store. In 1942 after the start of World War II, he started flight training as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps. In 1943 he earned his wings, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, and completed further training as a B-17 pilot. He was posted to North Africa then Italy as a member of the 15th Air Force, 419th Bomb Squadron, 301st Bomb Group. In April 1944, on his 38th mission, the B-17 he piloted was shot down by a German ME109 fighter aircraft over Styr Austria. The crew managed to bail out with the exception of then First Lieutenant Zuidema, his copilot, navigator and flight engineer. Miraculously all survived the crash except the Flight Engineer. First Lieutenant Zuidema was initially declared as missing in action for several months until reported as a prisoner of war. He was treated for his injuries in a German hospital, including amputation of his left leg, then placed in a prisoner of war camp. In 1945 he was repatriated at the war’s end. He was then rehabilitated by the Veterans Administration in Atlantic City N.J. before being medically retired in 1946 with the rank of Captain. He was awarded the Purple Heart as well as numerous other combat medals and ribbons.

Mr. Zuidema was employed by the Veterans Administration in 1946 and served in Springfield,Mass., Boston, Mass., Columbus, Ohio, and Washington DC. He retired in 1976 as a senior manager in the Washington DC Division of Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. In retirement he enjoyed traveling, carpentry and brick work. In the latter regard he designed and built a beautiful covered veranda by the swimming pool at his Springfield, Va., home that was the scene of many happy gatherings of family and friends.

Mr. Zuidema is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years Marian Zuidema (nee Meehan) from Athol, brothers, Andrew, Peter, David and Frank Zuidema, and sister, Alice Lanctot, all born and raised in the Worcester area. He is survived by a sister, Shirley Kmiotek of Whitinsville, Mass., daughter, Patricia Wilburn (Robert) of Reston, Va., son, Peter Zuidema (Anne) of Arlington Va., daughter, Pamela Zuidema of Pittsburgh, Penn., and son, Paul Zuidema of Houston, Texas; as well as eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Mr. Zuidema will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., at a date to be determined. He will join his late wife Marian there. Related services and information will be announced when known. For updates please visit the Advent Funeral and Cremation Services of West Falls Church website at www.adventfuneral.com.

 

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Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535

 

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