Jeane Spits, 93, died peacefully on September 10, 2017, of natural causes in the company of her family. Jeane was born June 6, 1924, the fourth of 11 children born to Willem Marinus Haccou and Paikem in Wlingi-Blitar, Indonesia, on the Isle of Java. Her father called her “Liefje” or sweetheart, and she thought that was her real name. Jeane (Shah-nah, as her mom called her) would sing songs up high in a tree, so very loudly that sometimes her brother Joseph would pelt her with soft fruit. She spent a happy childhood, swimming in the Brantas River, swinging from vine to vine that she was nicknamed “Jane” after the heroine in the “Tarzan” novels. As a teenager, during WW2, Japanese occupation of war-torn East Java, she met her future husband, Jan Daniel Spits. In 1944, they were married in Malang, Indonesia. After the Japanese capitulation, the Indonesian Revolution for freedom from the Dutch colonial government started. The beheadings began; the already imprisoned were kept in prison; and the younger generation was rounded up for protection. It was a scary time in September 1945, after their first child was born, when she was locked up in the women's prison camp, and he in the men’s prison camp. A few months later, Jan was transferred to the women’s prison camp to work as an electrician. After their release from the prison camp in the spring of 1947, Jeane and Jan were remarried under the newly formed Sukarno post-war regime. Jeane learned English and graduated with a diploma from the Mae West School of Fashion Design. She designed and made clothing for herself and for private clientele until 1954. Four children were born to them, Hilly, Richard, Erica, and Walter. In 1954, they went to Holland on a large vessel, the “Willem Ruys” (Achille Lauro) from Djakarta, through the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Biscayne with brief stops in Egypt, Naples and England. Never having seen snow or cold, they lived in Holland until 1960, when Jan applied for immigration under the 1956 congressional Pastore-Walter Immigration Act that allowed expatriated Indo-Dutch people to enter the USA with a sponsorship through the Church World Service organization. The Spits family immigrated under the sponsorship of the First Baptist Church of Boise, Idaho. In July 1960, they boarded a twin-engine DC-10 in Amsterdam and landed at the New York international airport (JFK). They took a three-day train trip on the “Portland Rose,” across America to their final destination, Boise, Idaho, traveling through the crowded slums of New York City and through the wide-open spaces of Wyoming and Utah.
Jeane and Jan built a new life for their family in Boise. Jeane walked five miles through the snow to her first job processing film in 1960. Soon they bought a car and then a house in 1962. Jeane worked in a nursing home for six years as a caregiver until 1969. She worked for Pacific Upholstery as a seamstress until her retirement in 1986.
Jeane was an active gin rummy player in her circle of friends and family and a great cook. She loved to have all her children and their families over for dinner almost every weekend and have grandchildren spend the night. She enjoyed dancing and was a member of the B.P.O.E in Boise. Jeane loved music and singing and learned to play the piano. She and Jan traveled to Holland several times to visit family. In 1980, Jeane traveled by herself for a Haccou family reunion. During her retirement, they frequently visited his family in Las Vegas, California, and New Jersey. Keno was Jeane’s favorite game in Jackpot, Nevada, and Las Vegas. They vacationed in Hawaii and saw the great parks on the West coast and historical sites on the East coast. Jeane lived her life to its fullest.
Jeane had an unfaltering belief in the Lord and raised her children to be kind and forgiving to others. Her favorite prayer was “The Lord’s Prayer,” which she always kept in her heart, in her words and in her actions. During sleepless nights, she found solace in the Bible. She was a joy to family, friends, those who knew her and those she met. She enjoyed attending Sunday services at nearby churches and the First Baptist Church in Boise.
Jeane was preceded in death by her husband Jan D. Spits, her son Walter J. Spitz, her grandchild Amy Spits, her parents Willem M. Haccou and Paikem, and siblings J. Antonia (Toni) van der Zonbrouwer, Joseph W. Haccou, Geertruida (Joyce) Spiro, Mariana (Marie) Talib, Margaretha (Etha) Beunk, Anna Muntu. She is survived by her children: Hilly (Eugene) Penton, Richard A. (Sylvia) Spits, Erica (Danial) Dunn of Boise, and her doggie Buddy. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Annaliesje Trees, Felicia (Jay Prickett) Penton, Denise (Ken Long) Penton, Ali (Carl) McLean, Tonya (Todd) Cronister, Tieneke (Bill) Barresi, Nellie (Dan) Bacon , Holly (Oliver) Beyer, Sarah Spits, 23 great grandchildren, 7 great great grandchildren, and, lastly, her siblings Josephine (Fien) Gortemaker, Johannes J. Haccou, Louise (Wiesje) A. Soebekti and Helena (Lena) Ferdinandus.
The funeral will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017, at the Relyea Funeral Chapel, 318 N. Latah St., Boise, 11:00 A.M., burial following at the Morris Hill Cemetery. The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers from Family Home Care, Professional Care Services and the Treasure Valley Hospice nursing team that made her comfortable in these last weeks. Services are under the direction of Relyea Funeral Chapel.