|Birth: ||Jun. 9, 1901|
|Death: ||Sep. 5, 1967|
Rhode Island, USA
He was born in 1901 as David de Jong in the village of Blija in the northern part of the Dutch northern province Friesland, son of carpenter Remmeren de Jong (1876 Wierum, Westdongeradeel, Friesland - 1967 Grand Rapids, Michigan) and Jantje de Jong (1876 Wierum - 1953 Grand Rapids, MI). The family moved before 1906 from Blija to the more northeast located seadyke village Wierum.
David had three brothers: Remmeren "Raymond" (1902 Blija - 1982 Grandville, Kent, MI), Meindert (1906 Wierum - 1991 Allegan, Michigan) and Cornelis David "Neil"(1911 Wierum - 2008 Ada, Kent, MI).
The Christian Reformed family De Jong emigrated on 16 May 1914 from Wierum, Friesland, Netherlands to Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, United States. They arrived on 2 June 1914 on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam at the port of New York, Ellis Island.
In Grand Rapids they lived successively in four houses in the vicinity of Wealthy Street and Diamond Avenue. The De Jongs joined the nearby Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church. The four boys Americanized quickly, but initially endured hazing as newly-arrived immigrants.
In 1920 David (18 y), his father Remnen Deyoung (43), his mother Jantje (43), his brothers Remnen (17), Meindert (13) and Corniel (9) lived in Ward 2 of Grand Rapids, Kent County, in the western part of Michigan.
David finished at Grand Rapids grammar school at Baldwin Street Christian School, went to business school for a time, worked in offices, banks, etc. for the next three years, including G. R. Savings and Home State banks. He returned to school, then to Calvin College, and got his A.B. in 1929. He taught in Edmore, Michigan high school for one year and then went on a fellowship to Duke University, Durham, North Carolina and got his M. A. degree there in 1932. David next went to Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (RI), on a fellowship. He was ready to start on his Ph.D thesis and prelims when he had a novel taken by Alfred Knopf. He stopped going to the university, used all his time writing and lived in Providence and West Barrington, RI. In the last years since Calvin he had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Scribner's, Esquire, Poetry, Literature, American Caravan IV, and numerous other magazines, also several anthologies of poetry and prose. He wrote in 1938 the fictitious story Old Haven about the Frisian village Wierum, where he grew up, in 1944 the book With a Dutch Accent and in 1954 Two Sofas in the Parlor, both on immigrant families after their arrival in the USA. But his own favorites were Light Sons and Dark (1940), Benefit Street (1942) and The Desperate Children (1949).
In April 1940 David De Jong (38, author of fiction and poetry) lived as a lodger at a rented home at Benefit Street in Ward 1 of Providence City, Providence County, Rhode Island. He lived on 1 April 1935 in New York, but in that year also in Rhode Island, Providence, Benefit Street.
David married on 29 June 1945 at the age of 44 years to the nine years younger librarian Helen Elizabeth Moffitt, born in October 1910 on Rhode Island. They didn't have children.
He was a prolific writer with 13 novels, 5 children's books, several books of poetry and many short stories to his credit. Some of the titles are: Belly Fulla Straw, Old Haven, Light Sons and Dark, Day of the Trumpet, The Desperate Children, Two Sofas in the Parlor, The Walls of Everything, Looking for Alexander and Around Dom. His children's books are: The Seven Sayings of Mr. Jefferson, The Unfairness of Easter, The Birthday Umbrella, The Sly Whistle and the Happy Birthday Egg.
David visited during his life six times the Netherlands and his relatives in Friesland, but never his birth place Blija, although he thought -wrongly- its name might have had derived from the Dutch word "blij", which means happy.
David died in September 1967 in Providence, Rhode Island at the age of 66 years from cancer, nine days after his father's death. His widow Helen died on 27 March 1994 in Monticello, Jefferson County, Florida at the age of 83 years. Her ashes are with David's ashes in niche 536 of the Ivy Columbarium at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island.
His brother Meindert de Jong was also, an even much more noted, writer, specializing in children's books.
Remmeren De Jong (1876 - 1967)
Jantje de Jong De Jong (1876 - 1953)
Helen Elizabeth Moffitt De Jong (1910 - 1994)*
David Cornel De Jong (1901 - 1967)
Remmeren De Jong (1902 - 1982)*
Meindert De Jong (1906 - 1991)*
Kornelis David De Jong (1911 - 2008)*
Swan Point Cemetery
Rhode Island, USA
Plot: Ivy Columbarium Niche 536
Created by: Peter Hakze
Record added: Dec 17, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 121861007