Johanna Margaretha Gongryp Kuchler Shatsky was born on November 27, 1924 in De Haag, Holland. Her wonderful parents made sure that their 3 children experienced Dutch life to its fullest. Travels, beach days, driving in one of the first family owned cars in Delft. Yes, life was good. Then, World War II and Johanna, at the age of 15, found herself registering with the Nazis and limited to food rations. She would ride her bicycle, with no rubber tires no less, to a relative’s farm to gather home grown food for her mother, father and two brothers. Her family relied on her because boys and men were in demand to work in factories in Germany so they had to remain home and in hiding. She met Abraham Kuchler at a sailing club hosting a group of teenagers. Although a challenge to grow a relationship while miles apart from each other during an occupied, war-torn country, they fell in love and married soon after the war ended. Things were so scarce that they received underwear as wedding gifts. Soon after they were married, Anke arrived and was the gem of everyone’s eye as the 1st grandchild on both sides of the family. Walter was born 3 years later. And within a few years at the age of 29, she and her family immigrated to California with only $100 in their pocket. Within a few days of arrival, little Anke had a toothache which cost a substantial portion of that $100. Abe, eager to support his family, landed his first job in America cleaning bubble-gum machines. Johanna quickly learned the language and worked as a bookkeeper for the school district. Abe became a mechanical engineer and soon embraced the American dream and became home owners. Two more daughters were born, Mary Ann and Sonya, making it a family of 6. Johanna and Abe then started a family business in Anaheim named AAA Tropical Fish. It was probably the only place in Anaheim where it felt like the tropics all year long with over 100 fish tanks all kept at a perfect tropical temperature. She put in many long days and usually worked 6 days a week in the business. Johanna once wrote a formal request to the Dutch Queen, Juliana, recommending her father for Knighthood for his 50 years of service as head of a central heating company that developed the technology for heating which many in Holland still use today. A few months later, she and her father received an invitation from the queen to attend a knighting ceremony inducting her father into the realm. He was so proud of that distinction the rest of his life. Unfortunately, after 27 years of marriage, Johanna and Abraham decided to go their separate ways. Johanna, who was active in the choir at the German Phoenix Club in Anaheim met Walter Shatsky at a dance there. After falling in love, they married and bought a new home in Sun City. They found so much happiness together. Johanna always said that Walter was the true love of her life. Johanna spent her retirement traveling with Walter, enjoying her 8 grandchildren, playing the organ, cooking, cooking and more cooking. Did we say that she liked to cook? Thank goodness, her daughters have mastered all her recipes so that the legacy can continue for the family in years to come. Oma pancakes, Oma meat, Oma meatballs, Oma soup, Oma stomp pot, pudding and berry sauce to name a few. And in her spare time when she wasn’t cooking, she attended Cypress College graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in her late 60’s. When Johanna was widowed, she became very active in an Dutch Indonesian Bible Study group and had the time of her life with those women. She sure ate a lot of great food too as those gals could cook! Any Dutch person knows, Indonesian food is very popular in Holland, because of the Dutch colonizing in Indonesia. Johanna discovered the Internet in her 70’s. Never afraid to embrace technology, Johanna met many new friends from around the world. Her children were worried that she would meet a nice 80-year-old and run away to the circus. Luckily the newfound interest faded away and she was once again planted with both feet on the ground. There is so much more that we could share about this amazing family matriarch but then you would be here all day. Let it be said that she was a one-woman dynamo that never stopped doing in life. She experienced and accomplished more than many in her 92 ½ years and never complained about the hardships she endured. She lived by Christian values and tried to impart the spirit of doing for others as more important than just doing for yourself. Raising 4 accomplished adult children to carry on that spirit and make a difference in the world. She will be missed but has left the world a better place for having lived in it and touching so many lives.

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  1. Even though I knew you a short time. I always enjoyed coming over to see you and hear about your childhood memories. You will always have a special place in my heart. Love you!

  2. I will always remember you Johanna… back in 1983 you invited me to your home and I met you and soon all of your children. We shared our faith and we had such fun talking about Holland and California.
    I am thankful for the way you introduced me to Sonya, Anneke, Mary-Ann and Walt, Beverly, Sam, Gina and Erin… also my friend Tonya D. Greer came to your home and we started a precious friendship in 1984. After all those years friendship survived. Back in 1983 it started with a conversation in church in Amersfoort where my dad told you I was ‘somewhat a America-fan’… and now I can say I have a family overseas. Thank you so much Johanna and I know one day we will meet upthere… and your smile will be recognized that day. I wish all your family much strength and love.
    Jesus once made us cross paths… I feel blessed having knowing you. Ben

  3. I will be eternally grateful to your mom for having nursed me when my mom couldn’t. I owe my life to her.

  4. Johanna Margaretha Gongryp Kuchler Shatsky
    11/27/1924 – 7/5/17

    Johanna Margaretha Gongryp Kuchler Shatsky was born on November 27, 1924 in De Haag, Holland. Her wonderful parents made sure that their 3 children experienced Dutch life to its fullest. Travels, beach days, driving in one of the first family owned cars in Delft. Yes, life was good.
    Then, World War II and Johanna, at the age of 15, found herself registering with the Nazis and limited to food rations. She would ride her bicycle, with no rubber tires no less, to a relative’s farm to gather home grown food for her mother, father and two brothers. Her family relied on her because boys and men were in demand to work in factories in Germany so they had to remain home and in hiding.
    She met Abraham Kuchler at a sailing club hosting a group of teenagers. Although a challenge to grow a relationship while miles apart from each other during an occupied, war-torn country, they fell in love and married soon after the war ended. Things were so scarce that they received underwear as wedding gifts.
    Soon after they were married, Anke arrived and was the gem of everyone’s eye as the 1st grandchild on both sides of the family. Walter was born 3 years later. And within a few years at the age of 29, she and her family immigrated to California with only $100 in their pocket. Within a few days of arrival, little Anke had a toothache which cost a substantial portion of that $100. Abe, eager to support his family, landed his first job in America cleaning bubble-gum machines. Johanna quickly learned the language and worked as a bookkeeper for the school district. Abe became a mechanical engineer and soon embraced the American dream and became home owners. Two more daughters were born, Mary Ann and Sonya, making it a family of 6.
    Johanna and Abe then started a family business in Anaheim named AAA Tropical Fish. It was probably the only place in Anaheim where it felt like the tropics all year long with over 100 f

  5. Lieve tante An, thank you for all the happy moments we shared together! Love, Ingeborg.

  6. Mom Beverly i will will miss you. The best thing you ever did for me was bring me to U S A . Sorry I gave you all them gray hairs. LOVE YOU WALT AND BEVERLY.

  7. Mom enjoyed playing the organ and singing. She played at every gathering at her home and sang in the choir with the church and the Dutch club. We enjoyed our gardening and shopping at the local mall. The beautiful picture you see here was taken when we went for glamour shots. My mother was very glamorous as you can tell. When we went on cruises together, she and I would enjoy dressing up for dinner and having fun with the people we met. Thanks for the fun cruises mom.
    My mom was a great cook and baker. It always amazed me how she could make cookies and cakes with out a recipe. Her oma’s fles dinners were the best. Those times were so fun. She gave wonderful dinner parties when I was a child. It seems that she gathered all the ones that had no where to go, or had no idea of cooking, to her table. Many times we would be in the kitchen together getting things ready for the party. No catering, un unh, we made everything from scratch. She had me cooking on a small play stove by the time I was in school. Thanks for the lessons and good meals, mom
    She was also an excellent seamstress. When I was a child, she would make clothes for me and my brother to wear to school. She had my friends and I making dolls and doll clothes when we were still in grade school. Thanks for teaching me and my friends, mom.
    In the evenings, in the 50s and 60s, during the summer, my friends and mom and I would sit in front of the TV and watch Twilight Zone. Sometimes we would go next door and dance the Polka on our neighbors patio and have ice cream. Thanks for those fun times mom.
    I remember my mother giving me the best birthday parties when I was in grade school. We would be outside and play fun games. My mother tried to give us some good memories, and she succeeded.
    My children enjoyed all the trips in the trailer and nights spent with Oma. Mom had a restaurant and would take orders for meals and the kids would pay with money they drew and cut out, She had a wonderful sense for play with the ki

  8. Mom loved you a lot… like all of her kids… ´Once she said…that you and me were lile brother and sister’… She was right 😉 Hugs, Ben

  9. Oma, thank you for teaching me about Jesus Christ. I will always remember how strong your faith is and how in the end you held onto the truth of scripture that we as Christians don’t die, but live eternally with Jesus in Heaven!

  10. Thank you mom for all of your knowledge and wisdom that you imparted onto me. I will miss you more than one can ever know but look forward to seeing you again at the gates of Heaven. Fly with the Angels and sing your heart out in the heavenly choir for eternity!

  11. Thank You mom for all the lessons in life you taught me. I pray that I will be half as strong and determined a you were in this life. May my faith in God be as steadfast and true as yours. I’m going to miss you everyday for the rest of my life. I love you.
    Sonya (sompie).

  12. Thank You mom for all your generosity and the lessons you taught me in this life. I pray that I will be as strong as you and that my faith in God will be as true and steadfast as yours. I feel safer knowing that you’re looking out for me from above now. My guardian angel, I love you and will miss you for the rest of my life. Love Sonya (sompie).

  13. The Zuetel Family bought the “America the Beautiful” flower arrangement in memory of my Oma because she loved being American with all her heart!

  14. We will miss you Johanna,Sonya and I used to visit you in Sun City,and you would have your special Dutch dinner waiting us ,so good.You would play the organ for us and talk about your life ,and listen to your stories,specially about the ones of Holland,you will always have a place in my heart
    Truus

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