DRESENS, Matthew "Opa", age 92, of Westwood, MA passed away peacefully on July 14th in the house he built, surrounded by his loving wife and family. Born in Maastricht, Netherlands, Matt was the second oldest of nine children. He survived a diphtheria epidemic in 1940 and the German occupation during World War II. He enjoyed telling stories of his youth where he would forage for food in local farmer's fields at night, carefully avoiding German troops in order to bring food back to his family. He was quite proud of surviving and providing for his family during these challenging times. After the war, he joined the Dutch volunteer army where he served two years in Indonesia protecting the Dutch people and assets while enabling the transition of the Dutch population from the island back to the Netherlands. After he completed his commitment to the army, he returned home and attended University in Maastricht where he earned his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and began working for Philips Company. In 1956, at "Carnival" dressed in outrageous costumes, he met the gal of his dreams, Jettie van der Krogt. The couple shared a courageous sense of adventure. After a short courtship, they married in February of 1957. Leaving their large families behind, they ventured by ship, a 10 day journey, and settled in the "land of opportunity" America. Matthew found employment in Boston at Boston Edison Company where he worked for 37 years as an electrical engineer until he retired. Over the next several years, Matthew and Henriette started their family, moved from city to suburb and settled in Westwood to raise their family of four children. Matt self-described: "the greatest accomplishment of my life was architecting and building the house of our dreams, with the help of my wife".
Matt's self-taught skills were endless and included: house building, landscaping, car repair, appliance maintenance and an ability and eagerness to educate himself to fix anything that did not work. Over the course of 30 years, he continuously made home improvements. As a hobby, he worked as an adult ed teacher sharing his talents with others as a master furniture builder. In his later years, Matt enjoyed endless hours with his 11 grandchildren. He particularly cherished time with family while gathering around the pool on hot sunny days. Opa Matt will be greatly missed but our fond memories of our dad and husband will forever be etched in our hearts. May he Rest In Peace or as they say in Dutch: "Rust in Vrede".
Matthew is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Henriette Dresens of Westwood, MA, Peggy and Don Marks of Morris Plains, NJ, Dr Peter Dresens and Linda Schommer of Groton, MA, Jennifer and Brad Lawson of Medfield, MA and Paul and Gretchen Dresens of Wayland, MA. He was a loving grandfather to Nicole, Michelle, Matthew, Delaney, Remy, Zackary, Nickolas, Caleb, Wesley, Jackson, and Maxwell. Services will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital https://www.stjude.org/