Jane DeRook was born in The Hague, Netherlands and grew up in Indonesia until age 13 when - with the outbreak of World War II, her family returned to the Netherlands where they experienced the privations of German occupied Holland, including the Hunger Winter of 1944. She ultimately attended Medical School at University of Groningen where she met her future husband, Frank. After completing medical education, the couple came to the United States one at a time: first Jane in 1954 to test the waters, then Frank one year later. They became US citizens and married in 1956 in Pittsburgh, PA where they worked at Presbyterian Hospital. Thereafter, they worked as resident physicians in New York, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. They eventually chose to start a private practice in Albany, New York. Frank and Jane worked together as family physicians in their Guilderland office for 26 years. Their living quarters separate from the office, but under the same roof, they also raised 3 children and became integral members of their community.
Jane was an avid supporter of the arts, especially music and dance. All 3 children took music and ballet lessons. In the summers they attended New York City Ballet performances in Saratoga. Since lessons involved long drives to downtown Albany or Schenectady, Jane had the vision of a local town supported dance program and became instrumental in starting the Guilderland Ballet School. She was a founding member of the Guilderland League of Arts and part of a group that conceived of and built the Guilderland Performing Arts Center at Tawasentha Park. GPAC offered regular summer seasons of performances free to the community. For her contributions to the arts and youth education, she was recognized in 1988 with the Town of Guilderland Citizen of the Year award.
The DeRook’s joint family practice came to an abrupt end in 1989 with Frank’s tragic death in an auto accident. After a brief hiatus, Jane elected to continue in solo practice to serve her community for almost another 20 years. She retired fully from medical practice at age 81 in 2007 and quietly lived her final years in Guilderland with her daughter Nancy and son-in-law, Tony. Jane died peacefully at home with hospice support on May 20, 2020.
Many friends remember the DeRook household fondly as a place of discussion, and informal intellectual exchange. Frank and Jane loved to discuss politics, current events, philosophy, and the arts. While they avidly embraced US citizenship, they never forgot their roots in the Netherlands, and retained a lasting affinity for Dutch culture. Jane had a profound reverence for the performing arts. This was a passion she cultivated in her own children and an opportunity she wanted to make available to all local children. She will be remembered fondly in Guilderland for these lasting contributions. Jane DeRook is survived by her three children: Laurence, Frances and Nancy, and three grandchildren: Derrick, Dylan, and Saskia.
If able, please consider a donation in Jane’s memory to one of the animal rights organizations she supported: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). For on-line condolences please visit: www.SimpleChoicesCremation.com.