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314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Cornelia "Corrie" (Vlijm) Knottnerus

Born: Thu., Apr. 14, 1927
Died: Sun., Apr. 26, 2020

Services are to be announced

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Stevensville  -  Corrie was born Cornelia Vlijm on April 14, 1927 to Willem Vlijm and Jansje Van Der Does in Ermelo, the Netherlands. She was the youngest of six children. Corrie lived in Holland during the Nazi occupation and was heavily involved in the Dutch underground, hiding and saving Jews. Her family home was seized by German sympathizers and subsequently bombed. She lived part of the time in a chicken coop. She was threatened by German soldiers. Still, she stayed strong and courageous and true to her faith throughout and continued with her family in hiding and saving Jews. There is simply too much to say about Corrie and her life at that time. A book could be written about her experiences and heroism. Corrie’s name, along with other members of her family, are written on the marble wall at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington DC, listing righteous gentiles for life-saving acts during World War II. Their names are also written at the Holocaust Museum in Israel, where a tree is also planted in her family’s name for their heroism. After the war, Corrie left Holland and spent time in London, working in a children’s hospital. Corrie returned to Holland where she happened to meet Otto. Otto had previously emigrated from Holland with his brother, Leonard, to Montana and had returned to Holland for a visit. Corrie then again left Holland in 1956 and immigrated to Long Island New York, where she worked as a nanny. Otto, being obviously smitten with Corrie, kept track of her, traveled from Montana to New York, courted her and ultimately convinced her to come back to beautiful Montana. Otto and Leonard had approximately 5000 acres of land that they were converting into farmland, irrigation, cattle etc. Corrie then embarked on the hard, and sometimes rough, life of a farm wife. But,she always brought Holland with her. She always made things clean and cozy. Otto and Corrie had three children, Hank, Wilfred and John. She also cared for her nephews Carl and Brent and her niece Dixie following their parents passing. In 1978, Otto, Corrie and Leonard sold the ranch. Otto and Corrie moved to Stevensville, Montana where they have lived since 1978. Otto passed on November 22, 2011. Corrie continued to live on her own in Stevensville self-sufficiently until 2016, when she fell and broke her arm. Corrie has been living in the Living Center in Stevensville since. Corrie passed away suddenly on Sunday morning, April 26, 2020. Corrie was a very strong woman with great faith. She is welcomed home by the loving arms of Jesus, Otto and all of her family who have passed before her. Here, in America, she leaves three sons, three daughters in law, two nephews and one niece and fifteen grandchildren, all who love her deeply and will miss her very very much. She leaves countless others in Holland, who also Love her and will miss her. Welcome home Mom! Unfortunately, current Covid-19 guidelines preclude a gathering to celebrate her life now. So, we will all be separately celebrating her life for now. We all know she is home now and she will definitely know that we are thinking of her. Hopefully more to follow soon. For more information on Corrie‘s experiences during World War II, please click on https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510786 , which contains a “Oral history interview with Cornelia Knottnerus-Collections Search– United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.” Be sure to click on the audio to hear Corrie speak. 

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Nancy Lowell
   Posted Wed April 29, 2020
My sincere sympathy to all of you during this time. I got to know Corrie when she and my Mom were roommates at the nursing home. She told me countless stories and I admired her so very much!

Carolyn Cook
   Posted Sat May 02, 2020
I was so sad to see Corrie had passed away. Until this past year, I had been visiting with Corrie about once a week. She was such a wise lady I've had health issues so had been unable to see her. She was a beautiful person and will be missed.

Linda Jensen
   Posted Sat May 02, 2020
My condolences to the family of Corrie and Otto.
I became acquainted with your parents 25 years ago, as they visited my restaurant of employment regularly. It was ALWAYS a treat when they walked in the door! Kindness, joy, and love shone from them.
I attended Otto's service. I will send up prayers for Corrie.
Thank you for including a link to the USHMM recording. What a moving accounting. And it was wonderful to hear your mother's voice, again.

Brent and Jan Walsh
   Posted Tue May 05, 2020
Corrie ( and Otto) were the best neighbors. Always helping out with the ditch cleaning and kept "the loop walk" spotless picking up trash on their walks around. Fun to talk too and will miss them. Our condolences to their family.

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