kersen de jong bw
Kersen J. de Jong
  • 65 years old
  • Date of birth: Mar 13, 1950
  • Place of birth:
    Den Haag, Netherlands
  • Date of passing: Feb 17, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Kersen will be remembered for his remarkable tenacity, energy, passion for living and most of all his generosity.

This memorial website was created in memory of Kersen de Jong, 65, born on March 13, 1950 and passed away on February 17, 2016. He will be fondly remembered for the lives he touched and the lasting impact he had on the communities he served.  Kersen's life is living proof that you can change things in this world.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Tamel D. Thompson on 24th May 2017

"Wow... I know I'm a year overdue. I'm so sadden that Kersen is gone. I encountered him about over 15 years ago. He was driving an old jeep truck around the west village, when I first met him. He had a very well tailored suit on and ask if I needed a ride somewhere. I declined only because of where he approached me at. It wasn't a good and safe area as I was venturing my way home. But to make a long story short. I met him oddly on a second time around, when two guys was trying to rob him inside his truck. I fought off these guys not knowing that kersen was disabled. I remember visiting him at his place numerous times on East 94th street & Madison ave particularly on occasions when he needed someone to talk to. He loved his ice-cream, Ralph Lauren, PBS, Jeopardy and the shades of Yellow. Kersen was a very special friend to me. I'll miss playing solitaire and chatting with him. I truly send my regards to the family and friends who knew this very generous Man."

This tribute was added by Jaap Mol on 27th November 2016

"I was only recently informed about the passing away of Kersen. I met him frequently in the period 1988-1992 when I was head of the economic section of the Royal Dutch Embassy in Washington. Together with Gus Springer, his mentor, he set up the European Chamber of Commerce for European multinationals with much broader commercial activities than the existing bilateral Chambers of Commerce could represent. This was a bombshell under the bilateral chambers fearing loss of income from those multinationals. Especially French and German chambers were adamant against it while their multinationals were strongly supporting this idea. This was exactly the cup of tea Kersen liked. He brilliantly explained his view supported by Gus and the smaller chambers like the Dutch. He never asked for pity, on the contrary he was better qualified by the victory over his handicap. I sat next to him on his jeep, rushing like an ambulance through the NY traffic. With sadness I remember a great man.
Jaap Th. C. Mol"

This tribute was added by Beverly Green on 26th August 2016

"I'm devastated to hear this and so sorry for the family and Phil Perkins. I met Kersen in 1985 and he gave me my first opportunity at be employed after graduating high school. He was always there when you needed him and giving strong advice to help any young person grow.  My brother (Gregory Green) expresses his gratitude for his concern and help for him during his time of need and sorrow for his passing. May God bless you and keep you all. He will truly be missed but never forgotten."

This tribute was added by Anthony Mohr on 25th August 2016

"There is not a week that goes by since my now long ago years working with Kersen that I am not reminded of a valuable lesson, a better business concept, or the appropriate Dutch curseword he taught me that brings a smile to my face and a quick thought of the debt I owe Kers for the mentoring he provided me, and so many others. He was one source of much of the personal business model I employ today: that one can do good for others while still doing good for your own business agenda - and in doing so make the world a little better every day for everyone.
For me that sums up Kersen's life as I experienced it.  
He was a friend, a mentor, a tough but fair negotiator, and incredibly generous with his time, resources and mind... never mind his razor sharp wit. A person who renounced the concept of "disability" with his every breath and forced everyone around him to strive for the best they could be - whether they wanted to or not and regardless of the obstacles they faced.
It was my experience working with him in the NCOC and Euro-COC that put me on a lifelong love affair with the Dutch and Holland.
For these and other reasons, I shall always remember him fondly, and miss him enormously: knowing that my sadness at his passing is infinitesimal compared to that of Phil, his close friends and family.
I'd say "RIP" Kers, but we all know that your soul found more rest in action. So that won't be the case just because your energy has since moved into the astral plane..."

This tribute was added by Karla Peijs on 19th April 2016

"If a friend leaves us, something inside us is dying with him. In this week of the Four Freedoms Awards my thoughts are constantly with him and with Phil , his love. Kersen always was in the Netherlands around this days and his absence is painly felt now. I know noone with more courage, more selfcritic, more humour than Kersen. Thinking of what happened to him and what some p eople did to him and made him suffer in a different way, his state of mind was amazingly positive.
Phil, I tried several times to call you, never contact. Please call me?
Thinking of you, Karla"

This tribute was added by Nat Harrington on 6th April 2016

"If there was ever a man who richly deserves a memorial, it is Kersen. His tireless work on behalf of talented young people would be enough to justify a nice sending off and a permanent memorial of some kind. But consider the battles he fought for the voiceless, invisible,  powerless and poor and it's a no brainier. How many knew of his relentless fights for justice and dignity for poor Haitian, Hispanic and African American youth and workers when he saw injustice in his town, taking on the police chief, mayor and anyone who stood in the way of fairness, dignity and equality for all?"

This tribute was added by Peter Monhemius on 18th March 2016

"Sorry to hear of the loss of Kersen.
What a remarkable person! So full of life and energy.

I remember the first time we met in 1996, I was working as a student in the Atlanta Chamber office during the Olympic Games. I thought what a strange man is this. Later on I found out what a very committed person Kersen was with a lot of love for the persons around him.
Thank you Kersen. R.I.P.

Peter Monhemius"

This tribute was added by Peter Roorda on 16th March 2016

"Dear Phil, today we heard the very sad news of the passing away of Kersen. We lost a remarkable human being who was able to inspire many. We think of the wonderfull events he organized and precious moments we shared, always against the current and main stream  and later providing young talent a chance to be heard. We wish you all strenght to carry this loss and our thoughts are with you. Peter & Geertje Roorda"

This tribute was added by Jacqueline Jeelof-Henrotay on 15th March 2016

"Dear Phil,

After the tears have dried and the goodbyes have been said,all we
have to hold onto are the happy memories that we've shared with
Kersen, this is what keeps him alive in our hearts and in our minds.

I am blessed to have known a person like Kersen. He was a man of
strength and exemplary deeds
His vision of life was truly remarkable .
He was indeed an inspiration to us all.

I will miss my dear friend dearly,but knowing that I was able to be a
part of his life and the friendship we had will never be forgotten from
this day on.

These past weeks I have been trying to summarize Kersen's persona,
words such as Optimist,Reliable,Trustworthy,Dependable,Persistent ,
Funny, Resolute,Charming,Gentleman, Classy.....can not start to begin
to describe him.

Kersen gave these values an extra dimension.

The measure of a man :

Not - " How did he die "
But -" How did he live "
Not -  What did he gain "
But - What did he give "

Forever in my heart

This tribute was added by Lot Vf on 14th March 2016

"Dearest Phil,
What a loss! Always inspiring, always fighting, always up for something. I feel so lucky that i have met you two. It has brought me so Many memorable moments. Kersen has taught me so Much that I still use everyday. And together With you it was just perfect!
THE trust, New York, carnegie hall, Amsterdam, concertgebouw, Young talents from THE US and THE netherlands, concerts, dinners, "blaadjes", bazoons, and so Much more!
I Will be thinking of you, Lots of love, LOT"

This tribute was added by Steve Tagg on 13th March 2016

"Kersen,  Kathy and I think of you every day, and this is especially true on your birthday.  You will always be a part of us.  Thank you for being you .. You have had such a positive impact on everyone who met you... Always your friend.. Love you.. Steve"

This tribute was added by Wilfred Poiesz on 13th March 2016

"March 13 – Happy birthday

Without that day, we would not have had the energetic role model that showed us courage, ambition, risk, perseverance and loyalty that is needed for a successful career.

Thank you Kersen – Happy birthday - We sure will, pass that part of you forward……….."

This tribute was added by Joep van Berkel on 8th March 2016

"Kersen had the ability to see all the dots and he always knew how to connect them. In doing so, he kept the highest level of integrity at all times. He was one of the most generous persons I've ever met.  

I already miss the extremely fun and inspiring 'brainstorm sessions' with him."

This tribute was added by Mike and Cheryl Manzella on 6th March 2016

"We met Phil and Kersen in Hawaii, sitting in "their chairs" By the pool. Never did we know what great friends we would make that day. Talking Kersen into going to a small hole in the wall for Vietnamese food, to spending time on the Big Island, we had so much fun. We didn't know Kersen or Phil on a professional level, just as two great guys and two great friends. RIP Kersen. We will miss you."

This tribute was added by Michael Salter on 3rd March 2016

"While Kersen was here, he managed to touch the lives of so many people...including myself. HIs generosity, courage and compassion has forever transformed my life for the better and continues to serve as a huge source of motivation to become a better version of myself every single day. Kersen will be sorely missed, but will undoubtedly live on through all the lives he has impacted. Thank you Kersen."

This tribute was added by Felicia Wong on 2nd March 2016

"Phil, we are so sorry for your loss and are glad to have known you and Kersen these many years.  Kersen was such a committed, passionate, wonderful friend of the Roosevelt Institute. Our time together in New York and the Netherlands was always filled with good food and laughter. And Kersen's generosity and dedication to remembering FDR's disability legacy will always be a part of our work at the Institute.

With much love and respect, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and Felicia Wong"

This tribute was added by Andrea Axelrod on 1st March 2016

"Phil --
My heart goes out to you and Kersen's friends and family. Kersen was one-of-a-kind. I will always remember his imagination, ingenuity, generosity and can-do attitude. When I think of all the causes he championed!
I will think of him every year when the daffodils bloom in New York City.
All my best,

This tribute was added by Norah deBekker on 1st March 2016

"A remarkable, energetic and passionate man indeed! Thanks to the Chamber and Kersen I had two really enjoyable and adventurous years in Atlanta and Chicago early on in my career! Best wishes to Phil, the family and many friends."

This tribute was added by Bob Donovan on 1st March 2016

"Sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. De Jong . It was always a great pleasure to talk over the phone or meet in person to go over any concerns of any projects he was working on .Most projects were for the well being of other people . He was always totally committed to what ever he was working on. Best wishes to all remaining family members"

This tribute was added by Chris Haveman on 29th February 2016

"Too young.

I always will remember his support while living in Chicago to set up my businees. We met and enjoyed his company, business as well as profesional!

Chris Haveman"

This tribute was added by Cindy Lovelace on 29th February 2016

"Phil, what an extraordinary life your beloved Kersen led and enriched the lives of so many others. That is obvious, of course, but the affirmation is important because there's no doubt your love was a major part of it. We feel for your loss and send our prayers and support. Cindy and Gene Lovelace"

This tribute was added by John Jackson on 28th February 2016

Merirae & John Jackson have been blessed to know you and pray for your family in this time of loss, may God wrap his loving arms around you and give you peace hugs to you"

This tribute was added by Elfriede Jones on 27th February 2016

"I was so shocked when I heard the news of Kersen's passing. He and Phil have been a part of my Hale Koa family for many years. I will never forget him asking me, this last trip, if I was coming back next year. We had a lot of fun and many laughs. Kersen, you will be missed. To you, Phil, I am so sorry that you lost the friend of a lifetime. My thoughts are with you."

This tribute was added by Lencola Sullivan Verseveldt on 27th February 2016

"Dearest Phil. I am very sorry for your loss as Kersen will be missed by countless people around the world that he has touched during his lifetime (which was far too short).  His huge heart impacted many and it was a pleasure working with him as I had an opportunity to see his good works up close and personal. Having him in my life was a blessing and I will forever cherish many wonderful memories shared with you and with him.  May you find comfort as you remember the good times shared.  You will remain in our thoughts and prayers.  Love, Lencola & Roel"

This tribute was added by Victor Guyt on 27th February 2016

"My name is Victor Guyt I had a terrible car accident in 1984. A very important part of my struggle to come back, was delivered by Mr Kersen J de Jong. He did that by living his life like he did after his terrible car accident in 1976. Losing Your legs in an accident and walking like before that accident. Only those who really experienced this kind of accidents can really understand what he really did. Thank You very very much Mr de Jong for being for me a model of fighting spirit. You will always be on my mind."

This tribute was added by Earnestine Cartier on 27th February 2016

"Oh, Pillip, so so sorry to hear the passing of Kersen.  Thank God he felt love.  He felt true love.  I know you will miss him and so will I.  Kersen was a good and loving man.  He loved the world and sharing it with you.  His philanthropy is unmeasurable to the lives he touched.  Our friendship goes back over 35 years. You have battled the storm and know that God will not leave your side ever and during your morning.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!"

This tribute was added by Christopher Breiseth on 27th February 2016

"Oh, Phil,  What a loss for you but also for so many around the world. Kersen's indefatigible efforts to keep the FDR Disability Award alive at the United Nations was a labor I joyfully shared with him.  His creative commitments to young musicians, particularly in Harlem, represented golden investments in humanity.  So many human beings are achieving their potential because of Kersen.  Much love"

This tribute was added by Audrey Greenlee on 27th February 2016

"Phil,I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Kersen. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, but I know you so I know he must have been an amazing person. Having read the many tributes you were blessed to have had each other,and rest assured that he is in a better place. You were blessed to have had each other, but God has called him home to further enlighten his kingdom. God bless, I love you.  Audge"

This tribute was added by Richard Gano on 27th February 2016

"Levonne and I first met Kersen and Phil at the Hale Koa Military Hotel on Waikiki.  We have stayed several weeks each February over the past six or seven years.  As a Vietnam veteran and close to Kersen’s age, I speculated that he had lost his legs in combat and possibly Vietnam, so I struck up a conversation with him and Phil, and found out that he had lost his legs in an accident years ago in New York.  Phil being a retired Army Major was the one who sponsored both at the Hale Koa.  I was impressed with both Kersen and Phil’s life experiences and especially the philanthropic activities Kersen has been involved in.  Kersen was one who never let his disability keep him back.  He would get on his skate board, head to the edge of the pool, dive in and swim away as well as anyone else in the pool.  Then, he’d lift himself effortlessly out of the pool on to the edge and on the skate board.  No problem for a man with his determination and strength both physically and mentally.  Kersen and I talked many times about the needs of the Hale Koa to properly respond to the needs of the handicapped; especially in the design of the newly renovated Iliami pool at the hotel.  I wrote a letter to several officials at Kersen’s urging asking them to insure the needs of the handicapped in their upcoming pool design.   In talking further with Kersen earlier this visit, he told me he had had several health problems over the past year which had limited his upper body strength, so it was more of an effort to get in and out of the pool; however, he persisted.  After we were informed from Phil that Kersen had passed, we were struck hard.  I had no idea his health had failed so drastically.  I spent several days talking and sharing our experiences together with Phil.  Phil and Kersen were together for many, many years of devoted love.  As the father of a gay son in a close relationship, I valued talking to Phil about their experiences together and receiving valuable advice about what my son and his partner should do to insure that their time together is valued by society and that they have a say in each other’s lives.  Levonne and I will miss seeing Kersen at the Hale Koa and talking with him.  I only hope that Phil will continue to come each year.  We will value our friendship with both Kersen and Phil, and with Phil in the future."

This tribute was added by Tarkan Bastiyali on 26th February 2016

"Kersen, really went through a lot in his life and I have a lot of respect for him . My condolences go out to his family."

This tribute was added by Pam Martin on 25th February 2016

"I have only known Kersen since January of 2012.  I know him to be all and more of the things written here by others.  For me he was the instrument in a very huge God moment in my life.  I am writing the story to share on the stories tab of this website.  It's a long story.  Kersen will forever be a very special person to me, as he was to so many.  He cast quite a large shadow, he will never be forgotten.  My heart goes out to my dearest and best friend, Phil."

This tribute was added by Louis Van Vlaanderen on 25th February 2016

"We still can't believe that Kersen has passed away.  We cherish fond memories and to Phil we send our condolences, strength, love and peace to carry this big loss.

Louis, Nel en René van Vlaanderen"

This tribute was added by Fleur Van Arend-Bels on 25th February 2016

"RIP Kersen de Jong working for you was one big party, you introduced me to CEO's, royalty and presidents and made me travel the world. Fighting your battles taught me to always stay true to my gut and our 'discussions' gave me the confidence to always speak my mind. Can't grasp you are really no longer with us. You were my mentor and dear friend. You will be dearly missed by many and remembered in thousand too good to be true memories! Phil my thoughts are with you!"

This tribute was added by Jiri Van Der Kaay on 25th February 2016

"Kersen was and will always be remembered as an extraordinary man. My thoughts are with Phil! I will Always remember you as a friend that helped me and others to achieve remarkable things. Thanks for all. Jiri"

This tribute was added by Charles Gregg on 25th February 2016

"Hello Phil,

I am so shocked to hear of the passing of your partner Kersen.  Just know I love you two and I am so appreciative of the time spent with you two.  I am honored to say I got to know you and Kersen.  You two treated me like a son and were a major influence in my personal and business development.  I know it's tough to lose Kersen whom I know you love dearly just know he is with the creator "GOD" still pushing for equality and social justice while eating good, drinking heavenly wine and listening to choirs of all sex, race and ethnicity full of GOD's angels!  I miss his smile, laugh and sense of humor!  I LOVE you my brother PHIL and I LOVE KERSEN!!!  Just know I am there for you however I can be of assistance/help or just add value to you through this period in your life, please let me know.



This tribute was added by Caroline Balje on 25th February 2016

"We are devestated about the passing of Kersen, an extraordinary man and a man of great spirit and determination.
We have a great respect for what he has accomplished in life, and
are very fortunate to have known him. We cherish the good times we spent together.
Our heart goes out to Phil, family and friends

We will miss him dearly.

Loving wishes to Phil XXX

Bart & Caroline"

This tribute was added by Margaret Van Kempen on 25th February 2016

"Non-conformist thinker, great sense of humor, loyal and original, this is how I will remember Kers. I vividly remember the great times we had many years ago when we were working together organising trade dinners in the US. I will miss him. I hope Phil will get strength and comfort from all of those who have been lucky to be a friend of Kersen."

This tribute was added by R Gordon on 24th February 2016

"I was in shock when I heard Kersen had passed, but I quickly took solace in knowing that his words of wisdom, his courage, ignited a passion in me that I couldn't grieve , But rejoice in knowing he's taught many valuable lessons and is indeed an asset in our lives! Rest in peace my friend"

This tribute was added by James Johnson on 24th February 2016

"My heart goes out to Phil and the many friends and admirers of Kersen de Jong. He was a force of nature, unstoppable in his determination to do good. Consider all that he accomplished with little more than a firm handshake and a smile. He brought together people of disparate cultures, backgrounds, languages, economic status, religion - all in the name of humanity. How persuasive he was! During one particularly busy time, he convinced me to drop everything, travel to Harlem, wait three hours, and testify before the school board on a subject that he was passionate about. I did it gladly. Over the years, we worked together on many projects, including numerous concerts and recordings. He introduced me to many interesting and wonderful people that I cherish to this day. I will miss him."

This tribute was added by Daniel Billings on 24th February 2016

"I will always remember the many good times we shared."

This tribute was added by Robert Brands on 24th February 2016

"Kersen offered me the opportunity to come the U.S. in 1982, and although he did not like formal references or introductions, we hit it off at our first meeting in The Hague during my interview. He made me manager of the New York Office of the NCOC soon after my arrival and I loved working with and for Kers. Always encouraging you to go the distance and be the best you could be. The NCOC become my springboard into my US career and I was happy to stay connected, and return some favors over the years. He was an amazing individual that never hesitated to help folks in need.  A remarkable life! All those who met him were fortunate!
I will miss him dearly, You left us too early! Hope we meet again, Robert"

This tribute was added by Wilma Ouwehand on 24th February 2016

"We're devastated about the passing of Kersen. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Phil, family and friends. Kersen was an extraordinary man with great courage. We have an intensive respect and admiration for everything that he has accomplished in life.
We cherish our time we spend with him and felt fortunate to became friends with Kersen and Phil. Loving wishes to Phil from Erik and Wilma Ouwehand"

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This memorial is administered by:

Erik Ouwehand


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