Sherwood “Woody” Jorritsma

Sherwood “Woody” Jorritsma

June 3, 1941 – February 5, 2022

Sherwood Jorritsma passed away on February 5th, 2022 in Turlock, California.

Woody, as most knew him, was born in Artesia, California, to parents Cor and Alice Jorritsma. The family moved to Turlock, where Woody, along with his three sisters and brother grew up on the family dairy on the west side of Turlock. After enjoying years of participation in FFA, Woody graduated from Turlock High School in 1959. Following graduation, he joined the Coast Guard, where he served from 1959 to 1965.

Woody worked as a milk delivery man in the Bay Area and a milk truck driver before starting his own water truck business in 1971. In 1972 he met the love of his life, Eloise Andre, and wisely married her in 1974. They lived in Turlock when their daughter was born, moved to Modesto before the birth of their first son and eventually made their way to Hilmar in 1980, where their second son was born.

Woody worked long hours driving and maintaining water trucks and tending to his almond orchard, but still found the time to serve as a volunteer fireman for the Hilmar Fire Department for 40 years, a member of the Hilmar Covenant Church Board of Trustees, a founding member of the Hilmar Municipal Advisory Council and a regular attendee at each of his children’s sporting events.

Woody was blessed with incredible friends, with whom he shared many wild stories and some of his favorite hobbies. He was a member of a stock car racing pit crew for local driver, Jim Reich, a member of the Valley Tractor Pullers Association, and volunteered as a FFA Farm Power Coach at Hilmar High School.

Woody was a devoted man of God, dedicated provider for his family, and a strong example to his children of what it was to work hard.  His large physical presence was matched only by his equally big personality and huge heart. He cared deeply for his family, friends, and community and showed this through his willingness to help out whenever asked.

Along with his parents, Woody was preceded in death by his brother John Jorritsma and sister Gerita Duree.  He is survived by his wife Ellie; his daughter Constance (Chris), and sons Rodney (Randee), and Curtis (Kimberly), and precious grandchildren Lyla, Justin, Kade and Jett.  He also leaves behind his sisters Joanne (Jim) Schaafsma and Arlene (Richard) DeGraff.

The family invites you to join in celebrating Woody’s life. On Thursday, February 24, a visitation will be held at Allen Mortuary in Turlock, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. On Friday, February 25, there will be a celebration of life at Hilmar Covenant Church at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow at Pageo Lavender Farm (11573 Golf Link Road, Turlock).   

In lieu of flowers, we invite you to make a contribution in Woody’s honor to the Merced County Rescue Mission or a charity special to you.

10 Comments

  • Marsha Barkhousen February 18, 2022 2:05 am

    Ellie our Prayer and Love are sent your way in the loss of Woody. Blessing to the entire family as you remember all the wonderful times. Pray that those memories sustain you at this time. Love all of u. Marsha and Lee Barkhousen

  • Kathy & Jim Clark February 18, 2022 4:34 am

    Woody was a salt of the earth guy. We always enjoyed the time we spent with him and loved having him as part of our family. He will be missed by so many! Rest in peace, Woody. Our love to the entire Jorristma family.

  • Vicki and Phil Broughton February 18, 2022 6:53 pm

    Ellie, Ceci, Rod, CJ and all the family- remembering all the wonderful Thanksgivings at the Ranch and Orchard. Smiles come to mind as I see Woody in his chair half asleep or out bringing laughter ( and maybe some fear) to all the young ones as they sped through the almond orchard.

  • Hawaii Hallstones February 18, 2022 7:30 pm

    Uncle Woody, as my children called him, was a man with a huge heart. During our large family gatherings on Thanksgiving Day [50-80 people] he would always devote time carting an enormous gaggle of children all around the orchard in his equally large ATV style cart. The children were so numerous that he would have to make countless trips around the orchard so each would have a ride. And being kids, they always wanted more than one trip. He never said no.

    Truthfully, he was the biggest kid of them all and delighted in stepping on the gas and making his nieces and nephews squeal! During these moments the only thing louder than the roar of the kids and the engine was Woody’s laugh. He also laughed pretty hard when I told him my ski patrol family calls me Woody as well.
    It can be pretty overwhelming to be an in-law at such a large family gathering and Woody and my wife Aili had a special bond. This giant of a man would always always make time to stand by my equally diminutive wife and praise her cranberry chutney. When we heard the sad news some of the first words out of Aili’s mouth were “No one liked my Chutney as much as Uncle Woody!”
    Ellie, CC, Rod, Curtis, and the whole Jorristma O’hana you know how much the Hawaiian branch of the Andre Clan loves each of you and your families! We can’t be at the service but we are there in spirit. Curt, you better plan on ATV duties for the kids! Note my email address! MUCH LOVE and ALOHA

  • Gudo and Kenny hallstone February 18, 2022 8:10 pm

    Visiting with Woody at Thanksgiving every year was always a joy. He always had a big smile and welcoming statement. His trips around the farm in his “wagon” were thrilling even for we adults ! Love you and will miss you Woody !

  • Nilda Pinheiro February 19, 2022 5:09 am

    Sorry for your loss. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. May he rest in peace.

  • Kenny Hallstone February 19, 2022 10:23 pm

    My favorite Woody story is some kid decided to save a trip to the dump and a few bucks and littered Woody’s almond orchard with a big mess that included dresser drawers etc. Woody went out to the mess and looked through enough things until he found a name and address in the pile. Found a way to get the telephone number and told whoever dumped thee stuff – you have 24 hours to picked up the whole mess in my orchard or I be sending the police to arrest you for littering. Apparently they did it in the middle of the night to be sure the owner ( Woody ) wouldn’t get violent with him. I told this story the next day at the Sharing Portion of our yearly Portugese Thanksgiving gathering. Woody and the rest of the family got a kick out his story.

  • Penny Forgnone February 21, 2022 3:53 pm

    Ellie and all the family,

    I remember Woody’s smile! Dan and I are so sorry to hear of his passing. Heaven has gained a beautiful soul. Hold tight to God’s promise that you will see Woody again when the Lord calls you home. Sending much love, Penny

  • Jim and Carol McRoberts February 21, 2022 4:22 pm

    Woody was a High School Class Mate and a lot of fun in school. He was a hard worker and always funny. He will not only be missed by his family but also missed by many of us who enjoyed the Jorristma fun and laughter. RIP Woody

  • Don Hallstone and Joyce Parton February 21, 2022 10:27 pm

    Because we lived further away from the majority of the Thanksgiving clan, we didn’t get to know Woody as well as those who got the pleasure of seeing him every year. However, you don’t need to know him very well to know he was a gentle giant with a big heart and a family he loved. We so hope to be there when Thanksgiving begins again, but it will definitely be bittersweet to be there without Woody. We wish we could be in California this week to celebrate the life and times of Woody, but Ellie and family, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you, even though we are not physically there.

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