Sibylla (Billy) Helena Johanna Brinksma VanKeizerswaard

November 2, 1931 ~ April 15, 2021


April 22, 2021
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City Utah 84111
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  • Service:

    April 23, 2021
    12:00 PM
    10th Ward Chapel, 420 South 800 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
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  • Our dear mother, Oma, sister, and friend was quietly released from this life on Thursday, April 15, 2021. She was a fierce warrior and example of courage, fortitude, and determination as we witnessed her battle with renal failure and a host of other afflictions for the past seven years.
    Born in Zaandijk, North Holland, the Netherlands on November 2, 1931, to Anne Auke Brinksma and Elisabeth Maria Bakker, she was raised in Amsterdam where she endured the Nazi occupation of her homeland during World War II. Oma was a supreme storyteller and she shared her experiences during the war not only with her family, but she was also invited to speak in numerous elementary schools and to youth groups where she emphasized that “freedom was not free” and required vigilance, protection, and sacrifice. She never took the freedom she enjoyed in her adopted country of the United States of America for granted.
    While a young girl, she studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and showed great promise as a solo pianist. Her talents were utilized when at ten years old she was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints serving as the organist for the Amsterdam Branch even before her baptism at the age of 12 and all during the war. At the close of the war, when missionaries for the church were again called to serve in the Netherlands, a shortage of sister missionaries resulted in her calling as a full-time proselytizing missionary at the age of sixteen.
    She emigrated from the Netherlands to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1948. Many friends from Amsterdam were also emigrating during this period, and in 1950 Jacob C. VanKeizerswaard arrived with his family. They reunited and married on July 25, 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple.
    This same group of Dutch friends, consisting of their Sunday School class in the Amsterdam Branch of the church, reconvened and referred to themselves as “The Dutch Fireside Group”. They met together monthly in one of their homes for “Fireside” socializing, teaching, and discussing the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were celebrated for meeting 60 consecutive years and invited to visit with President Thomas S. Monson where he honored them.
    Sibylla served faithfully her entire life in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was frequently called on to accompany numerous choirs and soloists. She often served as organist, and choir pianist. She loved serving as Primary chorister on both the ward and stake level. She also served as Relief Society president of the First Ward, Park Stake.
    Sibylla and Jake resided in Nürnberg, Germany (1982-1986) where Jacob worked as a civil servant for the U.S. Army. While living there, Mom served as a Relief Society Counselor in the Stuttgart Servicemen’s Stake. Sibylla often spoke with great fondness about the friends and relationships established while living in Germany.
    Mom was proud to call herself a “Penney’s Girl” working for J.C. Penney Co. as a sales clerk. She also worked as a dental assistant for Dr. Edward G. Hale for many years.
    A prodigious and expert knitter, she created countless sweaters and baby items. Whenever a baby was born in the neighborhood, they received a pair of hand-knit baby booties made by Sibylla. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are all proud of their “Oma Sweaters”!
    Mom was a supreme hostess and had a gift for warmly welcoming everyone, helping them feel comfortable and part of the family. An expert cook, she prepared and served delicious meals and was constantly baking cookies, and sweet treats to share with guests and neighbors. Her generosity, hospitality, and sincere interest won many loyal friends.
    Sibylla is survived by her children, BetteJo and Carl McLelland, Provo, Neil and Marilyn VanKeizerswaard, Salt Lake City, Pam and Bret Hortin, Sandy, and Valerie and Michael Mooney, West Jordan; 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Lucita Brinksma, California, and many cousins both in the United States and the Netherlands.
    She is preceded in death by her husband, Jacob (Jaap), her parents and sister, Minke, and her grandson, Joseph Bret Hortin.
    Funeral Services will be held Friday, April 23rd at 12 noon at the 10th Ward Chapel, 420 South 800 East, Salt Lake City. Friends may call Thursday evening at the Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and at the ward chapel one hour prior to services. Internment, Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East Dimple Dell Road, Sandy. Please visit for options to watch a broadcast of the funeral services as well as other details.
    The family wishes to especially express our sincere gratitude to the loving staff at the Kolff Dialysis Clinic at the University of Utah for their compassionate care and friendship for the past six years that Sibylla has been a patient there.
    We love you, dear Oma! “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:21


    Please accept our condolences on the passing of Sibylla. It was an honor to have known such a great, funny and positive person and we will truly miss her. She always saw things in a positive way and helped others. May God embrace you in comfort during this difficult time. Heinz, Monika, Michael und Gaby

    - Family Nüßlein
    I just found out that Billy passed and ashamed to say that I let the years go by without more contact. I am Billy's cousin. My mother and her father were brother and sister. She came to my surprise 70th birthday party. She couldn't have been a more wonderful and sweet person. I loved her and am sorry I didn't get to be at the funeral, as I heard too late. Please accept my condolences to her whole family.

    - Lucretia Kruse Mehraban
    Neil and Marilyn, Very sorry for your loss. No matter the circumstances it is not easy. Isn't the Plan of Salvation wonderful? We love you and miss you. Allen and Mary Louise

    - Allen and Mary Louise Hughes
    Billie was one of our favorites at The Old Dutch Store. I feel honored that she would come into the store even as it became more difficult. Thank you Valerie for continuing to bring her in. Billie is a very special sweet lady and we'll miss her. Sending a Dutch hug to your family!

    - Sharon Wuolukka
    Remembering Billy. . . love of life—always cheerful and enthusiastic warm, welcoming, engaging personality gracious, generous hostess—happy times together delicious food treats, from soups to snacks “glue” that helped hold Dutch Fireside group together loyal, supportive friend strong testimony, firm in the faith A favorite among many—I love you, Daryl see also cra/note and flowers

    - Daryl Van Dam Hoole
    My sister was an amazing person. I will miss her very much. In the last few years we became very close. Watch over us, sis. I love you.

    - Andrew A. Brinksma
    Sharon and I remember with fondness the many fun times we had with Billy and the Dutch Fireside Group at Bear Lake. Billy stands out as one of the most caring and loving persons we have ever known. She was always smiling and friendly - a delight be around. We will always cherish her memory and will look forward to seeing her again some day.

    Biily and I are first cousins. After world war 2, I lived with her family until we moved to the US, and for a short time after. Being only months older, we became more like brother and sister, and remained so thru the years. I remember how her mother very strictly controlled her studies on the organ and piano. She took lessons twice a week, and practiced daily. The last time we where together, I picked her up and we drove to Ogden to attend my brother in law's funeral. My payers of comfort are for the family, knowing that she is now in a better place, free of pain and sorrow. Till we meet again, I love and miss you Kiekie. (name she went by as a young girl)

    - Andrew Schot
    We love you all. Oma touched many lives and will be missed!

    - Lohmoelder
    Dear family, We are truly sorry to hear about your loss. Billy was a great woman and she will be truly missed and will always be remembered.

    - Paul & Margreet Heuvelman
    I’m so heartbroken that she has passed, my great aunt was an incredible person. My condoles to everyone.

    - April brooks