Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 5, 2012

Philip D. Piersma


FRANKFORT — Philip Dirk Piersma, 65, son of Henry Dirk Piersma and Johanna "Anne" Piersma passed away at the Maples in Frankfort on the morning of Nov. 24, after a battle with prostate cancer.

A native of Wyckoff, N.J., he attended Stony Brook School and later graduated from Eastern Christian High School (1966). He married Nancy Ann Meeter, Nov. 29, 1968 in Ridgewood, N.J., a school teacher and recent graduate of Calvin College.

In his younger days, he was a European car enthusiast and could tell you the skinny on every detail of all of them, from Alfa Romeo and Austin Healey to Maserati and Ferrari. He could tell you how to modify them, what you needed, and how to do it. Phil also had a preternatural ability to get others excited about cars, racing and motoring in general. These abilities lead him into his first career as an auto parts salesman.

He was not only a great salesman but a genuinely interesting and charismatic man who loved practical jokes, having fun and was the type of guy you wanted sitting next to you while having a pint.

He later had an opportunity to co-own a store, but this time it was in hardware and in Grand Rapids. He opened Cutlerville True Value in 1980 with his step brother Richard Wolters. After running the business for 15 years he was made an offer on his property and saw an opportunity to retire early and he did at age 51.

He was also an avid sailor and was part of the Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society where he competed in sailboat races that ran from Michigan to Wisconsin. Phil not only loved to sail but also enjoyed spending his free time restoring sailboats, whether it was the fiberglass work, wood refinishing or using his commercial sewing machine to build his own sails, cushions and upholstery. Phil could do it all.

Our family is deeply indebted to Munson Hospice for all of their support and to Marybeth Eckhout a family friend who was by Phil's side through thick and thin.

He is survived by his wife; daughter, Sara; sons Ben (Monica) Piersma and Josh (Kelly) Piersma; brother, David Piersma; and grandchildren Mathew, Johanna, Samuel and Naomi.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. with visitation beginning at 3 p.m, on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfort, with Pastor Rick Stieve officiating. Food and beverages will be offered after the service. Arrangements by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.