Santa Rosa hair stylist Hendrik Hulshoff, who grew up under Nazi occupation in the Netherlands and came to California to be an oil executive's butler, died Sept. 29 in his home outside of Glen Ellen. He was 79.
Hulshoff was born Feb. 1, 1933, in Leeuwarden, the capital of the Dutch province of Friesland, to Johannef Hulshoff and Baukje Gerritsen.
He was 7 years old when the Netherlands came under the control of Nazi Germany. During the occupation, Hulshoff's family lived without electricity. Food was scarce.
Hulshoff had relatives who were shipped to work camps and never returned, said his childhood friend, Nicholas Nicolai, 78, of Santa Rosa.
"Money was worthless. We traded and bartered for clothes, milk," Nicolai said.
As boys, they would sneak into the rail yard and steal coal from Nazi guards to bring back to their families.
After grammar school, Hulshoff traveled to London to study at a culinary and hospitality school where he learned skills to work in high-end luxury hotels and restaurants.
The work was perfect for Hulshoff, who with a mind for history and a gracious manner, was at ease with diplomats and royalty.
Hulshoff spoke Frisian, Dutch, French, German and English. He was a connoisseur of opera, Dutch painters and European history, particularly tales of kings and queens.
"He always had a good joke as well," Nicolai said. "He could shake them off his sleeve; he was remarkable."