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."
Hulshoff was working at a hotel in The Hague in 1957 when he received an opportunity to move to the United States. James Terry Duce, an executive at the former Arabian-American Oil Co., or Aramco, invited him to become his family's butler.
Hulshoff worked for them at Duce's homes in Woodside and on Nob Hill in San Francisco for several years. He next studied to be a beautician and cut hair at several San Francisco salons.
Hulshoff moved to Santa Rosa in the 1960s.
He worked for a Montgomery Village salon and at Joseph Magnin Co. in Coddingtown Mall.
Although deeply cultured, Hulshoff wasn't too serious.
In the 1970s, Hulshoff regularly put on a ballerina tutu and other costumes to perform in the annual HighFever Follies, a variety show held to raise money for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
"He was for comedy," said his friend, Gabor Toth, 79, of Santa Rosa. "Anything they asked him to do, he was ready."
Hulshoff rented a chair at Toth's salon, Gabor's Hair Styling on Mendocino Avenue. They worked together from 1978 until Hulshoff retired in 2002 and came to consider each other like brothers, Toth said.
Hulshoff arranged for a nephew and several nieces to study at Sonoma County schools. His mother visited often from the Netherlands, and many of his friends also came to call her Mem, meaning mother in Frisian.
Hulshoff fostered a large group of friends.
He was an excellent cook and renowned for hosting dinner parties at his immaculately decorated Linwood Avenue apartment in Santa Rosa, where he lived until moving to Glen Ellen about five years ago.
"The warmth of the place," said Toth, who grew up in Budapest, Hungary. "The decoration was like going into the Old World. You felt you were transported."
"He was extremely gracious," said Kathy Farrell of Santa Rosa, a close friend for 30 years ever since Hulshoff styled her husband's hair when the Farrells married.