Walthera "Thera" Maria Vanden Broek

March 5, 1932December 28, 2018
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

Walthera (Thera) Maria Vanden Broek, nèe Martens, age 86, died peacefully on December 28, 2018 at at her home in Brentwood, surrounded by family.

Born in Mierlo-Hout, South Brabant, The Netherlands, Thera was the youngest of 9 children born to Hendricus Martens and Joanna Josephina Maria (Gruijters).

Thera was a child during the Great Depression of the Netherlands. She loved telling stories of how she helped her unemployed father during this time to smuggle butter and other goods across the Belgium/Netherlands border in her baby carriage when she was just an infant.

Ever the gregarious child, Thera welcomed the 101st Airborne parachuting into her home town during Operation Market Garden, and with her limited English, she invited the American soldiers to come meet her “older sisters”, much to her mother’s chagrin.

She was an eager student but was forced to leave school to start working at age of 12.

Thera worked at Vlisco, a Dutch textiles designer and manufacturer in Helmond, working with a pantograph to trace Indonesian batik designs and artists’ originals to create large scale reproductions for the wax printing.

She met her husband Humphrey, after his family moved to Helmond from Indonesia. They were married in 1959, and soon emigrated to the United States.

Their adventures landed them in Michigan, where they welcomed their son Fred. The three of them traversed the Rockies in a cross-country move to California, only to move back to Michigan soon after. They decided California was the place to be, and moved back again settling in Fremont, CA, and later welcoming daughter, Joanna.

For several years, Thera worked at Fairchild Semiconductor until Joanna was born, after which she decided it was time to stay at home. She couldn’t sit still for long, though, venturing out to become her own boss providing housecleaning services to several homes in Fremont. Her hard-earned wages helped to put their daughter through college.

After many years in Fremont, Humphrey and Thera felt the itch for another cross country move, this time to the sunny Florida panhandle, where mom enjoyed retirement in her “dream house.”

But, the birth of their grandchildren, Nicholas, Luigi, and Dakota soon lured them back again to California, where they settled this time in Brentwood.

Thera is a cancer-survivor of over 20 years, but it was fast declining dementia that sadly took her from us.

Thera is survived by her husband Humphrey, children Fred (Roxanne) Vanden Broek, Joanna (David) Mangiante, and grandchildren Nicholas and Dakota Vanden Broek and Luigi Mangiante, and many, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews in the United States and The Netherlands. She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Jan, Wim, and Harry, sisters Ria, Catharina, Mathilda, Betsy, and Annie.

Celebration of Life will be held at Brentwood Funeral Home on January 17, 2019, 1 p.m.

Donations may be made to National Ovarian Cancer Coalition ( and the Alzheimer’s Association (


  • Memorial Service Thursday, January 17, 2019

Walthera "Thera" Maria Vanden Broek

have a memory or condolence to add?

Judy Felan

January 17, 2019

I will miss seeing Thera every week on Thursday at 1:30. Love doing her hair and listening to her stories! Prayers to the family!

Rob van den Brand

January 15, 2019

Dear uncle Humphrey, Fred and Joanne,

I always had and will have such good memories of my aunt Thera when you all were visiting us in Helmond.
Such a good enthousiastic vibe she always brought and what was everybody loud, having a lot of fun and drinks while playing old records.
The memories of her smile, laughter and conversations with my sisters, my parents and me, I will never forget and still fullfill me with joy.

I wish you all a lot of strength in these times.


Diane Wybenga

January 14, 2019

Humphrey, Fred and Joanne,

My heartfelt condolences to you on the loss of your wife and mom. I always looked forward to the Christmas card she would send me; such a kind gesture that meant so much. Continued prayers for peace and strength. May she rest in peace.

Wilma Adriaans-Martens

January 11, 2019

When my aunt Thera was in Holland i remember she can talk talk talk and laugh always. My father Wim Martens always said, “when my sister Thera is here, no one needs to talk anymore, she talks for 10 “ and he said from me you like aunt Thera, you are also a talker....... my memories always cozy, talking and laughing that is my memory

Joanna Mangiante

January 11, 2019

Miss you mom




just a wee thing


so proud of winning a prize at school


on the way home from church