William Jan Prins

May 23, 1933February 3, 2019

William J Prins passed away at home in Houston on February 3rd, 2019 after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. Bill was born in The Netherlands in May, 1933. He was the middle of three children born to Hendrika and Jan Prins of Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Bill grew up in Eindhoven during WWII and his immediate family survived the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, but it left a permanent mark that gave him an amazing drive throughout his life to make the best life he could for his family, and left him with an unparalleled generosity of spirit. He tried to connect and listen to every person he met. Bill was someone who could strike up a meaningful conversation with anyone he met. No person was more or less deserving than another; an important lesson he passed on to his children and grandchildren. And of course, the War taught him to always keep the pantry full of food and buy doubles of everything!

Bill went to the Delft Technical University from 1950-1957 and earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then served for three years in the Royal Netherlands Army before joining Schlumberger in 1960. His first assignment was in Benghazi, Libya where he met the love of his life, Mary, and they were married in May, 1963. They first traveled to Iran, to an oilfield camp for their “honeymoon”. At another oilfield camp in Saudi Arabia in 1964, their son, Kevin, was born. The family moved to Australia in 1965 and then to The Netherlands where son, Taco, was born. Then it was off to Paris for a year before moving to Nigeria, where daughter, Vanessa, was born in 1970. Bill and Mary decided that the family would stay together and they would send the children to available schools in the countries wherever Bill’s job took them: Egypt in 1971, Indonesia in 1974, Singapore in 1979, France in 1980, Houston in 1982, England in 1989 and The Netherlands in 1993. Bill was always well respected by his staff and clients, as he was a strong and loyal supporter of his fellow engineers and clients. Early in his career Bill took a leading role in a huge increase in oil production in the Dutch North Sea and he was instrumental in finding and opening the base in Ijmuiden west of Amsterdam. He immensely enjoyed his career in the oil business; all the challenges it brought, all the people he met, and all the places he lived. After 39 successful years of service, Bill retired as a Vice President from Schlumberger in 1999.

Bill was an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He enjoyed numerous bird hunting trips with friends and family; always enjoying the company of the people and hunting dogs as much as the actual hunting. He enjoyed deep sea fishing as often as he could, and especially enjoyed a trip to Alaska. As a Dutchman he was a born sailor and taught all of his children to sail in the family’s favorite destination of Friesland. There were many adventurous family boat trips taken through the many lakes of Holland. When he was not spending time on the water, Bill was constantly battling the game of golf and played on courses all over the world. He organized many golf tournaments for clients and friends, and enjoyed rounds of golf with his children and grandchildren.

Bill had a love and appreciation of cars and planes that started at a young age. He loved planes and could identify most planes he saw, which was very helpful for his town during the War. He took this love of planes to heart and took flying lessons, which he greatly enjoyed. He owned many favorite cars, his MG and his Jag, throughout his life and owned every car magazine, watched every car show, and went to all car events he could go to. One of his favorite past times was to do research to help his friends buy new cars.

Bill’s sense of humor, love of practical jokes and imitation skills are well known and even famous in certain circles. He could fool almost anyone with his imitations, and successfully tricked his own family on numerous occasions. Upon their retirement, Bill and Mary settled in the US and spent a great deal of time with their children and grandchildren. It was a wonderful time and the grandchildren, Hunter, Noah, Connor, Hannah, Griffin, Logan, Evelyn and Maxwell were introduced to the fun and humor of “Opa.” All the grandchildren have their favorite Opa sayings, and every outing, every meal, every get together was more exciting with Opa there. Although the grandkids knew that an outing with Opa would take longer because of all of the interesting conversations that would happen along the way, they were always keen to spend time with him. Grandsons, Hunter and Noah, were raised by Bill and Mary from 2001 to 2010 after their dad, Kevin, suffered a stroke. They are so proud to count Opa as their best friend. After caring for the boys, Bill then took excellent and loving care of Mary as she suffered a long illness, even while he was also dealing with his own health concerns. We have all learned so many amazing and valuable lessons from Bill that we will cherish forever. None more important than to enjoy life with a full sense of adventure, a fun sense of humor and a heart full of love and generosity.

Bill is survived by his sister, niece and nephew and many dear family friends of The Netherlands; his three children and eight grandchildren of Portland, Oregon and Reno, Nevada; sister and brother in law, niece, nephew and great nephew of Bellingham, Washington; and many great friends made all over the globe by this amazing and memorable man. And last, but not least Bill's devoted and constant companion, His Highness Peanut (HHP). The family would like to thank all of the doctors, nurses and caregivers that took care of Bill, especially Dr. Robert Jackson and Martha. We would also like to thank Rosalba, Peanut's dedicated caregiver. In lieu of customary remembrances the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to: Cancer Research Institute and Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.


  • Bill is survived by his sister, niece and nephew and many dear family friends of The Netherlands; his three children and eight grandchildren of Portland, Oregon and Reno, Nevada; sister and brother in law, niece, nephew and great nephew of Bellingham, Washington; and many great friends made all over the globe by this amazing and memorable man. And last, but not least Bill's devoted and constant companion, His Highness Peanut (HHP).


  • Celebration of Life Service Thursday, February 21, 2019

William Jan Prins

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bill Boyles

February 19, 2019

Kevin, Vanessa, Taco,

There comes a time when the right words or phrases just will not come to mind so I will just deal with what does come forth. Like many of the others before me, Dortha and I had the great pleasure of knowing Bill (and Mary) for nearly 50 years. And since the "oil-field" is indeed a small world we wound up in a number of locations with them.

Bill was indeed a personality to recon with. Always the life the party or any other function. Never at a loss for words or some joke or prank, but always available to lend a hand. And of course, always ready for "let's have lunch".

Bill my friend, you will be missed. May you rest in piece.

Bill and Dortha Boyles

Jacqueline Hopkins

February 18, 2019

Mary and Bill moved across the from us on Briar Forest in Hudson Forest. We could not have asked for better neighbors.

Bill and my husband would enjoy going out for coffee and Mary and Bill were very supportive when my husband, Loyd died.

We were all able to share good memories and be there for each other through some hard times.
Jackie Hopkins

Jim Logar

February 12, 2019

I had the privilege of working for Bill, first in the mid-seventies in Indonesia and later in Houston. He had special talents, generosity and a deep spirit of friendship. He took the opportunity of making sure that when our paths crossed we would get together, even when it was at the same tailor's shop in Paris. Inge's and my lives were enhanced by Bill and Mary. We extend our condolences to you Kevin, Taco and Vanessa.

William O. Williams

February 11, 2019

To Kevin, Taco and Vanessa:

I first became acquainted with Bill and Mary in Gach Saran, Iran in 1962, just after they were married (I did not know this until recently). The next time (I now was married) was in 1970 in Lourenco Marques (Maputo), Mozambique and he and Mary were living in Johannesburg, South Africa. We visited their home on a canal in the Netherlands in the 70's and we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for several years at the same time as Bill did workwise. I visited several times with Bill in San Ramon, California in the late 80's.
We continued to laugh at Bill's stories, jokes and antics in Texas.
Kevin, Taco and Vanessa - it was an honor and a privilege to know your father for so many years.
Bill and Karina Williams

roger stehn

February 11, 2019

Alice & Roger Stehn

Dear Kevin, Taco,Sonja, Vanessa,And Matt
We first met the Prins family in 1971 in Egypt. Our relationship continued on with visits to the Haig and their eventual assignment in Houston where our children attended school togeather.Your family has been very dear friends of ours for over 45 years.

Our sympathy goes out to you in this loss. We will miss the calls from the sheriff !

Rick and Doris Spengler

February 9, 2019

It was our great luck to have known Bill and Mary since the mid 70’s in Jakarta Indonesia. Bill was a giant persona who hands down was one of the most memorable people we have had the luck and pleasure to know. It came as no surprise when he was the emcee of a Jakarta petroleum conference back in those days. Last Sunday when he passed there must have been a clap of thunder when the air rushed in to fill the vacuum caused by his passing.

Jean-Marc and Pamela Perraud

February 7, 2019

Pam and I will miss you, my friend.
We will miss your incredible Joie de Vivre, even in front of adversity,
We will miss your keen intellectual curiosity,
We will miss your warm and genuine interest in others,
Rest in Peace,
Pamela and Jean-Marc Perraud

Elizabeth Christian

February 7, 2019

My husband, Harry, and I met Bill and Mary in Cairo, Egypt. We later moved to Houston, TX, and Harry passed away in 2012. My deepest sympathy is with all the Prins family over the great loss of Bill.
Sincerely, Elizabeth "Betty" Christian and daughters, Susan and Sharon

Charles Konen

February 6, 2019

I first met Bill in Lagos, Nigeria in 1970 at a Schlumberger party. Our careers followed one another throughout the world. He and Mary were gracious hosts on several trips to the Netherlands and we reciprocated when he moved to Houston. We had numerous encounters in Africa, Europe and US in our relationship as client and sales representative.

He was a good friend and amiable host with numerous stories of the oil field.

Ike Herrick

February 6, 2019

Vanessa, Kevin and Taco

Bill and I have a long road of friendship, beginning 40+ years ago in Cairo Egypt and continuing to Texas.

Bill had a wonderful sense of humor and could jump start your day with a funny story---sometimes it was his interpretation of American politics. He was a Trumper and proud of it.

I tip my glass of Jenever (ugh like medicine) to Bill and Mary---May You Rest in Peace.

"It takes a long time to grow an old friend"-----We will miss you. Ike and Pinki Herrick


The liberation of Eindhoven