Gilbert Creutzberg passed away at the Hebrew Home of Riverdale in the Bronx, New York, on April 2, 2020 at the age of 91. He died of natural causes, following a decline in his health.
Gil was born on 12 December 1928 in the Netherlands and was baptised Karel Amadeus Jelis Jan Gijsbert Creutzberg. His parents were Ds Hendrik Willem Creutzberg (Ds stands for Dominus and is the usual title for a Dutch pastor) and Adriana Jacoba Creutzberg-de Groot. He had one sister, Hanna. When he became a US citizen in 1971, he only kept the last name, translated to Gilbert.
He lived through the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, and his writings included a book, "The Mosaic" recounting his experiences and the remarkable stories of Creutzberg family members during the war. The Nazis destroyed his father's church building (the Duinoordkerk) to make way to the Atlantic Wall. It was suspected that the deviation of the route to encompass this building was a retaliation for the pastor’s refusal to allow a church wedding of an upper class national-socialist couple, which would have been converted into a pro-Nazi military manifestation. On the eve of the demolition, the parishioners managed to save a large stained glass window (the mosaic). This was then hidden in the wall of the International Court of Justice Palace and installed in the Kloosterkerk in the Hague after the war. In 2017, Gil presented a Dutch version of this book in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam
He migrated to the US in 1951 after he initially attended Utrecht University. He obtained a BA in psychology at New York University, a MA at New School University and advanced training at Columbia University. He served as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Inwood Community Services into his 80s where he counseled and helped many who suffered from addiction.
He loved to make music and posted many recordings of himself playing the piano and organ on YouTube. He had his own website and blogs, shared pictures of his many travels, zip-lining, swimming at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, and spent regular time with friends at his property in the Poconos.
Gil was a real Christian. He knew there was a place prepared for him by his Heavenly Father.
He was a beloved member of Christ Church Riverdale, where he served on the Music Committee and on occasion substituted for the organist and performed with fellow parishioners at services.
Gil is survived by his long-time friend Jose Rodriguez and by nieces, a nephew and cousins in the Netherlands.
There will be a memorial service at Christ Church Riverdale once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.