By Justice Eileen C. Moore
Justice Eileen C. Moore
He’s tall, looks impressive, somewhat commanding and always dignified. Those who know him appreciate his grand and wonderful personality, full of good cheer and exuberance. He is our court’s Santa Claus each year, handing out presents at the holiday party. Who is this man? He is the Honorable William F. Rylaarsdam, and his is an extraordinary story of American immigration and success.
He started out in a little village in Holland as Willem Rijlaarsdam, named after his father’s father as was the custom. None of his grandparents on either side went beyond the third grade, although his parents made it through the sixth grade. He still remembers the smith’s shop with its wooden stall for farm horses to be fitted with horseshoes and the smell when the red-hot shoe was pressed against a horse’s hoof.