Pella — Dawn Gay Ter Louw was born on March 22, 1957, to Donald and Donna Cowman Visser. She grew up outside of Pella and graduated from Pella High School in 1975. Her parents say she was the perfect child.
On July 18, 1975, Gay was united in marriage with Arvin Ter Louw at the First Baptist Church in Pella. They were blessed with three children: Jessica, Brad, and Annie. Gay and Arvin raised their family on farms in the Prairie City and Monroe area before moving to Pella in 2003. Gay stayed at home with her children for many years before working at the Pella Window Store, Pella Middle School, and Strawtown Inn. In 1999, Gay and Arvin opened Pella Rental and Sales. Gay moved to working full-time with her family at the rental store in 2004, keeping Arvin, Brad, and Annie in line.
Gay and her family loved spending time together. Her family often requested some of her specialties: homemade pizza, cinnamon rolls, scotcharoos, and caramel popcorn. She was a phenomenal mom, playing with her kids outside on the farm, taking the family to drive-in movies, and planning special holiday and birthday celebrations. Several short trips and a few longer vacations sparked special memories. Family gatherings were weekly occurrences. Gay laughed often with her family, and she enjoyed time with both her immediate and extended families.
Gay became a grandma in 2007 after “patiently” waiting for many years. Over the next six years, she became Grandma to five boys: Gavin, Emery, Elliot, Jackson, and Harrison. Her grandsons were joys in her life. She was made to be a grandma. Gay tried her best not to spoil them but was unsuccessful. The boys took turns staying overnight at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and they kept close tabs on whose turn was next.
Gay was a member of Third Reformed Church. She worked with youth, served in the coffee bar, and volunteered as a funeral lady. Gay loved Jesus, and her faith never stopped growing. In the last year, she was determined to read the Old Testament, and her heart was pierced with how much God loved her. Gay’s faith was lived out by her love and actions. It was not silent.
Gay went home to heaven on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at her home in Pella surrounded by her family at just 56. She left behind many who loved her: her husband, Arvin; her three children and their spouses: Jessica and Iwan Williams, Brad and Erikka Ter Louw, and Annie and Ben Helland; five grandsons: Gavin, Elliot, and Harrison Williams, Emery Ter Louw, and Jackson Helland; her parents, Donald and Donna Visser; her brothers: Randy and Sue Visser and Gary Visser both of Pella; and her sisters Sharla and Mike Brooks of Tracy and Lisa and Brian Metcalf of Pella.
She was preceded in death by her parents-in-law, Apollas and Dorothy Ter Louw and her brother-in-law, Dave Kruse.
A memorial service was held Monday, March 24, 2014, at the Third Reformed Church in Pella. Burial took place at the t’Lam Cemetery. The Garden Chapel handled the arrangements.