Pella Chronicle

January 11, 2013

Elva May Heerema

The Chronicle

Pella — Elva May Van Houweling was an only child of Albert B. and Nettie (Van Zante) Van Houweling. She was born on April 9, 1913, at Pella, Iowa. She was baptized at the Second Reformed Church where she remained a lifelong member. Elva May graduated from Pella Public High School with the Class of 1930 and then enrolled at Central College in Pella.  

While at Central College she and Martin John Heerema eloped to Moberly, Missouri to get married on June 30, 1933. Elva May graduated with a Mathematics Major in 1934 and remained a lifelong supporter of Central College. Elva May taught mathematics at Cumming High School in Cumming, Iowa for one year.  

In 1938 her husband, Mart, went into business with her father, A.B. Van Houweling, selling Chrysler products. Their first child, a son, Douglas Lee was born in 1938, and in 1940 their second son, Martin Bruce, was born. Mart was drafted into the United States Navy during World War II and following his discharge in 1945 he returned to the Van Houweling Garage.  Their third child, a daughter, Jane was born in 1948. Mart, an independent business man, eventually became a partner with the Pella Canning Factory where Elva May worked as the payroll manager and bookkeeper for eight years. Subsequently she became the manager of the clerical office and the post office at Central College.

Work and family were always a significant part of Elva May’s life. She was a member of the Pella City Band, having played the saxophone; was a member of P.E.O and a charter member of TTT; Reading Circle; and Central College and Second Reformed Church Ladies Auxiliaries. She taught Sunday School, was the Junior Choir Director and was a member of the Adult Choir from ages 14 to 66 years.

She was the first woman in Pella to be elected as an administrative elder in a local church west of the Mississippi River. She and Mart enjoyed ballroom dancing and Elva May enjoyed swimming, aerobics and playing bridge.

Mart and Elva May enjoyed almost 74 years of marriage together until he passed away on April 16, 2007, at the age of 95 years. Subsequent to his death Elva May became a resident at the Vriendschap Village where she resided until becoming a resident at Jefferson Place in December, 2011.

Elva May passed away there on Thursday morning, December 27, 2012, just prior to her 100th birthday.

Elva May is survived by her three children and their spouses, six grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. They and their families are:

Drs. Douglas L. and Nyla (Rozeboom) Heerema of Pella, IA / Columbus, OH, Kristen Lane Heerema of Baltimore, MO, Bret Douglas and Rebecca Heerema of Las Vegas, NV, Austin, Jeneke, Jolie and Asher Heerema, Anthony Heerema of Pella, Christopher and Monica Jane Heerema, M. Bruce and Sandra (Klein) Heerema of Pella, Julie and Jim Mueller of Pella, Madeline, Lindsey and Rachel Mueller, Martin Timothy and Kelly Heerema of Pella, Martin Brady, Gabrielle Heerema, Steven Robert and Victoria Heerema of Pella, Alexis, Logan Bruce and Jacob Heerema, Jane and Alan Epstein of Sedalia, CO / Tucson, AZ.

Elva May was preceded in death by her husband, Martin J. Heerema; her parents, A. B. and Nettie Van Houweling; her parents-in-law, Pieter and Jeneke (Vander Beek) Heerema and Dena (Peter) Heerema; and all of her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Robert and Viola Heerema, Fred and Polly Heerema, Ralph and Frances Heerema, Bernice and Charles Vander Ploeg, Ruth and Darwin Squibb. Elva May and her late husband, Mart, were generous supporters of the Pella community, which they loved and appreciated.

Memorial services were held on Monday, December 31, 2012 at the Second Reformed Church in Pella.  Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.


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