elmar Dale Westra was the sixth of nine children born to Peter P. and Della (Post) Westra. He was born on February 23, 1933, at home near Sheldon, Iowa. His early years were spent on farms east of Sheldon and northwest of Hull, Iowa, attending two country schools. After graduating from Hull Public High school in 1950 he attended Northwestern Junior College at Orange City, Iowa. Del was inducted into active military service in September 1952. Most of his military service was spent in Korea and Japan, where he attained the rank of Sergeant and received a Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Following his discharge in September, 1954, he returned to Iowa and completed a BA degree at Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa. Del married Margaret In’tveld on June 14, 1956. They shared the next 57 years together and were blessed with six children: Gregory Lynn, Randal Dean, Brian David, Cheryl Marie, Curtis Dale and Lisa Ann.
Del served as an administrator and teacher in six different Christian schools from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Lynden, Washington. He also served at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, teaching life sciences between 1964 and 1971. While a teacher and administrator, he received an MA in Elementary Education at Western Michigan University and a MS in Natural Science from South Dakota State University. Del and Margaret moved to Pella, Iowa in 1997. After retiring from education, he began working in real estate, and owned an appraisal firm which proved to be very rewarding in various ways. Del, a sinner saved by grace, passed away on Saturday evening, January 18, 2014, at the Pella Regional Health Center in Pella at the age of 80 years.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Margaret, and their six children, 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren Greg and Patti (Nieuwsma) Westra of Oskaloosa, Phillip and Michelle Westra, Levi, Hannah, Steven Westra, Randy and Eileen (Graber) Westra of Pella, Christopher and Katie Westra, Michelle and Jacob Parr, Brian Westra of Eugene, Oregon, Cheryl and Brent Lanser of Pella, Mike and Amy Lanser, Rebekah, Sofia, Kathryn, Mindy and Ryan Wissink, Aubrey, Emma, Lilia, Marcus Lanser, Curt Westra of Carbondale, Illinois, Patrick Westra, Megan Westra, Lisa and Greg Walters of Pella, Mason Walters.
He is also survived by his brother, Jerry Westra and his wife, Jane of The Villages, Florida; sisters: Ruth and her husband, Gerrit Horstman of Sioux Center, Iowa, Pearl (Fred) Clark of Bakersfield, California, Joan and her husband, John Roth of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; sisters-in-law: Johanna (Peter) Westra, and Johanna (Sidney) Westra of Hull, Iowa, and Cornelia (In’tVeld) Van Grouw of Inwood, Iowa; as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Della Westra; his sister, Johanna Elizabeth Westra; his brothers: Thys (Betty), Peter Roy and Sidney Westra; his parents-in-law, Bert and Gertrude (Van Beek ) In'tVeld; two nephews who died in infancy and nephews, Jeff Sharlow and Cal Horstman; and nieces: Jane In’tVeld, Pam Hillyer, and Valisha Clark-Hunt.
Del was a member of the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa and the Van Veen-Van Hemert American Legion Post No. 89 of Pella. His hobbies included reading, refinishing furniture, and manual labor such as home renovations and remodeling.
Services were held on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.