Henrietta Nielsen was born to Henry and Genevieve (Flemming) Nielsen, on December 24, 1925, in Boycourt, Kansas. The Nielsen family moved to Iowa in 1927 to a farm on the South Skunk River bottom near Pella, Iowa. This is where Henrietta spoke of her fond memories as a child spent with her family, and her grandparents who lived a short distance down the road. Henrietta attended the Richland Independent School through the 8th grade.
A few years later she entered the working world in Pella, first at the Pella Overall Factory and later, the Rolscreen Company. It was during this time she met her future husband, Willard Glen De Jong.
Henrietta and Willard were joined in marriage at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church near Galesburg, Iowa on December 20, 1946 where she became and remained a lifelong member. To this union two sons were born: Bryce Eldon and Barry Eugene. Most of Henrietta’s life was spent in Sully, Iowa where she enjoyed her life as wife, mother and homemaker, while supporting her husband in their family business. Willard started in the trucking business with a milk route and in 1968 became the owner and operator of Grinnell Transport, Inc. He was actively involved in the business at the time of his sudden death on October 28, 1976, at the age of 50 years.
In 1976, after selling the family business, Henrietta began working at Pella Corporation and remained working there until her retirement in 1991. Prior to her retirement she was still cleaning at the bank in Sully. Henrietta’s retirement years were spent with her family and friends in the community, church and the surrounding area. She loved to visit and entertain over coffee, her homemade meals and especially her homemade pies. In 2008, Henrietta moved to the Newton, Iowa area with her son, Barry, and her granddaughter, Tessa De Jong. She continued to share her love and gifts as a mother and grandmother.
Henrietta was called to her heavenly home on Thursday, March 14, 2013, at the age of 87 years. She will always be remembered for her trust and faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and her devotion and love for her family and friends.
She is survived by her son, Barry De Jong of Newton and four grandchildren: Chad Hoffman and his wife, Laura; CJ Derlein-Hoffman and his partner, Chad; Shane Hoffman and his fiancé, April Bowen and Tessa De Jong, along with their mother, Tammi De Jong of Newton. She also leaves two brothers: Harold Nielsen and his wife, Leona, of Chariton, Iowa and Robert Nielsen of Knoxville, Iowa; a sister-in-law, Erma M. (Donald) Tuinstra of Pella; and many nieces and nephews. Henrietta was preceded in death by her husband, Willard De Jong; her son, Bryce De Jong on October 28, 1996, at the age of 44 years; her parents, Henry and Genevieve Nielsen; two brothers: Carl Nielsen and Dale Nielsen; her parents-in-law, Bert E. and Nellie (Paltzer) De Jong and step-father-in-law, Clifford Irish; a sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law: Leona L. (De Jong) and Bernie Menninga and Donald Tuinstra.
Funeral services were held on Monday, March 18, 2013 at the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church at Sully, Iowa. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.