LeRoy Van Zee
LeRoy Allen Van Zee was born near Otley on Dec. 30, 1930, to Bertha (Beyer) and William Martin Van Zee. He grew up near Prairie City and Monroe. LeRoy attended the Prairie City Christian Reformed Church and graduated from Monroe High School in 1948. After graduation he helped his father on the farm and then was employed by the Maytag Company in Newton. LeRoy enlisted in the United States Air Force in January 1951, and was sent to Glendale, Calif.
He returned to Iowa to marry Ilda Lou Mol at the First Reformed Church in Sully, on Nov. 13, 1951. Three children were born to bless this union: Douglas Scott, Melody Sue and Jill Ann.
LeRoy and Ilda Lou moved to Denver, Colo., while LeRoy was stationed at Lowry Air Base. They attended the First Reformed Church in Denver while Rev. Ralph Menning was the pastor.
Through his preaching and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, LeRoy accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. He made his confession of faith at the First Reformed Church in Sully before he left for Okinawa in September 1952.
While in Okinawa he served his country as a propeller mechanic on B29 Bombers during the Korean Conflict. While he was overseas their son, Doug, was born in January 1953. LeRoy returned to the United States in March 1954 and was stationed in Rantoul, Ill., until his discharge in December 1954.
Following his military service, LeRoy joined his father, Bill, in the Oliver farm equipment dealership in Pella, where he worked as a tractor mechanic and machinery repairman. When his father retired in 1972, LeRoy bought the business at 1205 Washington Street in Pella. He later built new facilities in 1983, one mile west of Pella, with his son, Doug, as a partner. They sold the business in 1992 when LeRoy retired after 37 years in the farm equipment business.