Virginia Martha Kempkes was born on January 17, 1922, in Pella, Iowa, the first daughter of Tunis and Jeanette De Vries Kempkes. She attended Pella Public Schools, graduating from Pella High School in 1939. She was an attendant to the Pella Tulip Queen for 2 years, in 1939 and 1940. V
irginia attended Central College in Pella, and graduated in 1943, majoring in English. After graduating, she taught high school English for three years, one year at Adel, Iowa and two years in Panora, Iowa. She became engaged to John Paul Ver Meer in 1941, while he was in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in Europe during World War II. John was discharged from the service in the spring of 1946 and started working at Wormhoudt and Kempkes, the men’s clothing store in Pella owned by her father and her uncle.
Virginia and John were married on her parents’ anniversary on August 29, 1946. They were married in the Kempkes back yard, which Mr. Kempkes had detailed to perfection for the occasion. Their son, Donald Paul, was born the next year, and four years later, daughter, Martha Jane, was born. While the children were young, Virginia stayed home taking care of her children.
Following her father's death in 1965, Virginia and John purchased the clothing store. Virginia worked in the clothing store with John as both a salesperson and bookkeeper. Virginia and John continued in the clothing store until 1982, when they sold the store to Dave Sutphen.
After retiring, they spent winters in California, and then later in Arizona, in order to be closer to their children. Virginia broke her hip in 2006, which ended their winter travels. They lived almost fifty years in their home on north Broadway Street in Pella before moving to Vriendschap Village in 2010. One of the best times of each retirement day was at 5:00 p.m. when the infamous "quiet hour" began, particularly when they could sit outdoors and fully appreciate nature.
Virginia was a member of the Second Reformed Church, sang in the choir, and taught Sunday School for many years. On Thursday, March 20, 2014, she passed away at the Pella Regional Health Center in Pella at the age of 92 years.
She enjoyed being a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and is survived by her husband of 67 years; John P. Ver Meer of Pella, Iowa
Son: Don Ver Meer and his wife, Shellie of Laguna Hills, California, Daughter: Marti and her husband, Joel Vandevoort of Las Vegas, Nevada, 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Of her original family she leaves her sister, Elisabeth Van Horn of Salem, Virginia; and sister-in-law, Joan (Ver Meer) and husband, Rev. Carl Vogelaar of Santa Rosa, California. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, Tunis and Jeanette Kempkes; her brother, Philip Kempkes and her sister, Mary Kempkes; her parents-in-law, Paul and Jennie Vander Ploeg Ver Meer; brother-in-law Harold Ver Meer and his wife, Jennie; and sister-in-law Dorothy (Ver Meer) and her husband, Bob Qualls. Services were held on Friday, April 4, 2014 at the Second Reformed Church in Pella. Van Dyk – Duven was in charge of arrangements.