Pella Chronicle

April 25, 2014

Gerri Dykhuis

The Chronicle

Pella — Geraldine Mae Veldhuizen was the youngest of four children born to Jacob H. and Marie Van Zee Veldhuizen.

She was born on March 3, 1939, in Prairie Township near Taintor, Iowa. Gerri attended a country school through the 5th grade before moving to the Peoria Christian Grade School in Peoria, Iowa where she was president of the 8th grade class. At 13 years old, Gerri and her family moved to a new home on North Main Street in Pella, Iowa.  While she was in high school she worked at Carpenter’s Drug Store serving ice cream.

She graduated from Pella Christian High School in Pella, Iowa with the Class of 1957 and was employed at Harry Fitch Photography in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Gerri continued correspondence with her high school sweetheart, Arnold Dykhuis, with frequent letters after he was inducted into the United States Army. On April 3, 1959, they were united in marriage at the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella.

Following their marriage they began farming north of Pella where they raised their four children: Linda Kay, Debora Lynn, Jeanne Marie and Arlen Glenn. She became a colon cancer survivor after diagnosis and treatment at the age of 39. Arnold enjoyed farming and was doing just that when he passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 48 on July 22, 1982.

Gerri continued living on their farm and pursued other employment to supplement her family. From 1988 to 2008, she worked as a certified nursing assistant and unit secretary at the Pella Community Hospital. While at the hospital, she was known as the most genuine and caring person by her colleagues and patients. She always had a smile and never a negative word. Gerri enjoyed spending time with her 16 grandchildren and attending their various activities.

Her children and grandchildren fondly remember spending time with Gerri in the kitchen. From dandelions to roses, she always had flowers on the table. Family meals and devotions were a special part of daily life; Gerri was constantly encouraging her family in their faith. She was a huge supporter of 4-H, participating as a child, then as a parent, and later as a group leader. Gerri was a joyful, generous, and kind woman who was loved by many. Her sociable personality allowed her to enjoy card club with dear friends for over 40 years. She also loved going to lunch, traveling, shopping, and making crafts with her friends. The church and her faith in God were central parts of her life.

She was baptized in the Peoria Christian Reformed Church at Peoria and was a member of the First Reformed Church in Pella. Gerri taught Sunday School, served as a Pastoral Care Elder, was a member of the Hannah Circle, and enjoyed singing in the choir. Gerri was the happiest on the farm and that is where she passed away at the age of 75 years.

Those who will cherish her memory are her four children and their families: Linda Groenendyk of Pella, Iowa; Deb and Tom Anderson of Pella, Iowa; Jeanne and William Verhoef of Andover, Minnesota; Arlen and Kellie Dykhuis of Waukee, Iowa.  Of her original family leaves her brother, Henry Veldhuizen and his wife, Alma of Sully, Iowa; her sister-in-law, Henrietta (Leonard) Veldhuizen of Pella; along with the following sisters-in-law and brother-in-law: Mildred (Dykhuis) Boyd, Galen and Wilma Dykhuis, and Shirley (Dykhuis) Van Rees all of Pella. She was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold; her parents, Jacob and Marie Veldhuizen; her brother, Leonard Veldhuizen and her sister, Gladys and her husband, Marvin Vander Molen; her parents-in-law, Andrew and Gora Steenhoek Dykhuis; and three brothers-in-law: Glenn Klein and Kenneth Van Rees. 

Gerri lived her life to the fullest and will be remembered for her incomparable generosity, hospitality, and ability to make all those around her feel loved and well cared for. Her life wholly represented what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  

Memorial Services were held on Friday, April 18, at First Reformed Church, Pella,  Interment preceded the services in the Oakwood Cemetery at Pella. 

In keeping with the family desires, memorial contributions in her memory may be designated for the Pella Sports Complex or Marion County 4-H. 

Van Dyk- Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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