Pella Chronicle


May 14, 2014

Wilma Van Zee

Pella — Wilma Louisa Wanders was a daughter of John and Grace Van Roekel Wanders. She was born on July 3, 1918, near Tracy, Iowa. Wilma attended the Union Grade School west of Tracy and made profession of her faith at the Tracy Christian Reformed Church in Tracy.

As a young girl Wilma worked outside the home doing housework and child care. Wilma met John Van Zee at a young people’s picnic at the Bellefountain Park near Tracy, sponsored by the Tracy Christian Reformed Church. After their three years of courtship they were united in marriage on October 22, 1941, by the Rev. Herman S. Koning, at the home of her parents. John was inducted into the United States Army on April 1, 1942.

Wilma accompanied him to various states throughout his tour of duty during World War II  and in September, 1943, he was shipped overseas to Europe.  John was awarded five battle stars and a purple heart decoration for wounds during the “Battle of the Bulge” and was discharged in September, 1945.

Wilma and John moved  to a farm four miles southeast of Pella, Iowa following his discharge where they raised their three children: Joyce Elaine, who was born while he was over seas,  Allen Henry and Terry Duane. While the children were in school Wilma worked at Central College and at the President’s home for 10 years. John became a rural letter carrier and a city carrier while continuing to farm as well. In 1962 they moved into Pella. John retired from the U.S Postal Service in 1980 and from farming in 1987.

Wilma and John moved into a duplex in 1993 and while there they enjoyed seeing and listening to sports and traveling. John passed away on October 14, 2004. Wilma enjoyed playing the piano, crocheting, and playing cards.

Her greatest joy in life was supporting and observing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their activities. She worked as a volunteer in the snack bar at the Pella Community Hospital, drove cars for Kingma Motors, and was a member of the Helping Hand Mission Society working for funerals and weddings at the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella.

On Tuesday afternoon, April 29, 2014, she passed away at the Hospice of Pella Comfort House in Pella at the age of 95 years.

Those who will cherish her memory are three children and their families including 7 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren Joyce and Alvin Vos of Endwell, New York, Carolyn (Allen Van Zee) and Bill Heethuis of Caledonia, Michigan   , Terry and Ladonna Van Zee of Pella.

Wilma leaves only a sister-in-law, Trudy (Clarence) Van Zee of Pella, Iowa. She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 63 years, John R. Van Zee; her son, Allen H. Van Zee who passed away on March 29, 1992, at the age of just 45 years; a great-grandson, Nicholas McCannon in 2006; her parents: John and Grace Wanders; her sister, Catherine and her husband, Marion Wichhart and her brother, William Wanders and his wife, Nellie; her parents-in-law:  Henry J. and Anna Huigen Van Zee; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Regina (Van Zee) and Richard  Steenhoek, Jennie (Van Zee) and Henry J. Roozeboom, Edna Van Zee, and Clarence P. (Bud) Van Zee.

Funeral services were held on Monday, May 5, 2014 at the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella.  Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. 

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