Esther Marie De Jong was born May 25, 1923, the eighth of nine children born to Peter G. and Antonetta (Dykstra) De Jong. Esther spent her childhood years on the family Century Farm north of Leighton, Iowa, attending Ebenezer Reformed Church of Leighton and graduating from Black Oak No. 6 Country Grade School. Esther worked on the family farm until 1954 when she began work at Rolscreen Company in Pella.
Esther was united in marriage to Leonard Vande Lune on January 11, 1957 at the Trinity Reformed Church in Pella where Esther was a charter member. Leonard and Esther were parents to three beautiful daughters: Sandra Kay, Cynthia Lee, and Lori Ann. The family farmed near Pella and Monroe, Iowa until 1968 when Esther and Leonard purchased land near Otley, Iowa, and started a dairy farming operation. Esther and Leonard ran the dairy farm until 1988, and she also worked in Pella at Central College and Strawtown Inn. Esther and Leonard relocated to Pella in 1995, where they resided together until Leonard’s death on October 23, 2002, at the age of 77 years. Esther was a resident of Hilltop Manor for five years, and was cared for in her final days at Hospice of Pella Comfort House where she passed away on February 21, 2013, at the age of 89 years.
Esther was never idle. She played a variety of musical instruments expertly despite no formal training. Esther’s forte’ was the organ and playing songs of faith; in her later years entertaining her fellow residents at Hilltop Manor. Esther was a remarkable baker and cook, decorating cakes for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions while ensuring the family pantry was always stocked with a variety of home canned and frozen staples. Esther was particularly renown for her homemade potato salad, Dutch letters, and a wide variety of casseroles.
Most important to Esther was her family and faith. A household of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren provided great joy to Esther. Esther was especially close to her sisters and brother, spending lots of “coffee times” together and enjoying each others company.
In addition to numerous friends, family members who will cherish her memory as a loving and caring mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are:
Sandy K. and Fred Van Den Broek of Otley, Cindy L. and Gary Moffet of Otley, Lori A. and Tom Thompson of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Of her original family Esther leaves one sister, Charlotte De Jong of Pella and her brother, Gilbert De Jong of Leighton; and her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Marvin and Mary Lou Vande Lune, Shirley (Vande Lune) and Joe Schutte of Pella. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard Vande Lune; her parents, Peter and Antonetta De Jong; five sisters and their husbands: Pearl and Merle Van Steenis, Clara De Jong, Nina De Jong, Mabelle and Russell Van Arkel, Grace and Peter De Hamer, Ada De Jong, and sister-in-law, Dorothy (Gilbert) De Jong; her parents-in-law, William and Lena (Vander Wiel) Vande Lune; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Gertrude (Vande Lune) and Gert Van Dyke, Ruth (Vande Lune) and Merle Kallemyn, Frances (Vande Lune) and Ernest Van Haaften, Wilbert G. and Genevieve Vande Lune.
Esther had been an active, faithful member of the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella where she volunteered her time. She devoted her life with an interest and a concern for her children, 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren and provided for their needs with a labor of love and was a friend to all.
Funeral services were held on Monday, February 25, 2013 at the First Christian Reformed Church. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.