September 16, 2014
10:30 A.M., Saturday, September 20, 2014
Second Christian Reformed Church
Beginning at 12:00 noon, Friday, September 19, 2014
with family present 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. at the
Second Christian Reformed Church
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, MEMORIALS MAY BE GIVEN TO
Pella Christian Grade School
216 Liberty St.
Pella, IA 50219
The late Wilbur Stursma, The late Pete Van Weelden
The late John Van Weelden
Children: The late Larry (Joy Eklofe) Stursma
Kevin (Brenda) Stursma – Pella, Iowa
Beverly (Fred) Rietveld – Pella, Iowa
Sharon (Steve) Flaherty – El Paso, Texas
Laura (Dave) Cleveland – Fraser, Colorado
November 6, 1930 - September 16, 2014
Ruth Ellen (Stursma) Van Weelden was born November 6, 1930 to the Reverend Leonard and Reca (Setsma) Vermeer in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Ruth's father baptized her in the Protestant Reformed Church and she frequently said it was not always easy being a preacher's daughter. Ruth was the oldest of 5 children. The family moved frequently serving many churches in Illinois, Michigan, California, and Iowa. She graduated from Pella Christian High School in 1948 and followed her family out to California where she taught school in Redlands and then married Wilbur Stursma on June 20, 1950. Ruth started her new life on the farm southeast of Pella where they were blessed with 5 children: Larry, Kevin, Beverly, Sharon, and Laura. Those early years were filled with gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, baking buns and cinnamon rolls, cooking large daily meals, and serving "coffee time" to neighbors and friends. Her children fondly remember the weekly letters from her mother Reca and the many letters she wrote back to her family in Colorado. The family also treasures the entries she wrote in her diary almost every day during the last 65 years. Ruth enjoyed playing piano and organ for many churches in Leighton, Oskaloosa and Pella and worked as secretary for 17 years at the Pella Christian Grade School. In 1982 Ruth and Wilbur moved from the farm to Pella where they enjoyed hours of laughter and fun with friends and family until Wilbur's sudden death on May 17, 1987. Ruth kept busy working at PCGS and traveling with friends. Ruth met and married Pete Van Weelden in 1991. Pete was by mom's side during Larry's extended illness and death in 1992. Ruth's faith and strength during this difficult time was evident to all who knew her. After the loss of Pete, Ruth married John Van Weelden and they enjoyed fourteen years of visiting family, traveling to Arizona to escape the Iowa winters, and many games of dominoes.
Ruth is survived by her sister Fran (Kerwin) Van Wyhe of Denver, CO and two sisters-in-law, Erma Stursma from Pella and Laurell Vermeer from Brighton, CO. Ruth was preceded in death by husbands' Wilbur Stursma (1987), Pete Van Weelden (1995), and John Van Weelden (2011), her son Larry Stursma, siblings Jean, Harold, and Leonard, sister-in-law Tressa Vander Schaaf, niece Bonnie (Vander Schaaf) Forde, and brothers-in-law Marvin Vander Schaaf and John Stursma.
Family's favorite memories include: hours of mom enjoying the swimming pool at the farm and beaches of North Carolina; special vacations with her grandchildren; donut holes and lollipops; Saturday tacos and game night; and mom's insistence that her kids would not be allowed to watch TV without snapping beans, folding clothes, or peeling potatoes for those famous "Sunday" potatoes.
After a stroke in 2008 and a broken hip the next year Ruth faced new challenges. Her last years were spent doing countless word searches, reading novels and playing piano at Hilltop and the Cottages.
Ruth's servant heart was a living testimony of Christ's love. We rejoice with her today knowing that she has been reunited with her loved ones in heaven.
Larry Stursma (deceased) (Joy Eklofe) of Pella, Iowa
Tate and Lisa Stursma
Kevin and Brenda (Carpenter) Stursma of Pella, Iowa
Beverly and Fred Rietveld of Pella, Iowa
Jessica and Barrett Bogan
Sharon and Steve Flaherty of El Paso, Texas
Laura and Dave Cleveland of Fraser, Colorado