Johanna was the eighth of ten children born to Cornelius and Johanna Henrietta (Vande Kieft) Stam, on August 14, 1925.
She grew up in the Tracy and Beacon areas on the farm. When she got the cows for milking time she would take her harmonica along and learned to play it. After 8th grade she stayed home to help her mother. When she was 16, she worked at the Overall Factory in Oskaloosa.
She married William De Graaf on June 8, 1949. They moved to a farm by Prairie City where he was from. They had two children, Joan and Gerald and then moved five miles southeast of Pella, in 1954, where David, Larry and Ruth were born. She helped milk the cows and did the chores. She raised many broilers for family and also sold some. In December of 1968, they moved west of Leighton on another farm. She always had a large garden and did a lot of canning and freezing. Neighbors and salesmen would drop in and enjoy her fresh baked goods (especially cinnamon rolls and home-made bread). William died on July 17, 1985. After harvest she moved to their home in Pella. She began working at Fair Haven.
On November 1, 1989, she married Gerald Van Der Wiel. They had a great ten years together and moved to the Manor just before he passed away on December 12, 1999. She continued working at Fair Haven in the kitchen and cleaned in the Manor until the age of 85. After breaking her hip in August of 2014, she became a resident of The Cottages in February of 2015. She was lovingly cared for there until she passed away on November 16, 2019.
Johanna was a precious gift from God. She was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother who lived out the Fruits of the Spirit in her daily life. She was resilient and always kept a positive attitude, even during difficult times in her life. Johanna had a strong faith and love for the Lord. Her wish for everyone she came in contact with was “for you to accept Christ as your Savior early in life and put your faith and trust in Him. You can then experience the peace of God’s love.”
Johanna is survived by two daughters and three sons: Joan (Larry) Pleima, Gerald De Graaf, David De Graaf, Larry (Judith) De Graaf and Ruth (Donavan) Van Wyk, two step-sons Robert and Marvin (Kristy) Van Der Wiel, step-daughter Lois Carter, and their families, nine grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren with one on the way; she is also survived by her step siblings-in-law.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband William De Graaf, her second husband Gerald Van Der Wiel, her five brothers: Frank, Henry, Gerrit, Marion and Albert and their spouses; her four sisters: Cornelia, Margaret, Alida and Janet and their spouses; and her daughters-in-law: Margery and Sharon De Graaf.
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