On a cool Sunday in Bismark, North Dakota, Loren was the second child born to Gerrit and Ethel Witzenburg on June 9, 1937. Due to the Depression Era economy, the family soon moved to Iowa to live with cousins. This may have been the beginning of Loren’s love for adventure.
The family lived in Otley and Loren and his siblings (Allen, Delwyn, Roger and JoAnn) attended the small Otley school. Formal education wasn’t Loren’s thing, so at 15 he got his first job at Maytag Manufacturing. A few years later, while riding around the square, he met the love of his life, Alma Hoksbergen. For their first date, he wanted to take her skating and impress her with his moves on the rink, but she was on crutches so they ended up at the Eddyville Drag Races.
The unlikely couple married on December 26, 1958 and less than a year later, Alma’s father died. This sparked Loren’s passion to care for widows and the fatherless. Several times a year, he would travel from Pella to Michigan with his brother-in-law to pick up their sister-in-law with Down Syndrome. He continued to display this overt kindness and generosity to those in need until his passing.
Loren and Alma loved children and were overjoyed when their oldest, Lynda, arrived. It took longer than they would have liked, but eventually Lisa followed and soon after David, Douglas, and Gregory came along. With a growing family and a long commute, Loren made the transition to Iowa Electric Light and Power (presently Alliant Energy). For decades, he worked for IE and knew everyone in town by name—most places in town, he would often be greeted with: “uh-oh, here comes trouble.” He tirelessly worked overtime so he could take his family on vacation every summer—sometimes when they arrived at an intersection, he would ask the carload: “Should I turn right or left?”
Loren was a hardworking Renaissance man who had a passion for anything with an engine; and was known for: experimenting with the newest gadget, tinkering with a fixer-upper, investing wisely, figuring out a quicker, better way, rebuilding and restoring vehicles and motorcycles, making time, giving advice, championing the underdog, and remaining faithful with what God gave him. He had a knack for investing in lives, was a friend to anyone who took time to listen, and always had a pocket full of Smarties to break the ice.
After his retirement in 1997, Loren was able to fulfill his childhood dream of driving bus. During the Summers, he drove children to Winsome Camp in Southern Iowa, and he especially enjoyed sneaking in rides for the local Amish—they were thrilled. He drove Angel Tree Campers to Lake View Camp, and encouraged the nervous campers to take the plunge into a new adventure. Often, he would anonymously slip extra cash in their spending account to make their experience over the top. It was during this time that McDonald’s became his new ‘office’.
Loren cherished each of his newborn grandbabies and would jockey to be the first to hold them. He joined the love of his life in being co-directors for ‘Cousins’ Camp’, which involved crafts, games, and of course a ride in the big bus or his ‘66 convertible. When the love of his life, passed away, he tried to attend events and games of his 24 grandchildren and when he could, loved on his two young great-grandchildren.
Loren came from a long line of storytellers who tell long stories. With his vivid imagination and love for adventure he would often be in the midst of a story and get so tickled with himself it would abruptly end with his raucous laughter and a sneeze or two. Loren liked a good joke, and was ornery. Even during his final hours he was quick-witted and had the nurses laughing and wondering if they were reading the correct medical records.
For several years, he valiantly battled various illnesses and in his final days said, “My body is like a rusted out car—there’s not much more they can do,” but his children assured him of the complete overhaul he would be getting. On December 16, 2019, his earthly adventure came to an end, he got a complete restoration and was welcomed into Heaven by a great cloud of witnesses. On earth, innumerable friends and family are left to cherish his legacy.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Loren Witzenburg, please visit our floral store.
Lake View Camp
P.O. Box 836, Pella IA 50219
Winsome Bible Camp