Amy Lynn Van Roekel was born January 19, 1970, to Ralph and Walleta (De Reus) Van Roekel as the youngest child of five in Oskaloosa, Iowa. When Amy was just 2 ½ years old, her mother unexpectedly passed away, leaving Amy’s care to her father and older siblings. Just before Amy turned five, Ralph remarried Lillian Stursma, beginning a new chapter for Amy with a move to Pella, and the addition of three new step-siblings to her family. She lived with her parents until age 35, when she moved in with her step-sister Brenda, and her husband David Van Vark, who were blessed to care for Amy until 2017. At age 47, Amy transitioned to Crystal Heights in Oskaloosa, for the additional nursing care she needed in her final three years of life.
For most of her life, Amy was either a student or a workshop employee at the Christian Opportunity Center in Pella. Highlights from her working years include the many special relationships she had with people at COC and her daily trip to the pop machine for her favorite Pepsi treat.
Amy had a lifelong love for Jesus. She was a baptized member of the Pella Church of the Nazarene. She loved to highlight her Bible and take notes during the sermons. She enjoyed singing, playing her tambourine, and listening to favorite Christian music groups, especially the Gaithers. Amy was not shy about telling others about Jesus whenever she had the chance – she loved an audience!
Other favorite things in Amy’s life included spending time with her family, visiting good friends Julie and Gary Hutcheson of Oskaloosa, going out to eat – anytime, anywhere – decorating her monthly bulletin board, riding her 3-wheeled bike around town, enjoying all things Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables, collecting angels, generously giving gifts and cards at Christmas to all her loved ones (over 65 gifts were purchased by her last year, using almost her entire year’s COC wages), Tulip Timing in her Dutch costume, having her hair and nails done, and celebrating special events – especially with pizza, pop and home-made ice cream!
And for Amy, life was a special event. She lived life with joy and exuberance. She changed the lives of those around her for the better. She was an encourager and a blessing to everyone she knew. She overcame the odds and accomplished the “impossible” through the love of her friends, family and the Lord.
Those left to cherish her memory are her father and step-mother Ralph and Lillian Van Roekel, and her siblings and step-siblings:
Katherine and Galen Howsare of Urbandale, Iowa
Jane and Merle Appelgate of Marshalltown, Iowa
David and Cathleen Van Roekel of New Castle, Colorado
Brenda and David Van Vark of Pella, Iowa
Carol and Jim Oliver of Pella, Iowa
Doug and Sandy Stursma of Bella Vista, Arkansas
She was preceded in death by her mother Walleta Van Roekel and her brother Bruce Van Roekel.
For those attending the graveside service, please feel free to bring a chair and wear a mask.
To send flowers to Amy's family, please visit our floral store.
Christian Opportunity Center in Pella
1553 Broadway St., Pella IA 50219
Hospice of Pella