Edith Wilma Van Zee, daughter of Jacob and Emma (Boot) Spoelstra, was born October 23, 1930, near Leighton, Iowa. She was the fourth of five children.
In the early years, her parents rented the farms where they lived. Her family lived in the Peoria area when she was a baby. They were members of the Peoria Christian Reformed Church at that time. The family then moved to just west of Pella when Edith was young. She attended Cherry Grove, Flint Ridge and Pleasant Grove Schools. As a teenager, Edith and her family moved west of Leighton. While living there, she graduated from eighth grade.
In 1951, her parents bought the family farm north of Oskaloosa near New Sharon. Edith attended Bethel Christian Reformed Church. Edith lived there until 1953 when her parents retired. They moved to Pella at the corner of Franklin and East 3rd street across from Trinity Church. Edith and her parents were charter members of Second Christian Reformed Church. She remained a member there for the rest of her life and served as a Sunday school teacher, and was a member of the Ladies Bible Study.
Edith met her future husband, John, around 1950 and like many young people back then and in decades to follow, it was around the Pella square. John had borrowed his dad’s 1935 Chevy and was cruising around the square. Edith and her best friend, Sarah, were walking around the block when Edith caught John’s eye. So he pulled over to talk to the girls and they started dating.
Things were on hold when John was drafted into the Army in March of 1952. He went to Camp Gordon in Georgia for basic training before being sent overseas to Germany. Edith and her parents went to Georgia to visit John before he was shipped out to Germany. John was honorably discharged and returned home February 17, 1954. Edith stayed with her parents and worked for a while at the Pella Overall Factory awaiting his return.
On March 3, 1954, John and Edith were married at her parents’ home in Pella. They rented a farm by Monroe for one year. They had no indoor plumbing or electricity. They then rented a farm from J.B. Grandia, the first 3-story brick house on Highway 163, past the county line road. While living here, John and Edith welcomed two children, Janice Elaine and James Byron. The family lived there until March 1967, when they moved to a farm by Leighton. Edith got her driver’s license in her early 40’s and she learned on the farm by driving in the fields being instructed by John and Jan. They raised cattle, hogs, chickens, and milked some cows. They had a large garden which they shared and canned with Edith’s parents.
In 1984, they moved to their current home in Pella as Jim took over the farm. Edith cut lace for Heritage Lace which she did for many years. Edith enjoyed sewing, crocheting, and canning and baking. She loved being outside working in her vegetable and flower gardens.
Edith and John enjoyed participating in societies and functions at church, in the community and visiting with friends. They took vacations with friends to Florida and Mississippi. They traveled overseas to Italy, Ireland, and to Hawaii for their 25th wedding anniversary. In later years, they took day tours in the state. Every year, with the exception of the last few years, they would get together with family on a long weekend and take a mini-vacation and just relax.
Edith went to a care facility in December 2017, due to her Parkinson’s disease, where she stayed until her death.
John and Edith feel God has blessed them for the life they have had and their nearly 67 years of marriage.
Those left to cherish her memory are her husband John and their family:
Jan (and the late Don) Pokorney
Dennis and Amy Killoren
Alex, Sarah, Tyler, Ryan
Jim and Bev Van Zee
Sara Van Zee
Kimmy and Zach Marsh
Maddy Van Zee, baby boy and baby girl Marsh
Edith was preceded in death by her parents, and her siblings: Cornelius (Elvera) Spoelstra, Arie (Wilma) Spoelstra, Harold (Freda) Spoelstra, and a younger sister who died in infancy.
To send flowers to Edith's family, please visit our floral store.
Pella Christian Schools
Pella IA 50219