Farming Rural 07

Irvin Vander Leest

February 8, 1942 ~ May 6, 2020 (age 78)


Private funeral services for Irvin Vander Leest, age 78, of Sully, will be held at 11:00 am, Monday, May 11, at the First Reformed Church in Sully.  Immediate family only will be able to be in attendance. The church will provide hand sanitizers and please use a mask at your own discretion. The service will be live-streamed on the First Reformed Church’s website. At noon, there will be a procession around the Sully square for the public to join the family going to the cemetery. You are welcome to stay in your car or stay socially distant out of respect to the family.  Due to the current health situation there will not be a public visitation.  The family welcomes socially distant visits in the coming weeks.

Irvin Lester Vander Leest, 78, was welcomed into Heaven by his Heavenly Father and his son Curt on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  Irvin had returned to his home in Sully on Monday from an extended stay at Newton Village.  Born on February 8, 1942, near Fifield (now submerged in Lake Red Rock), Irvin lived near Newberg until his parents bought a farm south of Sully in 1947.  He married Lois Arlene Jansen on June 6, 1961, at the Sully First Reformed Church where they were raised and continued to be faithful with their four children and into retirement.

Always hardworking, Irvin trapped gophers as a young boy to earn enough for a bicycle.  He sold Earl May seeds to his neighbors and won a Schwinn one year as a top salesman, helping his brother Dwight do the same the following year.  Tinkering and creating and remodeling were always in his blood, from the area’s first set of duals crafted with his dad’s John Deere GP tires on his old Super H to the triples he invested in for custom farming application.

After marriage, Irvin and Lois farmed south of Lynnville and Sully, north of Pella, and settled east of Reasnor for 52 years.  They were blessed with four children – Curtis Alan ‘62, Kentin Dean ‘63, Jody Dawn ‘68, and Carol Amber ‘71 – and grateful to live near their parents and extended family in the Sully area.  They sold the farm and house in late 2019 and moved to Sully.

Irvin and Lois suffered a tragic loss when Curt died on the family farm in 1970.  Stories of Curt and the gracious love shown by family and friends continue to this day.

Starting in the mid-70s, they remodeled the family home, doing most of the labor and handiwork themselves.  Irvin took great pride in the farm, land, and livestock.  Summer days were filled with putting up hay, cultivating beans, and taking motorcycle and 3-wheeler rides with the family.  Fishing trips to Canada in September provided fresh fish for the kids’ fall birthday gatherings.  Irvin prized his JD 4320 for state fair tractor pulls and his JD 70 for local rides.  Irvin’s greatest fulfillment was living his God-given talent for farming, but his greatest joy was the blessings of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Irvin dealt with many health issues and injuries over the years; however his attitude remained positive.  He was grateful for the time granted by the grace of God and provided by excellent medical care locally and at the Mayo Clinic.  He was considered a miracle patient by his Mayo care team, surviving over 10 years longer than expected.  Irvin and his family would encourage all to receive a shingles vaccine as he suffered 13 years with nerve pain caused by shingles.

Those celebrating his life and memory are his wife Lois;  son Kent and Mary of Prairie City and their children: Brandon and Kelsy with daughter Brielle, Kendra and Kody Longnecker with daughters Anna and Betsy, Koy and fiance Kenzie Cogley; daughter Jody and Jeff Stravers of Sully and their children Kelsie and Cody Johnson with children Trace, Tyler and Cora, Jacob Stravers and friend Halee and her son Wrangler, Megan and Sam Wenndt with daughter Iris, Bret Stravers; daughter Carol Collins and Dennis Doty of Lohrville and her children Chase Willett, Mallory Willett;
brothers: Norman and Deloris, Dwight and Glenda, and Rev. David; in-laws: Janice and Don Cross, Larry and Sharon Van Wyk, Shirley and Don Orthner, and Bryce and Linda Jansen.

Those welcoming him to Heaven are son Curtis Alan, parents James and Artie, in-laws Herman and Bessie Jansen, son-in-law Brian Collins, sisters-in-law: Joyce Van Wyk and Sally Vander Leest, and brother-in-law Ivan Jansen.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Sully FRC building fund as Irvin was so proud of the church project, or the Sully Ambulance Service or the Reasnor Ambulance Service for the times they rescued him from a ladder fall.

Due to the pandemic, extended family and friends are not allowed to attend the visitation or funeral.  You are welcome to wait in your car on the Sully square and the funeral procession will circle the square around noon. You are welcome to follow us to the cemetery where you may stay in your car or practice social distancing for the interment. There will be no luncheon following the graveside service. We are thankful for your understanding of the situation during this time - from the Irvin Vander Leest family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Irvin Vander Leest, please visit our floral store.


Family Funeral Service
May 11, 2020

11:00 AM
First Reformed Church
807 3rd Street
Sully, IA 50251

Public Procession - Sully Square
May 11, 2020

12:00 PM


Sully First Reformed Church - Building Fund
807 3rd St., Sully IA 50251

Sully Ambulance
PO Box 247, Sully IA 50251

Reasnor Ambulance
312 North St, Reasnor IA 50232

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