Donald Gene Veldhuizen, 82, of Oskaloosa died Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Oskaloosa Care Center. He was born March 25, 1940, to Jay and Nellie (Sterk) Veldhuizen at their home just outside Kirkville, Iowa. The family also lived in “the big house” on the Lacey road before establishing the family farm southeast of Oskaloosa. He attended school at Lacey and Oskaloosa Christian School and graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 1957. Following high school Don went to work at Patton Feed and Produce. On March 27, 1958, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and subsequently served with Bravo Battery 2/56 ADA at a guided missile site near Landau, Germany. He was honorably discharged in March 1961. On April 19, 1962, he was united in marriage to Marsha Veldhuizen at Central Reformed Church. Don worked at Matthew Lumber Company for eight years and Mahaska Bottling for one year before joining the U.S. Postal Service in 1971. He started as a clerk and city mail carrier — one of his favorite tricks when meeting someone was to recall their address from the ‘70s or ‘80s. He was promoted to postmaster in Delta in 1984 and became postmaster in New Sharon in 1986; he served there until his retirement in 1998. In retirement Don drove semi, worked at the Oskaloosa Parks Commission, and helped area farmers with harvest. As Marsha’s health declined he dedicated his time to caring for her. She passed away on June 11, 2018.
Don was a classic extrovert who drew tremendous energy from time spent with family, friends and strangers who quickly became friends. He was a member of the American Legion and Central Reformed Church, where he served as both a deacon and an elder. He wasn’t a fan of flying, but he was a road tripper who would drive anywhere to see a loved one, a historic site or just the beauty of creation. Even better if it was with the camper in tow, everywhere from Niagara Falls to Florida to Alaska. Closer to home, family and friends spent countless nights warmed by Don’s expertly tended campfires at Lake Keomah, Lake Red Rock and Bolen’s Campground near Tama. This summer will mark 50 years since he and Marsha started the family tradition of camping at the Iowa State Fair. Don channeled his wish that others would enjoy the fair experience as much as he did into nearly 20 years as an information volunteer. If you needed a ride to an appointment, Don was there; if there was a family reunion, he was the first to arrive; if he could help you in any way, he would. In recent years, he was pleased to have all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren nearby. He was exceedingly proud of them and treasured the time he spent with them.
In warmer weather, Don could be found sitting in the driveway with his coffee (in the mornings, at least); his cats, Bootsie and Frosty; and his friends and neighbors — waving at the traffic, shooting the breeze and solving the world’s problems. You can still give a honk and a wave in his memory when you go by.
His family includes his three children: Dale Veldhuizen of Des Moines, Eric (Stacy DeReus) Veldhuizen of Pella, and Sara (David) Veldhuizen Stealy of Webster Groves, Missouri; a granddaughter, Alexis (Jacob) Bell of Oskaloosa; two grandsons, Dakota and Dawson Veldhuizen of Pleasantville; two great-granddaughters, Aubree and Jaci Bell of Oskaloosa; his sister, Linda Veldhuizen of Memphis, Tennessee; a brother- and sister-in-law, Keith and Vicki Collins Veldhuizen of Barronett, Wisconsin; nieces Stacy (Ben) Mickey of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Renee (Aron) Hook of Golden, Colorado, and their families; and close friend Sandy Veldhuizen of Scottsdale, Arizona. Also surviving are countless beloved cousins, extended family and friends.
In addition to his wife, Don was preceded in death by his parents and his parents-in-law, Edward and Wilma Veldhuizen and Kathryn Hoyt Veldhuizen.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 2 p.m. at Central Church in Oskaloosa. There will be a family prayer in the basement at 1:45 p.m. Burial will be at Forest Cemetery in Oskaloosa. Graveside military honors will be given by members of the Oskaloosa American Legion and V.F.W. The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation will begin Monday, March 27, 2023, from 11 a.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel, and the family will be at the funeral chapel from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to greet friends and relatives. Memorials may be made to Crisis Intervention Services or Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter.