Willie Van Weelden, 77, of New Sharon, passed away Saturday, June 10, 2023, at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
Henry Willis Van Weelden, son of Sjoerd Henry and Grace (Meppelink) Van Weelden, was born May 17, 1946, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Willie graduated from Oskaloosa Christian Grade School in 1960 and Pella Christian High School in 1964. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force; he served in Alaska and Italy and was honorably discharged in 1969. While in the service, Willie married Bonnie Lou Veldhuizen on February 17, 1967, at the Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa. After returning from the service, Willie and Bonnie settled on a farm near New Sharon, and Willie farmed it with his good friend, Jack Goodman. After three years of farming with Jack, Willie purchased the farm, which remains the family home today. Willie maintained a dairy herd and raised grain and alfalfa. Willie held various jobs in addition to farming: he worked at Kelderman Manufacturing, served as a Mahaska County Supervisor from 2002 to 2018, did custodial work at his church, mowed lawns for Totalscape Lawn Care, and served as a bus driver for William Penn University. Willie was also active in several organizations: a Fellowship Bible Church and Oskaloosa Rotary Club member, Mahaska County Conservation Board President, and on the Oskaloosa Christian Grade School and Pella Christian High School boards. He also volunteered for the V.A. driving veterans to appointments. Willie loved his animals, dogs, cats, and chickens, and they always brought a smile to his face. Willie never lost his love of the land; he enjoyed gardening and sharing its bounty with friends and family. Some of his favorite times were starting his days with friends over coffee at Hy-Vee.
Willie’s faith in Jesus was integral to who he was. During his lifetime, his faith helped determine his daily interactions and long-term goals. And as important, it helped him maintain a sense of calm and purpose throughout his life’s highs and lows. His life work was complete because he passed his faith onto his family, and in facing death, he knew his eternal destiny.
His family includes his wife, Bonnie of New Sharon; daughters: Valerie (Brendan) Terpstra of Pella, Jennifer Baham of San Jose, CA, and Melissa (Charlie) Bowen of Oskaloosa; nine grandchildren: Nathaniel (Emily) Terpstra of Pella, Taylor (Abby) Terpstra of Leighton, and Breanna (Jordan) Slotten of Pella, Camille and Erin Baham of San Jose, and Amelia, Aubrey, Amara, and Declan Bowen of Oskaloosa; and six great-grandchildren: Clayton and Matthias Terpstra, Tabitha and Boaz Terpstra, and Alexa and Orville Slotten. He is survived by a sister, Donna Frisby of Pella, and Bonnie’s extended family.
In addition to his parents, Willie was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Gene Frisby.
Funeral Services for Willie will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, June 16, 2023, at the Fellowship Bible Church in Oskaloosa. Burial will be in Old White Cemetery with Military Honors by the Oskaloosa Honor Guard. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday at Langkamp Funeral Chapel; the family will greet visitors from 4-7 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made to the Music Program at the Oskaloosa Christian School or the Mahaska County Conservation.