Dorothy Rempe, 88, of Pella, passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at Accura Healthcare in Pleasantville.
Dorothy Mae Monster was born April 28, 1933, on the home place south of Pella to William J. and Hattie (Hoekstra) Monster. She grew up during the depression and enjoyed learning and going to South Porterville School and graduating from North Porterville School when South Porterville was closed. In school, she read through most of the books in the small library, so she read the dictionary. Growing up, she also enjoyed the neighborhood 4-H Club. She would help her mom with household chores and her dad with outside chores: bringing coffeetime and dinner out to the field, helping take care of the horses used for farming, and helping pick corn by hand in the fall.
After graduating 8 th grade, she longed to go to high school, but her parents wanted her to help work on the farm. She, too, helped ladies in the neighborhood with housework and new moms with their babies. She also helped and stayed with her oldest sister and brother-in-law, Bill and Antoinette Vander Linden, with household chores and three young children when he was suffering from MS and her sister with Polio.
One of her fondest memories was Sunday mornings at American Union Sunday School at South Porterville School. She and other neighbors enjoyed the teachings of Mr. Van Dellen and Mr. Terlouw. She attended Third Reformed in Pella, where she was
baptized, confessed her faith as a teenager, and was a lifelong member.
When her brother and sister-in-law, Marion and Rose Monster, moved to the homeplace on the Des Moines River bottom farm where she grew up, her parents bought a hill farm about a mile to the north from the Weyerse brothers.
When she was older, she would walk around the square with the other girls while the boys drove their cars around the square. She became friends with Sara Rempe, who introduced her to her brother, Wilfred “Bill” Rempe, and they began dating.
Her parents were always protective of her; the yard light was switched on if she and Bill sat in his car too long after a date. Dorothy and Bill were married on February 5, 1953, at Third Reformed Church. It was then that Sara became her sister-in-law and life-long friend.
They made their home in the Leighton area for one year and farmed with his parents.
They then moved to her parent’s hill farm when her parents moved to Pella. They farmed 50/50 with her parents, and Dorothy’s parents would stop by almost daily, especially her dad.
Dorothy was a true partner with her husband on the farm; she always had a large garden, canning and freezing the produce. She raised chickens for eggs and helped butcher chickens, hogs, and calves for meat. Along with her household chores, she milked cows by hand, fed the livestock, and helped Bill with the pigs. She cared for weak newborn pigs, calves, and lambs, bottle feeding them and putting them in the summer kitchen by the stove. Sometimes the sound of hooves clicking on the linoleum floor could be heard in the night.
Dorothy also helped in the fields, sowing oats, helping to pull a tractor to start, or helping pull one out that was stuck in the mud. Dorothy would always help organize, with other neighborhood ladies, wedding and baby showers, welcome and farewell picnics, and neighborhood sympathy flowers.
Dorothy was always there to help her parents and her mother and father-in-law with any needs they might have, including rides to medical appointments, cleaning, wallpapering, or just a listening ear. She was always quick to send cards of encouragement or celebration.
She was an avid garage sale shopper and enjoyed having garage sales with her friend, Dora Van Wyk. She found many treasurers and formed many friendships with others who like garage sales. She enjoyed collecting Hull vases and reading.
During the late ’70s, early ‘80s, she began cleaning homes for local families, for some, close to two decades. She also began working part-time at the Town Crier, helping insert sale flyers in the Town Crier paper and other advertising inserts. She worked there for several years. When her husband developed health problems, she faithfully cared for him until he died at home at 70 years on December 27, 2000. She retired from her jobs sometime after that. A few years later, she suffered a stroke and other health issues and eventually
became homebound. Many times she said, “getting old is no fun.” But all through her life, there were hard times and good. She enjoyed simple things, and even to the end, she would always talk about how blessed she was. She was thankful for her old farmhouse where she had lived for close to 70 years: a warm house in the winter, a bed to lay in, food in the fridge, clothes in the closet, water out of the faucet, along with many other blessings.
On January 27, 2022, she suffered a life-changing stroke. She received excellent care at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Rehab Hospital. She transferred to Pleasant Living Nursing Home in Pleasantville on February 23, receiving excellent care. March 22, she took a turn for the worse and went under hospice care and continued to receive excellent care until her passing early Tuesday morning, March 29, 2022.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her grandparents, Gerrit and Toiney (Boschma) Hoekstra and Jacob and Jana (Klyn) Monster. Her brother, Gerald, passed away at age 13; he loved to tease his younger sister, age 6. Throughout her life, Dorothy always showed some sadness when talking about Gerald. She was also preceded in death by her parents, William J. and Hattie (Hoekstra) Monster, her mother and father-in-law, Gerrit and Rena (Menninga) Rempe; her husband, Wilfred “Bill” Rempe; her sister, Antoinette Vander Linden, and brothers-in-law: Bill Vander Linden, Leonard Van Arkel (Antoinette’s second husband), and Max Schuttinga; her sister-in-law and lifelong friend and brother-in-law, Sara (Rempe) and Marion Olsthoorn; a brother-in-law, Johnny Robert Rempe in infancy; a very special niece, Marlene Olivier Olsthoorn, a special nephew, Harlan Ray Olsthoorn, who as a youth, spent many days on the farm with her son, Duane; three very special great-nieces, Annette Vander Linden, Sharon Lynn Van Kooten, and Brenda Vander Linden Reineke.
She is survived by her son, Duane Gene Rempe of Pella; a sister, Mary Jane Schuttinga of Prairie City; many special nieces and nephews. Dorothy always cared about her family, whether close or far away, many life-long friends from country school, neighbors, and families that lived in the south Pella neighborhood family farms 5-6 generations. She was a Proverbs 31: 10-31 Wife.
Open visitation will be held Saturday, April 2, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heartland Reformed Church in Pella. Private interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery. Langkamp Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa is handling the final arrangements. Memorial contributions can be made to Heartland Reformed Church, the Historic Pella Trust, or Fair Haven Memorial Garden.