Bertha G. (Fopma) Zylstra, 93, of Sully, passed away Thursday evening, June 21, 2018, at Newton Village Health Care Center in Newton where she had been a resident since May 2018. Funeral services were held Tuesday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. at Sully Christian Reformed Church. Interment was in the Sully Cemetery. Memorials in her memory may be designated for Sully Christian School.
Bertha Fopma was the oldest of four children born to Rutford and Hattie (Jansen) Fopma. She was born May 13, 1925, at Lynnville. She attended the Highland Country School, where she completed the eighth grade. She loved reading from an early age and enjoyed learning all her life. As a child, she even read the Dictionary and Encyclopedias for fun. As a “hired girl,” she worked with many families when the mothers needed help with their new babies, surgeries, or illnesses.
Bertha met William John (Bill) Zylstra at church and even worked for his family. Bertha and Bill were united in marriage Jan. 22, 1948. Their wedding was the first ceremony in the Sully Christian Reformed Church, and it was a full church service along with an offering. Their marriage of 66 years was made special by raising five children: Roger Paul, Glenn Harlan, Beverly Joy, Phyllis Kay, and Joyce Elaine.
Bertha was a helpful mate to her husband on the farm. They farmed for 34 years near Kellogg until exchanging residences with their son, Roger, and his family. After moving into Sully, they served as custodians at Sully Christian School for 10 years and later at Sully Community Center. She enjoyed reading, crocheting, and gardening. She remained a faithful member of Sully Christian Reformed Church where she was baptized and made profession of her faith. She was an active member of the Ruth Circle and The Gideons.
She is survived by five children: Roger (Carolyn) Zylstra of Lynnville, Glenn (Nancy) Zylstra of Bettendorf, Beverly (John) Coombs of Latimer, Phyllis Zylstra of Sully, and Joyce (Michael) Ingram of Altoona; 17 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.
Of her original family, Bertha leaves her two sisters: Clarine Van Kooten of Sully and Lois Van Wyk of Pella; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Nellie Zylstra of Pella, Marvin Zylstra of Pella, Wendall (Dorothy) Zylstra of Alamo, TX, Delores (Zylstra) Van Rees of Pella, and Claude (Joan) Zylstra of Pella.
Bertha was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Zylstra, on June 11, 2014; a grandson, Shawn Zylstra in 1976; her parents, Rut and Hattie Fopma; her brother, Richard Fopma and his wife, Marge; her brothers-in-law: Donald Van Kooten, Clarence Van Kooten, and Norman Van Wyk; her parents-in-law, Paul and Gertie Zylstra, and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Bertha Eunice Zylstra, Carol Zylstra, Mary Lou (Zylstra) and her husbands, Gareth P. Vande Kieft and Merle Van Steenis, Orville Zylstra, Celia Zylstra, Gary Van Rees, and Judy Zylstra.
Bertha was an expert on flowers, birds, and all nature, and truly was a gentle woman of the Lord.