On New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2019, Earl Fopma of Sully passed away on arrival at Skiff Medical Center in Newton, having just celebrated his 85th birthday. Funeral services were held Friday, Jan. 4, at 10:30 a.m. at Sully Christian Reformed Church. Interment followed in Sully Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions are preferred for Sully Christian School.
Charles Earl Fopma was the first of five children born to Peter and Klazina (Meppelink) Fopma on Dec. 29, 1933, near Leighton. He lived much of his early life north of Sully. The family attended Sully Christian Reformed Church where he was baptized and later professed his faith as a young man. He attended the Richland Country School until the eighth grade. One of the events of his early life that impacted him most was the death of his younger brother, Gerald Lee, in a sledding accident. Following school, Earl worked for his dad on the farm, eventually becoming a carpenter. It was also during these years that he entered into the United States Armed Forces in 1955, serving at Ft. Riley, KS, and Camp McCoy, WI.
Earl married Alene Helen Sjaardema on May 20, 1958, at the Newton Christian Reformed Church. To this union four children were born: Curtis Gerald, Keith Alan, Marlon Dale, and Diane Beth. Soon after their marriage, he left his work with carpentry to pursue farming near Monroe, eventually settling near his boyhood home north of Sully. He was very particular about farming and did a lot of work around the farm fixing and building. Earl farmed from 1959 to 1989. Following his work as a farmer, he started working at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella and worked there until he retired in 2003. One of his main responsibilities was building the net wrap for round balers. He took a lot of pride in his work.
Earl had a good sense of humor and will be remembered by his children and family for his smile and laugh. He loved his wife deeply and enjoyed doing everything together with her. They traveled to various locations throughout the United States, taking several trips to Florida. They were also able to visit Europe, and Alene will cherish those memories forever. He loved singing at church and with the choir at Sully Christian Reformed Church and in the Gospel Singers Male Chorus. He pursued woodworking in his later years, especially after retiring. He enjoyed his grandchildren immensely and attended as many of their events as possible. He left a wonderful example of faith to his children and grandchildren through his deep love for his Savior, his willingness to serve where he was able, and his love and concern for others.
He will be missed deeply by his wife, Alene Fopma, and their four children: Curtis (Brenda) Fopma of Lynnville, Keith (Pam) Fopma of Huxley, Rev. Dale (Cindy) Fopma of Grandville, MI, and Diane (Scott) Roose of Pella; 10 grandchildren; his sister, Denamae Maasdam of Sully; two brothers, Robert (Joan) Fopma of Pella and Carroll (Marla) Fopma of Sully; the following brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: George and Lucille Sjaardema of Reasnor, Marilyn and Richard Bruxvoort of Mitchellville; and many nieces and nephews.
Earl was very much a people person and will be missed by many friends and acquaintances as well.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Gerald Lee Fopma; his brother-in-law, Kenneth Maasdam; and his parents-in-law, Joe and Marie Sjaardema.