Hattie Van Wyk was born Oct. 27, 1919, in a foursquare farmhouse northwest of Pella. The youngest of Daniel D. and Hattie (Roorda) Dieleman, baby Hattie was named for her mother who died shortly after giving birth. Though Hattie thought of her mother often, she dearly loved her gentle stepmother Lena (Van Baale) Dieleman, who modeled a faith-filled life and the importance of hard work—of which there was plenty. During Hattie’s Depression-era childhood, chores were organized by days of the week, starting with Monday “wash day” when she cranked the machine 250 times per load.
Hattie graduated from eighth grade at the European #2 Country School. A job as a butter wrapper at the Pella Creamery followed, then marriage to Elmer Van Wyk on Sept. 9, 1941. The young couple soon settled on a farm near Otley, where they raised six children: Jerry Lee, Gene Edwin, Dennis Allen, Allen Lee, Russel Duane, and LuAnn Evon.
Energetic, positive, charitable, hardworking, and resilient, Hattie consistently found joy in the everyday. From sunrise to well past dark when she knelt by her bedside in prayer, Hattie often could be heard cheerfully singing as she mopped up muddy boot tracks, peeled mounds of homegrown potatoes for supper, and hung sparkling whites on the clothesline. As a grandchild once marveled, “Grandma even makes pulling weeds fun!”
Moving from farm life into town in 1973 left a void that Hattie filled by volunteering regularly, waitressing at Central Park Cafe, playing cards with friends, and caring for a steady stream of grandchildren that she sugared up with red licorice and love. With Grandma Hattie, each child had an attentive audience and knew to be the favorite.
Hattie valued honesty, non-judgmental listening, and contentment in God rather than things. Though she suffered a significant midlife hearing loss, she remained a gifted, compassionate listener. And having endured several heartbreaks, including the deaths of two beloved sons, she continuously encouraged others in the simplest of ways: A homemade pie, an invitation to lunch, a phone call, or a handwritten letter in her distinctive script reassuring that God is always in control.
Hattie went to her heavenly home on Sept. 7, 2020, at the Hospice of Pella Comfort House at the age of 100. She leaves behind four children and their spouses: Jerry L. (Elaine) Van Wyk of Pella, Dennis A. Van Wyk of Eugene, OR, Russel D. (Jana) Van Wyk of Cary, NC, and LuAnn E. (Jim) Brandsen of Ankeny; two daughters-in-law: Deb (Dan) Groenenboom of Pella and Mary (Duane) Van Maanen of Pella; 15 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; beloved nephews and nieces, and numerous friends.
Hattie was preceded in death by her parents, her stepmother, her parents-in-law, her husband, sons Gene and Allen, her daughter-in-law Lynda, her brothers Gerald, Daniel, and Willis Dieleman; and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Hattie attended Otley Christian Reformed Church and later became a charter member of Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, where she was a faithful member the remainder of her lifetime. She prayed daily that her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren would know Jesus and put their faith and trust in Him alone.
Memorials can be made to the Gene Van Wyk Memorial Fund at Pella Christian High School or to World Renew. Funeral services were held Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.