23 June 2012

Obituaries-Mrs Jennie Harmsen, and son George Harmsen

This obituary caught my eye, because it was unusual in its headline mentioning the double funeral.  As I read further, I was surprised it was not two family members who died in a fire or accident or some other common cause, but simply two family members who died a few days apart for entirely independent reasons. 

From the 15 April 1920 Fremont TimesIndicator.

Mrs. Jennie Harmsen and Son, George Harmsen, Died at Gerber Memorial Hospital
A double funeral service was held at the First Christian Reformed church Tuesday afternoon for George Harmsen, who died at the Gerber Memorial hospital Friday, following an operation for appendicitis, and his mother, Mrs. Jennie Harmsen of Overeisel, who died at the hospital Sunday, at the age of 92 years.  Rev. L. J. Lamberts and Rev. J. Mokma, the pastors of the Christian Reformed churches officiated.
Mr. Harmsen was born in Germany, January 16, 1861, and came to America when 14 years old.  At the age of 22 years he married Miss Mary Meyers of Oakland who died in 1887.  To them were born two daughters, Mrs. Jennie Vredeveld of Muskegon and Mrs. Grace DeKuiper of this city.
In 1890 he married Fannie Brookhuis who died in 1891.  On March 8 Me married Mrs. Jennie Knoll, nee Warmelink.
He moved to Fremont thrity one years ago and has since that time made his home there.
He leaves his wife and six children, Mrs. Gerrit Frens of Reeman, Mrs. Dick DeWitt and Garrit and Ben of this city, and two children by his first marriage.  He was a kind husband and father and a good neighbor.
The interment of Mr. Harmsen took place in Maple Grove cemetery and the body of Mrs. Harmsen was taken to Overeisel Wednesday morning where burial will take place this afternoon.

Interesting that although the funeral was for both of them, the obituary only listed information on the son.  It makes you wonder who was providing the information for the obituaries.  Both of them died at Gerber hospital, so she made the trip, at least 2 counties from home to come here to the hospital.  Was there no information at all available on Mrs. Harmsen.  I will assume she was born in Germany, or at least Europe, since her son was born there.  Since he was only 14 when coming to America, it may be safe to assume that she did then as well.  But maybe not.  And what was the name of his father/her husband?  When did that party die?  
Once again I am left in a state of frustration with the lack of information in these obituaries.

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