10 January 2013

Obituary--Rens Hoekert

This obituary caught my eye, as he is the immigrant patriarch of several families in my neighborhood, those who were his grandchildren, great, and great-great grandchildren still live in the same area, and even possibly the same farm.  There was no headline for the obituary.  It appears it was just a news item reported in one of the community gossip columns that filled the papers at that time.

From the 22 Dec 1920 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Rens Hoekert died at his home near Reeman last Thursday at the age of 75 years.  He was born in the Netherlands June 13, 1845 and came to this country 39 years ago settling at Drenthe.  After remaining there for three years he came to Reeman and has lived on a farm there for 36 years.  His wife died December 14, 1888.  Mr Hoekert was an active member of the Christian Reformed church and assisted in the organization of the Reeman church.
His surviving children are Fannny Lydens, Henry Hooker, Marinus Hooker, Bertha dunnink, Jake Hooker, Jennie Zagers and Maggie Klooster.
The funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the Reeman Christian Reformed church, conducted by Rev. J. L. Heeres, the pastor.  Interment in Reeman Cemetery.

Notice that the children had Americanized the surname from Hoekert to Hooker.  Easier to say and spell.  And before Hooker gained the meaning it currently has.  I learned from one of Mr. Hoekert's great-grandsons that a branch of the family that moved out of the area even changed their name back to the original spelling, to avoid the harassment that came from that unfortunate meaning of the modernized spelling of Hooker. 

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