16 February 2013

Obituary--Tjerk Veenstra

At first I was going to wait until later to post this obituary, since I had posted another obituary just last week from the same issue of the Fremont TimesIndicator.  But when I got a better look at this gentleman's name, I had to post it. 
For just a couple weeks ago, I had gotten a picture of his grave stone to add to our cemetery book for nearby Clark Cemetery.  One of our volunteers, who has put this book together, complete with pictures and any information she can find on those buried there, had found it and brought it in. 
So, especially since it gives such a background on his life, I decided to post it now. 
From the 8 July 1937 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Farewell Address Followed By Death
Tjerk Veenstra, 93, Succumbs After Talk To Group at Annual Family Fete.
While preparing to leave the speaker's platform after making an address that he considered would be his last to his relatives, Tjerk Veenstra, 93 dropped dead Monday afternoon during the Veenstra family reunion which was held at the Veenstra homestead in Greenwood township west of this city.  His death was caused by a heart attack.
His relatives said that Mr. Veenstra thought the family reunion held Monday would be the last he would live to attend and desired to give a farewell message to the group.  He had given the parting message on a speaker's rostrum improvised from a lunch table, and succumbed before he was able to descend to the ground.  Mr. Veenstra had been in poor health during the past winter.
The aged man was born January 23, 1844, in the Netherlands.  His mother died when he was three years old.  His father, who was a clergyman, gave him a fine education.  He was able to converse in four languages.
At the age of 13 he became a cabin-boy on an old sailing vessel and for many years sailed on the Atlantic ocean, and the Black, Baltic, and Mediterranean seas, and the Danube river.  On his first voyage he was shipwrecked near the island of Heligoland but this experience did not deter him from continuing on the seas.  Mr Veenstra had traveled much and often told of the foreign lands he had visited.
In 1872, Mr. Veenstra cam to America and on February 2 of that year arrived in Grand Rapids.  In 1876 he was married to Miss Martha Sprik and lived in Grand Rapids for 32 years.  In 1908 he moved to the farm seven miles west of Fremont where he has since resided.  Mrs. Veenstra died about 10 years ago.
He is survived by six children, y. J. Veenstra, with whom he has lately made his home; Henry of Detroit;; R. T. Veenstra; C. W. Veenstra and E. L. Veenstra, all of Grand Rapids, and Mrs. Frank Palmer who lives west of Fremont.
Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon from the home with Rev. Herman Goodyke of the Reeman Christian Reformed church officiating.  Burial was made at Clark cemetery.

What a story.  And since I know this family, who live on the same farm, I may just send them a link to this.

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