John Van Erkel, 1922-2017
A memorial service for John Henry Van Erkel will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Hollandale Reformed Church. The Rev. Neil Ooms will officiate. Visitation will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Bonnerup Funeral Service in Albert Lea, as well as one hour prior to the church service on Monday. Interment will be at Hollandale Cemetery following the service.
John Henry passed away Thursday, March 23, 2017, at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. He was 94.
John Henry Van Erkel was born Nov. 25, 1922, in Mitchellville, Iowa, to Peter E. and Sophia (Van Aalst) Van Erkel. From Iowa, the family moved to Hollandale when Henry was 2. They moved to Holland in the late 1920s and stayed there until all U.S. citizens were ordered to leave Holland. In 1937 the family moved back to Hollandale, where Henry had been a resident ever since.
On Oct. 16, 1953, Henry was united in marriage to Ans (Welten) in Hollandale. To this union, the couple was blessed with two children. Henry raised his family on a farm outside of Hollandale, where he grew many vegetables — including asparagus, cabbage, sugar beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and others.
He gave many farm tours throughout his life to his family, friends and strangers. When Henry was not farming, he enjoyed fishing and hunting. Ans and Henk enjoyed traveling all over the world. Henry was a member of Hollandale Reformed Church. He was also a member of the Hollandale Marketing Association and the Minnesota Seed Potato Growers Association. Henry was self-motivated, and took great pride in all he did. He had a passion for learning, and always looked to research new things. Henry could be described as a friendly man with a great sense of humor, an enduring love of farming and an even greater love for his family.
Henry was preceded in death by his sister, Betty (Emery) Verdoorn.
He will be sorely missed by all his friends, family and special friend, Kent Slegh.
Henry is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ans, of Hollandale; children Helmy (Brad) Tennis of Baraboo, Wisconsin, and Peter (Teri) Van Erkel of Hollandale; grandchildren Peter (Jessica) Tennis of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Annemieke Tennis of New Orleans, Jon (Nicki) Van Erkel of Hollandale, Heidi (Kyle) Anderson of Albert Lea and Annalise Van Erkel of Hollandale; great-grandchildren Jayce, Knox, Bode and Trey; as well as many extended relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Hollandale Reformed Church, Hollandale Christian School or to the donor’s choice.