Helen Boomsma 1913-2013

Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm


Helen Boomsma, age 100, of Wolsey, died Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the Violet Tschetter Memorial Home. Her funeral service will be at 2:00 PM, Monday, April 22nd at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Derek Baum, officiating. Burial will be in the Broadland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, Sunday, April 21st at the First United Methodist Church, with a time of sharing at 7:00 PM Sunday evening. Visit www.kuhlerfuneralhome.com.

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Helen Tolsma was born March 14, 1913, to Jan and Hinke Tolsma at Smallee, Netherlands. Most of her young life was spent on a family farm called “Tritsum” just a few miles from Tzum in Friesland, Netherlands.

On May 14, 1936, Helen married Anno Boomsma at the Christian Reformed Church at Tzum. They started their life together on a small farm just outside of Tzum. Two children were born, Jakob was born March 29, 1937 and Jan was born on May 9, 1938. In 1940, Holland was drawn into World War II against Germany and Hitler. Anno was drafted. Four years were spent under German control. Anno never talked too much about those years. He did say that war is a bad thing. He had quite a few close encounters and had to dig ditches under Nazi control. Anno and Helen hid young men from the Nazis, as did other farm families in the area. Helen’s family hid people under the hay that was stacked in the big barns. Supplies were dropped at night, because the Germans did not go out at night because they didn’t know the terrain. Shortly after that, still during the war, the two children, Jakob and Jan were smitten with measles and pneumonia and died within one week. Jan died on January 23, 1940, and Jakob died February 1, 1940. Jan was almost 2 years old and Jakob was almost 3 years old. Anno was allowed to come home for the funeral and had to return to the Army until they were liberated by the United States and England. Four more children were born in the small house near Tzum. They were Jakob (Jacob), Aaltje Hinke (Alie Helen), Jan (John) and Reinske (Reva). Steve was born in the United States.

On January 23, 1948, Anno and Helen and four children immigrated to the United States aboard the “Veendam.” They arrived at Ellis Island and boarded a train to Huron. They lived near Bonilla on a farm rented from A.M. Haskell and later moved to a farm near Wolsey where the family spent many happy years. Helen enjoyed her family, coffee at Magness Livestock and Bales CCC, writing diaries, traveling, photography and sending letters regularly to her families in the Netherlands and Canada and traveling to Europe and Canada. She enjoyed the farm and always had the coffee and teapot on, along with cakes, cookies or sandwiches for anyone who stopped by, and lots did.

She became a resident of the Violet Tschetter Memorial Home in 2001, under the special care given by their wonderful staff and caregivers.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Anno Boomsma who died in 1980; her two infant sons, Jakob and Jan Boomsma; her parents, Jan and Hinke Tolsma; her brothers, Oebele Tolsma, Aise Tolsma, John Tolsma and Frank Tolsma; and sisters, Ruth Abma, Alice Reitsma, Wis Bakker and Trien Hoeksra.

Grateful for having shared in her life are her children, Jake A. (Cindy) Boomsma of Huron, Alie (Eldon) Hofer of Hitchcock, John (Mareldine) Boomsma of Wessington, Reva (Dave) Baum of Alpena and Steve (Julie) Boomsma of Wolsey; 20 grandchildren; 51 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild; one sister, Griet VanderVeen of Alberta, Canada; and many nieces and nephews.

(Paid Obituary)

Helen Boomsma 1913-2013

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