Pierre Hoekema was born on Dec. 19, 1921 to Otis and Sadie Hoekema at their family home in Rapelje, Mont. Pierre began his elementary education in Columbus, but in 1934, at age 13, his family relocated to Manhattan, Mont. There he attended Manhattan Public School and graduated in 1941. After high school, he served in the military during World War II (1941 – 1944). He was stationed in France and delivered ammunition to the front lines. Upon returning home, he studied at Montana State College and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1948. Following graduation, Pierre began working as a diesel mechanic with Kamp Implement Co. of Belgrade, Mont.
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Pierre married the love of his life, Audrey Flikkema, on June 15, 1948 at the Protestant Reformed Church in Churchill, Mont. It was in Churchill that they began their life and family together. Through the gift of God's blessing, they built their new home and invested much prayer, energy and love into raising five children.
In 1956, he and his brother, Dave Hoekema, realized the dream of owning their own business when they opened a small service station entitled Churchill Garage. It wasn't long before they expanded operations to include farm equipment sales. Over the years, the business would steadily grow, was renamed Churchill Equipment and in 1976, he and his two sons, Ron and David K, purchased the company from his brother, Dave. Pierre loved his work and the community his business served, and after his retirement in 1986, he continued to unofficially oversee operations from the break room. Throughout his life Pierre lived the words of Colossians 3:23a: "In whatsoever work you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord."
Pierre and Audrey enjoyed their retirement in their home on Churchill, made many road trips around the USA, and wintered with friends in a retirement community in Arizona. They loved spending time with family, especially their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Through all of their years, they were dedicated participants in the ministries of Bethel Christian Reformed Church and faithful supporters of the mission of Manhattan Christian School. In all, they were happily married for 59 years, until Audrey's death in November 2007.
Pierre resided at Gallatin County Home and Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman, the last several years of his life until his death on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. The loving and professional care that he received in these homes added a good deal of dignity to the last 4 1/2 years of his life and he made some special friends in both facilities.
Pierre is survived by his children, Ron and Bev Hoekema of Churchill, Mont., Phyllis and Neil Verduin of Spokane, Wash., David and Dawn Hoekema of Churchill, Mont., Joan and David Kinderfather of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Rachel and Steve Ren of Snohomish, Wash.; his brother and sister-in-law, David and Agnes Hoekema of Manhattan, Mont.; and sisters, Dorothy Ypma of Pony, Mont. and Evelyn Heys of Bozeman, Mont. Surviving in-laws include Pete Stuurmans of Lynden, Wash., Albert and Audrey Flikkema of Churchill, Mont., Jean VanDyken of Churchill, Mont., Nene VanderMolen of Churchill, Mont., Fenna and Peter Kimm of Amsterdam, Mont., Dorothy Flikkema of Churchill, Mont., and Winnie Flikkema of Munster, Ind. He has 17 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Pierre was preceded in death by his wife, Audrey Hoekema; parents, Otis and Sadie Hoekema; brothers, Henry and George "Slim" Hoekema; sisters, Anne Taylor, Theresa Cooper, Jennie Bos, Laura Stuurmans, and Bertha Hoekema; an infant son, Keith Alvin Hoekema; and infant great-grandson, Evan VanderVliet.
Visitation will be held Friday, Feb. 8 from 1 to 1:30 p.m. at Bethel Christian Reformed Church. Graveside services will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Churchill Cemetery followed by memorial services at 2 p.m. at Bethel Christian Reformed Church.
Memorials may be made to Gallatin County Rest Home Auxilliary, 1221 W. Durston Rd., Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 7, 2013