HILDA A STELLEMA, 73 ROCKFORD - After a mercifully brief struggle with her third cancer, Hilda A. Stellema, 73, of Rockford died peacefully Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, with her husband and her children by her side. She was born July 9, 1939, in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, daughter of Siefko and Jantje (van Dijk) Westerloo. She was a graduate of the ULO in Leeuwarden and of the teacher college in Appingedam, the Netherlands. She taught briefly in the Netherlands prior to coming to the United States in 1961 to marry Fred Stellema, her older brother's childhood friend, at the United Methodist Church in Harvard, in 1962. She worked for years as a teacher's aide in the Loves Park schools before turning her attention to managing her small business subcontracting for Sundstrand Corporation. For 15 years Hilda volunteered at SwedishAmerican Hospital delivering flowers to patients. Hilda was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church, working on the Member to Member committee, and she always looked forward to the Annual Trash or Treasure sale where she helped run the Housewares Department. Hilda brought her artistic touch to everything she did. She loved to cross stitch and always had her hands busy with crafts of all types. For the last 10 years, many people were recipients of Hilda's beautiful handmade cards. She also liked to entertain and took great pride in setting an elegant table and serving unique and wonderful food. As her children were growing, the family enjoyed camping in Wisconsin and Michigan as well as long trips to Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Park. Once the kids were safely grown, Hilda and Fred traveled the world seeing six continents. While adventures ranged from riding elephants to walking on the Great Wall of China, Hilda was most happy snorkeling in the ocean. She loved swimming with dolphins and rays, seeing thousands of beautiful fish, and dancing with sea turtles. She is survived by her husband and best friend, Fred; daughter, Janet and her partner, Jenny Price from Denver; son, Arnold and his wife, Nannette Meyers, their children Alexander, Victoria, and Elizabeth from Santa Rosa, Calif.; her brother, Henk Westerloo in the Netherlands; sister-in-law and husband, June and Harry Jasper from Harvard; and numerous nieces and nephews. Her cremation took place in Rockford. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St., with the Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson Doyle officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church, Northern Illinois Hospice and Grief Center, or the
. Arrangements by Olson Funeral & Cremation Services Ltd. To share a memory or condolence, visit olsonfh.com.
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Published in Rockford Register Star from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, 2013