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Beatrice Steensma VanVelzen

1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Beatrice Steensma VanVelzen Obituary
Beatrice Steensma VanVelzen

Beatrice Steensma VanVelzen, 90, died peacefully on Monday, October 17, 2016 in Sioux Falls, SD.

Beatrice was born to Herman and Maggie Bolkema near rural Boyden, Iowa on June 3, 1926. When she was born, she was so tiny that her first crib was a shoe box. Tiny but mighty - she survived. She was the youngest child of Dutch immigrants. She worked on the farm as a child and later worked in a department store in Sheldon, IA. She met Andrew Steensma at a church gathering and after they married they farmed near Bigelow, MN. Born to them were Marilyn and Alvina. They moved after 5 years to Hawarden, IA where Andrew owned and operated the sales barn. Beatrice was a stay at home wife and mom. She did take on a few part time jobs during their life in Hawarden, but wanted to be home when the girls came home from school.

Andrew died in 1977 and a year later Bea moved to Sioux Falls, SD where her adult daughters lived. It was quite an adjustment for her, but she did it. She worked part time at the VA Hospital in the dietary department.

After 9 years of living alone, she met and married William VanVelzen. They were married for 16 years and enjoyed camping, fishing, and traveling all over the world together. When Bill died in 2003, Bea continued to live in their townhome.

She and her friend decided to travel once again and it was while in Ireland that Bea suffered her first stroke. She survived that stroke and came back and managed to continue living on her own. A year later, she suffered another stroke and at that time had to move into assisted living. She realized she couldn't live "on her own" but always missed her home. She had a few more bumps in the road after that, but always pulled through - the tough Dutch in her. She managed to see her 90th birthday last June.

She is survived by her daughters, Marilyn (Bruce) Olson, Sioux Falls, SD and Alvina (Donald) Silseth, Prescott, AZ; granddaughter, Katy (RJ) Eagles, Granby, MA; sister in law, Ann Postma and brother in law, Ted Steensma; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her two spouses, her older brother, John, her older sister, Estella, and numerous in laws.

Bea faced many crises in her life, but always conquered them with her quiet strength. She knew she was going to heaven to meet up with her family and prayed often for the Lord to take her. Her wish was finally granted. She will be missed by her remaining family.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Published in The Argus Leader on Oct. 19, 2016
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