EDWARD PAUL HIEMSTRA

Obituary
  • "I truly cherished this man. He watched my son and daughter..."
    - Randy Hughes
  • "You will always live in our hearts and prayers."
    - Ray and Mary Rae Faraca


Born March 8, 1920 in Columbus, MT

Died Aug. 28, 2012 in Bozeman, MT

Ed was born in Columbus, Montana, to immigrant parents from Friesland, Netherlands. While just a small boy he developed a strong work ethic from his hard-working farming parents, which he carried throughout his life. The family of nine, moved to a dairy farm in Nampa, ID, in 1929. Ed completed his schooling there, competing in football and track. Sterling College Kansas welcomed him to their athletic program where he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. His performance in the Kansas All-Star game brought him a contract to play for the New York Giants in 1942. He was a stellar rookie and planned on a long career in pro ball, but Uncle Sam had other plans. He was drafted into the Army Air Corp in 1943, where he directed physical training programs and coached the Troop Carrier football team in 1945.

Nampa garnered his teaching and coaching services for football and track, but after one year, he had an itch to move along. The little mining town of Kellogg, Idaho, caught his eye. There he coached football, basketball and track along with teaching wood shop and United States History. In basketball, his teams won 5 district, 3 regional and 3 state titles. His final years of coaching and teaching found him in Oregon, where, after 39 years in total, he retired in Heppner.

Ed always found time to work within the areas of community service, no matter what the project or program to be completed. He worked summers, not only to augment his teaching salary, but to expand his horizons.

He always gave 110% to the job, be it logging, driving ore truck for the mine, or running recreation programs for the YMCA.

One summer, upon hearing a voice holler, "Thar's gold in them thar hills," he and a fellow teacher borrowed two burros from the local Shriners Club and headed for the Bitterroot Mountains in Central Idaho.

Weeks later, they dragged in with a load of, you guessed it ... tall tales! He did take a couple of summers off to complete his Master's in Education degree. Ed was a lifelong learner and teacher, as well as an avid athlete and outdoorsman. He relished the telling and re-telling and re-re-telling of his exploits.

Coach Hiemstra lived a full and accomplished life. Joining him on his roller coaster ride were his high school sweetheart and wife, Marylee, who passed away in 2002, his two daughters, Patricia and Theresa, as well as numerous students whom he took hunting and fishing, as well as feeding, clothing and transporting them. He also relished the many family reunions where he would catch up on their comings and goings.

In 2003, Ed returned to his beloved Montana, where he married Clara VanDyken. They enjoyed 9 years of scenic drives, visiting friends and relatives in the Dutch community, playing Mexican Train, working crossword puzzles and of course, watching sports on T.V. along with game shows and shopping channels. They would attend various functions with retirement home friends, riding on a bus. He would always break out into song and the group, mostly ladies, would always remark on his beautiful voice. This would just make him sing louder and longer!

As Ed's health began to decline and he couldn't drive anymore, he spent countless hours, calling friends and relatives. He was at his best when regaling one and all with his deeds.

Thank you to everyone who heard a story 10 times over and still listened with rapt attention. You did make an old coach very happy! Ed's failing health and loss of independence did not define the man. He can be remembered as a perfectionist, who demanded no more or less from others, than he did of himself; as a man who was undaunted by challenges of any kind; as a defender of right and of those who were wronged; as a jack-of-all trades and master of many; and as a prideful man, proud of his own prowess, yes, but also extremely proud of his athletes, students, friends, relatives and especially of his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. He was most proud, perhaps, of his Friesian heritage.

He came from good solid stock, he would say. This gives his family comfort, knowing he's in his Heavenly Home with his parents, Taeke and Fanny; his siblings, Harry, Arthur, Hilda, Nellie, Helen, and George; in-laws, Leonard and Edna; and sister/brother-in-law, Anna Mae and Harlan, niece/ nephew, Paula and Ted. He also joins his beloved granddaughter, Trisha, her husband, Len Lemire, favorite dog, Duke, and kitty, Blue.

Ed leaves behind a host of friends and family including wife, Clara; daughters, Patricia (Bob) Frick, Theresa (Hershel) Griggs, stepson, Will (Ruth) VanDyken, step-daughter, Karen (Les) Postman; grandchildren, April (Josh) Artzer, Wendy (Greg) Wardlow, Scott Frick, Becky (Dan) Haverfield; great-grandchildren, Jordyn and Scott Artzer, Sierra, Savanna, Cheyenne, and Caden Haverfield; sisterin-law, Merrydell (Hiemstra) Morris; Clara's grandchildren and great-grandchildren; special nieces, nephews, greats and great-greats, and long-time fellow crony, Ray Faraca. "Go Wildcats!"

Special thanks to Ed's many doctors, nurses, caregivers in Bozeman. A huge debt of gratitude to the staff at Spring Creek Inn, truly "angels on earth!"

Go in Peace, Ed, Daddy, Granddad! Your worldly work is finished; rest in the Lord.

A celebration of Ed's life will be on Saturday, September 22 at 3 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Gardens, Richland, WA. There will be a graveside service followed by a time of fellowship at Country Gentlemen, Kennewick, WA. Memorials may be made to your local Hospice or Food Bank. A second memorial service will be held in Kellogg, ID sometime in October.
Published in Tri-City Herald on Sept. 12, 2012