Gertrude Kooiman

Funeral services for Gertude Kooiman, 101, of Prairie City, SD will be Friday, December 14, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the Holland Center Christian Reformed Church, south of Lodgepole, SD.  Rev. Henry Mohagen and Rev. Brad Burkhalter will officiate and burial will follow at the Holland Center Cemetery.  Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the Church on Friday.

Gertrude (Vliem) Kooiman was born on April 23, 1917 to Gerrit and Jennie (Beld) Vliem in a sod house.  She was the second of eight children.  She attended grade school at the Bealer country school for eight years.  Gert’s mother died when she was eleven years old so she took over the mother role in their home at a very young age. That loving family responsibility carried on throughout her whole life.  She loved and cared for her own kids, grand kids, great grand kids, neighbor kids, other family member’s kids and even kids that didn’t fit in any of these categories.  All were welcome in her home.

While still young, Gert helped at neighbors cooking, cleaning and babysitting for room and board and small pay, all to help feed family at home.  She traveled to Minnesota during the depression years and worked for a doctor.  When WW II broke out, she returned to Lodgepole to help her dad on the farm and to care for her invalid brother until he died.

On November 22, 1943 she married her best friend, Anthony Kooiman, while he was home on furlough from the army.  She spent one month with him at a Pennsylvania Army Base before he was shipped overseas.  It was October of 1945 before she saw him again. Tony was with the 5th Armored Division and was in many battles such as the Battle of the Bulge. She remembered not hearing from him for weeks and wondering if he would return. She wrote many letters to him and to others to help keep them going with news from home.

When Tony returned from WW II the two of them bought the Kooiman farm from Tony’s dad, where they raised cattle and pigs, and milked cows to sell cream for expenses and food.  While there, they had three children, Darryl, Lauren and Beverly.  Later they bought the Lubbers place southeast of Lodgepole, which had been homesteaded by Gert’s aunt.  There they raised cattle, sheep, hay, and crops.  They lived there together loving, working and enjoying neighbors, family and friends, until May 2008 when Tony died at home.  She remained there at home until fall when she was stranded there during a blizzard.  Gert and one of her best friends, Jenette Poelstra, were without electricity for several days.  After that she moved to her daughter Bev’s home south of Prairie City.  There she spent almost eleven years loving and caring for her grandchildren and great grandchildren and just being a good neighbor to a multitude of visitors.

She belonged to the Christian Reformed Church and was an active member, and taught Sunday School, Bible School and catechism classes.  She quilted at church and at home, giving countless block quilts to others.  Who knows how many covered hangers she made but anyone who visited her probably has one.  She greatly enjoyed her grandchildren and great grandchildren, teaching them to pray, love Jesus, and be honest, loving, and kind. She spent hours reading to all of them.

Gert wrote in her diary:  “ I want to be remembered as a loving wife and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, God Bless us all.”      Signed  Mom

Gertrude passed away on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at her daughter Bev and Iver Heier’s ranch south of Prairie City, SD.

Grateful for having shared in her life are her son, Darryl (Rose) Kooiman, Lodgepole, SD, daughters, Lauren Kooiman, Marysville, WA and Beverly (Iver) Heier, Prairie City, SD, three grandchildren, Sarah (Mark) Porter, Dickinson, ND, Jennifer (Tyler) Mickelson, Mandan, ND and Amanda (Eric) Schuchard, Prairie City, SD, seven great grandchildren, Avery, Brooklyn, Will, Kiley, Jarett, Jozi and Reave, three sisters-in-law, Dorothy Vliem, Lodgepole, SD, Betty Vleim and Gladys Vliem, both of Hettinger, ND.

Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, Gerrit and Jennie Vliem, her husband, Anthony “Tony” Kooiman, seven siblings, Art and Ethyl Vliem, Frank and Arlene Vliem, Henrietta and Arnold Lefebre, Harold, Alfred, Albert and James Vliem and one grandson, Daniel Kooiman.

Condolences to the Kooiman family can be sent through our website at