Joel Richard Smidstra, 58, Worthington, died Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at Ava’s House Sanford Hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
A funeral service was Friday, Sept. 11, at the American Reformed Church in Luverne, with burial at Riverview Cemetery in Rock Rapids, Iowa.
Joel Smidstra was born May 3, 1962, to Ben and Lylas (Jurrens) Smidstra in Rock Rapids, Iowa. He grew up and received his education in Luverne. As a young man, Joel helped his father on the farm, which is where his love of animals first began.
At the age of 19, Joel suffered a life-altering car accident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He chose to endure the challenges that ensued and thrive. His family will remember him as a strong person, both physically and mentally, as he continued to push forward despite many setbacks throughout his life. He was known for his sense of humor and hearty laugh.
Joel’s passions included gardening, fishing, bird watching and fish keeping. He liked scary movies, classic westerns, including his favorite, Gunsmoke, and WWE wrestling. He was a fan of the Chicago Bears and enjoyed seeing them defeat the Vikings. He cherished spending time with his family and his pets.
In 2017 Joel moved to Worthington, where he thrived and enjoyed having his own place and being independent.
Joel is survived by his parents, Ben and Lylas Smidstra of Luverne; a brother, Charles Smidstra of Luverne; five nieces and nephews; six great-nieces and six great-nephews; and other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Charles and Reika Smidstra; his maternal grandparents, Everett and Juel Jurrens.
Arrangements were provided by Jurrens Funeral Home of Rock Rapids, jurrensfuneralhome.com.