John Tilstra

John Tilstra

John Howard Tilstra, 88, Hills, died Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, at Sanford Luverne Hospital in Luverne.

A funeral service was Friday, Sept. 23, at the Reformed Church of Steen. Burial followed in the Eastside Cemetery near Steen.

John Tilstra was born Feb. 24, 1928, to Cornelius and Fannie (Hommes) Tilstra in Rock Rapids, Iowa. He grew up in Rock Rapids and attended school, graduating from the eighth grade.

On Dec. 11, 1947, he married Anna Nyhuis in Rock Rapids. The couple farmed various places in Minnesota throughout their life together. They lived on a farm near Beaver Creek from 1947 to 1962, northeast of Hills from 1962 to 1977, and on a new farmstead near Hills from 1977 to 2007. John not only farmed throughout his life but he also drove school bus for the Hills-Beaver Creek school district for 26 years. He retired from farming in 1992 and moved to Hills in 2007. Because of declining health, he moved into the Tuff Memorial Home in Hills in 2010.

John was a member of Valley Springs Reformed Church in Valley Springs, South Dakota, for fifteen years. He was active as a Sunday school and catechism teacher, served as a deacon, and sang in a quartet. After moving to their second farm, he became a member of the Reformed Church of Steen. In his spare time he enjoyed oil and acrylic painting, woodworking, playing the harmonica and listening to music from opera to country. He also liked to garden and fish. He enjoyed taking trips with his family. A fond memory the family has was John’s creative cooking.

John is survived by his wife, Anna Tilstra, Hills; four children, Ray (Ginny) Tilstra, DeKalb, Illinois, Linda (Howard) Soehl, Howell, Michigan, John (Leesa) Tilstra, Brandon, Wisconsin, and Cindy (Bob) Gannon, Marcus, Iowa; nine grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; two brothers, Arvin (Cena Mae) Tilstra, Steen, and Ferdinand (Bernice) Tilstra, Hills; one sister, Inez (Don) Hoogeveen, Le Mars, Iowa; several nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Raymond, Fred and Cornelius Tilstra; and a sister-in-law, Evelyn Tilstra.

Arrangements were by Jurrens Funeral Home of Hills,

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