August 9, 2013


JUNE 18, 1933 — AUG. 7, 2013

The Oskaloosa Herald


Willis Jay Groenendyk, 80, of rural Oskaloosa, died Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, at his home east of Oskaloosa. 

He was born June 18, 1933, at his parent’s home in Cedar.  Willis and his family were charter members of the Christian Reformed Church of Cedar; they started attending there when he was 8 years old.  He made his profession of faith at a young age and was still an active member of that congregation.  He graduated from Pella Christian High School with the class of 1950.  He served his country in the U.S. Army.  Upon his discharge, he returned to Cedar and began his farming career.  On June 13, 1961, he was united in marriage to Eleanor Graves at the Lincoln Center Christian Reformed Church in Grundy Center.  Following their marriage they moved to a farm east of Oskaloosa which has been their home for the last 52 years.  Willis operated a grain and livestock farm.  He enjoyed all aspects of farming, especially raising cattle.  He served in leadership roles for many organizations including Oskaloosa Christian School, Pella Christian High School, Gideon’s International, and Christian Opportunity Center.  He also served as an elder at the Cedar Christian Reformed Church.  In recent years Willis found the winters spent with Eleanor in Mesa, Ariz., were far more enjoyable than Iowa winters.  He delighted in spending time with his family and being on the farm.

His family includes his wife of over 52 years, Eleanor Groenendyk, of rural Oskaloosa; their six children, Carla (and Calvin) Hoogendoorn, of Sioux Falls, S.D., Norma (and Kraig) Roozeboom, of Manhattan, Kan., Marcia (and Norman) Visser, of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, Leon Groenendyk, of rural Oskaloosa, Donna (and Ethan) Brue, of Sioux Center, and Brenda (and Doug) Wichhart, of North Liberty; 15 grandchildren, Sarah, Kaitlin, and Malorie (and fiancé Jacob Van Steenwyk) Hoogendoorn, Andrew (and Jennifer), Rachel, and Jonathan Roozeboom, Derek, Anna, and Adrian Visser, Kinza, Jaren, and Rylan Brue, and Ellie, Nicole, and Dayna Wichhart; a brother, Howard (and Effie) Groenendyk, of Pella; a brother-in-law, Wayne (and Martha) Graves, of Dike; and a sister-in-law, Margene (and Dennis) Eekhoff, of Orange City.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Carol (and Martin) Zylstra.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. in the Christian Reformed Church of Cedar with the Revs. Calvin Hoogendoorn and Norman Visser officiating.  There will be a 9:45 family prayer service in the basement of the church.  Burial will be in the White Oak Cemetery east of Oskaloosa.  Military rites will be given at the funeral home Sunday at 4 p.m. by members of the Oskaloosa American Legion and V.F.W.  The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.  Visitation with the family present will be Sunday afternoon from 1-4 with open visitation to follow until 7 p.m.  Memorials may be made to Gideon’s International.    

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