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Fopma, Kathleen Marie Nikkel - 1923-2018


Posted By: Diana Wagner
Date: 5/17/2024 at 11:17:52

Kathleen Marie (Nikkel) Fopma, 94, of Pella, passed away late Monday evening, Nov. 5, 2018, at The Cottages in Pella. Funeral services were held Nov. 9 at Faith Christian Reformed Church, Pella. Interment was in Sully Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be designated for The Table-Denver, CO (church planting ministry of Craig and Jeanine Broek) or Sully Christian School.
Kathleen Marie Nikkel was the first of six children born to Henry and Bertha (Sjaardema) Nikkel on Dec. 9, 1923, on a farm near Galesburg. She was a part of a home that was centered on a deep love for Jesus, treasured family, found joy in work, cultivated a love of music, gifted with gardening ability, and abilities to create delightful home cooked meals and delicacies. These treasured items would accompany and shape Kathleen throughout her life. Kathleen was baptized and later, on Jan. 21, 1945, made profession of her faith at the Sully Christian Reformed Church.
Kathleen graduated from the one room school house known as Richland #4 Highland School. Kathleen took great pride in her education, and her love for education continued through life as she was a steady encourager of her children and grandchildren as they pursued learning. She developed a broad word knowledge and displayed it most vividly in Scrabble games, assembling words most had never heard but yet were consistently verified in her always present dictionary.
In 1943, a relative introduced Kathleen to Charles Fopma and they were married on Dec. 6, 1945. Kathleen and Charles made a living farming on various farms before settling near Killduff. During those years, Kathleen and Charles were blessed with five children: Barbara Jean, Betty Joy, Kathy Sue, Calvin Charles, and Steven Lee. Their home was filled with a love for Jesus, and Kathleen modeled a servant heart as she faithfully cared for her family and generously used her gifts to support the church, Sully Christian School, and individuals and families in their times of need.
A massive garden was always maintained to support the hearty appetites of the family as it grew and expanded. That garden not only provided for food but also became a venue for learning the value of work done well. Kathleen insisted on a clean and tidy home, and the family labor force was well trained to help her accomplish that goal. Kathleen became a master pie maker and could make homemade bread and cinnamon rolls that still make mouths water just thinking about them.
In 1954, Kathleen contracted a brain stem dysfunction that caused severe neck tremors. That disease would not be properly diagnosed for 35 years, and while it caused much pain and difficulty, Kathleen pressed on in modeling faithfulness even in difficult circumstances.
In 1985, Kathleen and Charles moved to Pella, and in the later years of her life, Kathleen spent hours creating beautiful quilts that are beloved treasures of her family. Following the passing of Charles in 1998, Kathleen lived independently until 2015 when she moved into the Hearthstone community at Fair Haven East; after a stroke in early 2017, she moved to The Cottages. On Nov. 5, 2018 she was ushered into her heavenly home where she will live eternally having attained the earthly age of 94 years.
She is survived by five children: Barbara (Allen) Kopaska of Pella, Betty (Arvan) Van Zee of Pella, Kathy (Marvin) Steenhoek of Monroe, Calvin (Sharon) Fopma of Leighton, Steve (Sharon) Fopma of Lynnville; 14 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren.
Kathleen is also survived by the following siblings and their spouses: William “Bill” (Lillian) Nikkel and Alice “Jean” (Verlan) Engle of Pella; and sisters-in-law: Joyce Nikkel and Grace Beyer of Pella, Theda Fopma of Grinnell, Wally (Waltressa) Fopma, and Sylvia Nieuwsma of Pella.
Kathleen was preceded in death by her husband Charles Fopma, an infant daughter at birth, grandchild Matthew Steenhoek, great-grandchild Lily Kopaska Broek, her parents, her stepfather Dick Hugen, her parents-in-law, Simon and Jennie (Jansen) Fopma; the following siblings and their spouses: Dewey and Betty Nikkel, Joyce and Gilbert Bandstra, Robert Nikkel; and brothers-in-law: Harold Beyer, Bernie Fopma, Donald Fopma, and Henry Nieuwsma.
Source: Hometown Press (Sully, IA); November14, 2018


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