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Kaldenberg, Wilma L. - 1930-2015


Posted By: Diana Wagner
Date: 5/17/2024 at 11:20:47

Wilma L. Kaldenberg, 85, of Pella and formerly of Lynnville died Oct. 14, 2015. A private family burial service was held prior to the funeral service on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Lynnville Friends Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lynnville Friends Church or World Vision.
Wilma was born Apr. 6, 1930, in the Mahaska County Hospital, Oskaloosa, the third daughter of Hubert and Dora (Van Ommen) Van Gilst. She attended Pleasant View and Pleasant Grove Elementary Schools in Mahaska County and graduated from Pella High School in 1947.
Wilma married Gilbert Steenhoek in October 1950, in her family's home, and they lived on a farm near Galesburg. In December 1950, Gilbert entered the military and was sent to Ft. Benning, GA. During this time, his parents moved to the farm to carry on with the farming operation. Wilma spent time with her parents and grandparents, and six months later joined Gilbert in Ft. Benning. Lila was born during this time in Georgia, and Kyle was born after the family returned to the farm in Iowa. Gilbert died tragically in 1955, when a building he was helping to raze collapsed on him. Wilma, Lila, and Kyle moved to Pella, living in two different homes. During her time in Pella, Wilma did secretary work in both Third Reformed Church and Central College. She married Alfred Vander Werff in December 1961 and with the children moved and enjoyed life on his family farm on the Marion/Jasper County line along the Skunk River. The combined family included Alfred's sons Jim and Larry. About this time, Wilma graduated from Central College and started teaching in Pella and then Lynnville-Sully. In early 1974, Alfred passed away from cancer. On Apr. 6 of that year, Wilma had her first date with Cleo Brush. In October, they were married at the Little Brown Church. Cleo's daughter, Sheryl Van Weelden, was added to the family. Sadly, on Wilma’s 45th birthday in 1975, he passed away, also from cancer after barely completing the new home they were building in Lynnville.
When Lynnville-Sully School needed a resource room for students with learning disabilities, Wilma attended Drake University summers and some evenings to earn her master's degree in special education in 1977. Shortly before this, Wilma married Leon Kaldenberg in 1976. They were married 27 years until his death in 2003. During this time, Wilma enjoyed having Books Etcetera, a home-based Christian book and gift business in the lower level of her home. Leon and Wilma set up their business at the Iowa State Fair for several years, more as a mission than a business.
Wilma accepted Christ as her Savior at an early age and, as a teenager, made a public confession of her faith in Third Reformed Church in Pella. In 1975, she transferred her membership to the Friends Church in Lynnville, embracing the Friends belief in the simplicity of life. At both churches, she was very involved in church ministries, including women's groups and teaching Sunday School. She also directed the senior citizens group and made food for the church quilting group. After her retirement in 1995, she spent time writing, including three weekly columns in local newspapers.
After Leon's death, Wilma completed a four-semester Bible correspondence course and an individualized mentoring program, and was recorded as a minister in the Friends Church, not because of her wish to be a church pastor, but because it was a goal she felt God wanted her to reach.
In May 2012, Wilma moved to Fair Haven East in Pella, as she became aware of some memory issues. In June 2013, she moved to The Cottages where she received excellent care for further physical and mental issues and where she passed away.
As a song that Wilma loved states, "These Jars of Clay are but a Prison." Wilma's body was released and set free in a place she has been longing to go for some time.
Wilma was happiest when she was sharing the faith that had carried her throughout her life, with others, in any way she could. What an example this is for all of us who are left to follow.
Those left to cherish her memory are her children, Lila Turnbull of Pella and Kyle (Cindy McCurry) Steenhoek of Pella; her grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and stepchildren; and their families. Wilma is also survived by her sisters: Tana Mae (Bernie) Van Roekel, Dorothy Vander Linden, and Bernice Dodge.
Source: Hometown Press (Sully, IA); October 21, 2015


Jasper Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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