Sioux County, Iowa



Neal Van Roekel was the first child born to Henry C. & Allie (Vander Ploeg) Van Roekel on January 7, 1905 at the farm located 4 1/2 miles west of SiouxCenter. Dena Sneller was born on April 9, 1905 to Henry & Dena (Koerselman) Sneller. They were married in the parsonage of the First Reformed Church by the Rev. Fred Lubbers on February 15, 1928 with only the parents of the couple in attendance.

Neal attended rural school for seven years and then had to stay home and help with the farm work. When he was 15 years old his father bought their first car and Neal got to drive it and felt pretty proud.

After their marriage Neal and Dena began farming, renting a 60-acre farm two miles west of Sioux Center, where they lived for one year. They then moved further west and farmed for 9 years near Highland, then they rented 160 acres 3 miles east of Sioux Center where they lived for 19 years. In the early 1930's sows were sold for $1.85 a hundred and times ware very hard. During those hard years they also experienced many severe dust storms. Electricity came to the farm in the late 1940's.

There ware the good times also. Working closely with the neighbors during oat harvesting time, followed by a "threshers picnic" marked the end of the summer harvest time. Of course, there always were the annual school picnics that nobody wanted to miss.

Neal Van Roekel Family, about 1935 L-R: Del-
mar (3 Dec. 27 was 2), Neal, Alvina (6 Dec. 29
was 5), Dena, Gerald (1 yr. March), Bernice
(4 Oct. 19 was 3) Van Roekel

In 1957 Neal and Dena built a new house in Sioux Center where they lived for 17 years. They then sold that house and bought another one at the south end of Sioux Center where they still reside.
Neal served on the consistory of the First Reformed Church of Sioux Center, as well as on the Board of the Co-op Creamery. After moving to town he was employed by the Community School as school bus supervisor, he operated the city street sweeper, and also drove a livestock and grain truck for local truckers. The first vacation they took was when they went to Denver, Colorado to get their daughter who had been working there.

The following children ware born to Neal and Dena:
1. Alvina, born Dec. 29, 1928 at Sioux Center. She married Donald Van Gorp on August 29, 1950 at the Little Brown Church at Nashua, Iowa. They have five children and raside at rural Clarkfield, Minnesota.
2. Bernice was born October 19, 1930 at Ireton, IA. She married James Moss on July 18, 1951 at Sioux Center, and farm east of Sioux Center. They have four children.
3. Delmar was born December 27, 1931 at Ireton, and at the age of 6 years he became ill with scarlet fever, was sick for less than a week, and passed away on Feb. 1, 1937. They ware quarantined and the funeral service was held the following day outside the farm home on a cold winter day.
4. Gerald was born March 5, 1934 at Ireton. He married Darlene Doornink on June 28, 1955 at Sioux Center. They farm north of Carmel and have five children.

Neal and Dena presently have three children, 14 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.

by Ellen Van Roekel

Source: Sioux Center Iowa 1991 Centennial Book--Family Contributor, Mary Haverhals


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