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Harmina Van Westen
(October 31, 1926 - December 12, 2008)


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Harmina Van Westen

Sibley, Iowa

Harmina Van Westen, age 82 of Sibley, IA died Friday, December 12, 2008 at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley.

Funeral service will be 1:00 PM, Tuesday, December 16th at First Presbyterian Church in Sibley, IA.

Burial will be at Holman Township Cemetery in Sibley.

Visitation will be Monday, December 15th from 3:00 – 8:00 PM, with the family present from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Sibley.

Harmina “Harmie” Van Westen was born October 31, 1926 near Fulda, Minnesota, the daughter of Harm and Anna (Husgus) Risius. She attended country school until their family moved to Iowa in 1943. She attended the Sibley Community Schools and graduated from Sibley High School in 1945. After her schooling she remained living in Sibley and worked at the Osceola County Creamery and Ben Franklin store in Sibley.

She was united in marriage on January 7, 1947 to Lawrence Van Westen at Harmie’s parent’s home in Sibley. After a short period of time living in Sibley, the couple moved to a farm northwest of Sibley, where they raised four of their five children. Harmie also helped with the day to day operation of the farm. In 1963, Harmie and Lornie moved into Sibley to a home which is now home to daughters Karen and Connie. While living in Sibley, Harmie became known as the local baby sitter and “mom” to many, many community children. In 1977, Harmie and Lornie, along with their youngest child, Jeff, moved to Royal, IA. Once settled in Royal she continued to offer child care and her home quickly filled up with children. She also worked evenings at the Prime Rib for many years, which at that time was located in Royal. She enjoyed cooking, search-a-word puzzles, latch hook and watching game shows and soap operas on TV.

In 2002, due to failing health, Harmie and Lornie moved back to Sibley. In 2006, Harmie lost her husband, Lawrence after 59 years of marriage. Harmie remained in their apartment until becoming a resident at Country View Manor in August of 2008.

This past Friday, December 12, 2008 Harmie died at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, IA at the age of 82.

Her family will remember their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother as a strong, loving person, who defined the definition of a caregiver.

Left to cherish her memory are five children, Karen Van Westen of Sibley, IA, Larry (Donna) Van Westen of Spencer, IA, Gregory “Greg” Van Westen of Des Moines, IA, Connie Van Westen of Sibley, IA and Jeffrey (Renee) Van Westen of Royal, IA; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Cavell (Emily) Van Westen and children, Carson, Keagan, and Kennedy of Sibley, IA, Michal (Jody) Van Westen and children, Shaylee and Phillip of Little Rock, IA, Cary (Jason) Rueter and children, Skylar, Nicholas and Cora of Sibley, IA, and Keira and Ryan Van Westen of Royal, IA; two sisters, Henrietta (Ailt) Aielts of Bigelow, MN and Trena (Marvin) De Vries of Sibley, IA; a brother-in-law, Ralph B. Roelfs of Sheldon, IA; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews; and other extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Harm and Anna Risius; husband, Lawrence Van Westen; and a grandson, Christian Van Westen; an infant brother; an infant sister, Trentje, an adolescent sister, Trentje; five sisters, Mary Erickson, Greta Vietor, Anna Feltman, Clausina Wiener and Jeanette Roelfs .

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