Vernon G. Kooiker

Vernon G. Kooiker, age 87, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and formerly of Sheldon passed away on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at the Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The funeral service will be at 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at the United Presbyterian Church in Boyden, Iowa with Rev. Kevin Gingerich ~ officiating. Burial will be in the Sheridan Township Cemetery in Boyden, Iowa with Military Graveside Honors by the Sheldon American Legion McGlothlen-Cowie Post #145.

Visitation will be Wednesday, January 8, 2014 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Boyden, Iowa.

Memorials will be distributed to various Children Foundations by the Family

 The Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Boyden is in charge of Arrangements

Online memorial condolences may be sent to:

Vernon Glenn Kooiker, son of Nick J. and Lena Salie-Kooiker passed away Saturday, January 4, 2014 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Vern was born April 27, 1926 in rural Sheldon, Iowa. The third of five children, he was raised on a farm near Boyden, Iowa. Upon graduation from Boyden High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May, 1943. He served during WWII until his discharge, March 1946. Vern attended Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, Iowa and soon returned home to Northwest Iowa where he met the love of his life, Muriel. Vern and Muriel were united in marriage November 20, 1947 in Boyden. The beginning of a life of team work, dedication to each other, their children and their future. Vern farmed with his father and remained in the Navy Reserve. Ultimately, Vern was called back to active duty April 1951 to April 1952; serving on a flagship during the Korean Conflict. Vern and Muriel started their farming operation, “Speedway Turkey Ranch” East of Sheldon in 1959. They worked side-by-side, building the farm site, nurturing the land, their family and their dreams. A man of “Many Hats”, Vern was accomplished in all phases of farming, construction, mechanics. During these years, Vern remained in the Navy Reserves, served as commander of the V.F.W. post in Sheldon for 30 years, became active in the Navy Chief’s Association, the Harley Owners Group and the Shrine Motor Corp. Vern still had time to pursue his passion for woodworking, creating impeccably crafted furniture from his workshop. He was sure to include a tree-house, clubhouse, horses and a skating rink on the farm. The boys, including his grandson got hands-on go cart building, Vern and Muriel retired, moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2003.

A man of excellence, meticulous and methodical, Vern had high expectations of himself as well as others. He was a good steward of the land and relationships, always putting more back than he took. Vern loved the ocean and the sun rises off the bridge of the naval ships he served on. He could whistle like a bird and dance if he had to. Vern loved God, his family and his country. He had a soft spot for people down on their luck and children. Oyster stew, a thick steak, all of Muriel’s cooking; a cold beer and ice cream were among his favorites. Vern was a fair man, curious, engaging, brilliant and interested. Kind and gentle. A man of few words; those who knew him well know those words were true, profound and often quite witty. He taught primarily by his display of work ethic, humility, generosity and compassion. Vern created and leaves us with his legacy of love. We are proud and blessed to call him; husband, dad, grandpa, brother and friend.

Especially grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Muriel, Sioux Falls; his son, Bradley and wife, Linda; son, Douglas; daughter, Susan and husband, Bob Nelimark; grandson, Robert Strozdas, all of Sioux Falls South Dakota. Vern’s siblings, John and wife, Minnie of Crystal, Minnesota; Wilfred and wife, Dorothy of Sheldon, Iowa; Shirley and Paul Kamminga of Everett, Washington and a host of other relatives and friends.

Vern was preceded in death by his parents; mother-in-law, Coba Vande Garde; his sister, Marjorie and husband, Richard Van Dyke; son-in-law, Rodney Strozdas and his beloved grand daughter, Melissa Strozdas.

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