Elisabeth  Van Horn


Elisabeth Ann Kempkes was born March 6, 1932, in Pella, Iowa, the third child of Tunis and Jeanette DeVries Kempkes. She attended Pella Public Schools, graduating from Pella High School in 1950. She was an attendant to the Pella Tulip Queen for two years in 1950 and 1951.
Elisabeth, or better known as "Ish," attended Central College in Pella, and graduated in 1954, majoring in mathematics. After graduating she taught second grade school at Roosevelt Elementary School in Ames, Iowa until December 1960. She was loved by her students and their parents and had heard from several of her former students in her later years. She had many fond memories of this time in her life, such as living in the dormitory at Central her senior year, as well as time spent meeting new friends and the excitement of her success in teaching while in Ames.
Elisabeth married David Van Horn of Des Moines, Iowa on June 21, 1960, at Second Reformed Church. Their daughter, Deborah Jane was born the following April and David Alan, Jr was born almost five years later. They initially resided in Ames and then moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where David, Sr was on faculty at Lehigh University. In June of 1974 she moved back to Pella with the children and the couple was divorced shortly after.
Elisabeth worked at Enduro Corporation in Pella from 1978 to 1984. After son David graduated from high school, she moved to Biloxi, Mississippi to be close to her brother and his family there and worked as an administrative assistant for Gulf Coast Community College. She missed Pella greatly, and returned in 1989.
She lived a quiet life, volunteering at Work of Our Hands for several years. A group of her high school classmates started regularly gathering for lunch and this added some brighter moments to life. As she aged and needed more assistance, she decided to move to Salem, Virginia to be close to Debbie. She lived in an independent apartment in a senior complex for about 6 years before falling and breaking her hip. She lived a little over 5 years in assisted living after that. Elisabeth had an impressive collection of VHS and DVD videos, numbering in the 100's. Any movie with a WW II theme was a favorite. She enjoyed watching college sports on TV and was a voracious reader. She also loved sharing a cup of tea with family or friends and always maintained a wicked sense of humor.
On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, Elisabeth passed away in the Joseph C Thomas Center at Richfield in Salem, Virginia at the age of 86 years. Her family was the most important thing in her life and she enjoyed being a mom, grandma, and Auntie Ish to her nieces and nephews and their children.
She is survived by: Daughter: Debbie (VanHorn) Werner and her husband, Mark of Minneapolis, MN, Elisa Werner Cook and her husband, Tim of Greensboro, NC, Claire Elisabeth Cook, Caleb Joseph Cook; Kristen Werner Ackert and her husband, Danny of St Paul, MN. Son: David VanHorn and his wife, Diana of Houston, TX.
Of her original family she leaves only her sister-in-law, Anne Kempkes of Jackson, Mississippi. Elisabeth was preceded in death by her parents, Tunis and Jeanette Kempkes, her sister and brother-in-law, Virginia and John P. VerMeer, her brother, Philip Kempkes and her sister, Mary Kempkes.
Memorial services were held on Friday, December 28, at the Second Reformed Church in Pella. Van Dyk - Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
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Published on December 31, 2018
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