Kathleen  Fopma


Kathleen Marie Nikkel was the first of six children born to Henry and Bertha (Sjaardema) Nikkel on December 9, 1923, on a farm near Galesburg, Iowa. She was a part of a home that was centered on a deep love for Jesus, treasured family, found joy in work, cultivated a love of music, gifted with gardening ability, and abilities to create delightful home cooked meals and delicacies. These treasured items would accompany and shape Kathleen throughout her life. Kathleen was baptized and later, on January 21, 1945, made profession of her faith at the Sully Christian Reformed Church in Sully.
Kathleen graduated from the one room school house known as Richland #4 Highland School. Kathleen took great pride in her education, and her love for education continued through life as she was a steady encourager of her children and grandchildren as they pursued learning. She developed a broad word knowledge and displayed it most vividly in scrabble games, assembling words most had never heard but yet were consistently verified in her always present dictionary.
In 1943 a relative introduced Kathleen to Charles Fopma and they were married on December 6, 1945. Kathleen and Charles made a living farming on various farms before settling near Killduff, Iowa. During those years Kathleen and Charles were blessed with five children: Barbara Jean, Betty Joy, Kathy Sue, Calvin Charles and Steven Lee. Their home was filled with a love for Jesus, and Kathleen modeled a servant heart as she faithfully cared for her family and generously used her gifts to support the church, Sully Christian School, and individuals and families in their times of need.
A massive garden was always maintained to support the hearty appetites of the family as it grew and expanded. That garden not only provided for food but also became a venue for learning the value of work done well. Kathleen insisted on a clean and tidy home, and the family labor force was well trained to help her accomplish that goal. Kathleen became a master pie maker and could make home-made bread and cinnamon rolls that still make mouths water just thinking about it.
In 1954 Kathleen contracted a brain stem dysfunction that caused severe neck tremors. That disease would not be properly diagnosed for 35 years and while it caused much pain and difficulty, Kathleen pressed on in modeling faithfulness even in difficult circumstances.
In 1985 Kathleen & Charles moved to Pella, Iowa and in the later years of her life Kathleen spent hours creating beautiful quilts that are beloved treasures of her family. Following the passing of Charles in 1998, Kathleen lived independently until 2015 when she moved into the Hearthstone community at Fair Haven East; after a stroke in early 2017 she moved to The Cottages. On November 5, 2018 she was ushered into her heavenly home where she will live eternally having attained the earthly age of 94 years.
Kathleen is survived by the following children, grandchildren and great grand-children:
Barbara and Allen Kopaska of Pella, Iowa, Jeff & Kristy Kopaska and children Alexa, Cassie and Brianna of Ames, Iowa,Jennifer and Richard Van Oord and children Jack and Jacob of New Brunswick, Canada,Jeanine & Craig Broek and children Ellen and Cora Mae of Denver, Colorado, Jim & Laura Kopaska and daughter Hadley of Denver, Colorado
Betty and Arvan Van Zee of Pella, Iowa, Merlin and Magon Van Zee and children Ty, Meadow and Amos of Burlington, Iowa,Julie and Kevin De Zwarte and children Miriam, Hannah, Alton and Madeline of Kellogg, Iowa
Kathy and Marvin Steenhoek of Monroe, Iowa, Kendra & Ian Beckjorden and children Bailee, Bella and Breyten of Monroe, Iowa, Lisa Steenhoek of Monroe, Iowa
Calvin and Sharon Fopma of Leighton, Iowa,Daniel & Tiara Fopma and children Denver and Tenleigh of Knoxville, Iowa,Leah & Matthew Dorr of Ashton, Iowa
Steve and Sharon Fopma of Lynnville, Iowa,Samuel and Megan Fopma and children Simon and Madelyn of Sioux Center, Iowa,Seth Fopma of Brookings, South Dakota, Sarah and Devin Holesinger of Sioux Center, Iowa, Sharlee Fopma of Lynnville, Iowa.
Kathleen is also survived by the following siblings and their spouses: William (Bill) and Lillian Nikkel, Alice (Jean) and Verlan Engle of Pella, Iowa; and sisters-in-law: Joyce Nikkel, and Grace Beyer of Pella, Theda Fopma of Grinnell, Iowa, Wally (Waltressa) Fopma and Sylvia Nieuwsma of Pella. Kathleen was preceded in death by her husband Charles Fopma, an infant daughter at birth, her grandchild Matthew Steenhoek, great- grandchild Lily Kopaska Broek; her parents, Henry and Bertha Nikkel and her step-father, Dick Hugen; her parents-in-law, Simon and Jennie (Jansen) Fopma; the following siblings and their spouses: Dewey and Betty Nikkel, Joyce and Gilbert Bandstra, Robert Nikkel; and brothers-in-law: Harold Beyer, Bernie Fopma, Donald Fopma and Henry Nieuwsma.
Funeral services were held on Friday, November 9, at the Faith Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Memorials may be given for The Table (church planting ministry of Craig & Jeanine Broek) in Denver, CO or the Sully Christian Grade School. Van Dyk -Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
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Published on November 12, 2018
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