Naomi  De Zwarte


Naomi Jean Allen was born near Attica, Iowa, to John Howry Allen and Irene Bell (Ross) Allen on April 4, 1929, the oldest of three children. Naomi was later joined by brother Howard, and nine years later by sister Eneatha. She grew up on the century farm south of Attica and attended rural school where her diary indicates she passed exams to go to high school then boarded with her Aunt Asborene in Knoxville, Iowa to attend Knoxville High School. She graduated at the age of 17 and worked at People's Store until she fell in love with a returning WW II veteran, Carroll Dale De Zwarte, whom she married on June 30, 1947, at the Little Brown Church, Nashua, Iowa.
In 1948, Carroll and Naomi welcomed a baby girl, Martha Eileen, while living in University Park, Iowa, to attend Kletzing College. Carroll attended Bible school there until they moved to Minneapolis to attend Northwestern College. Naomi took classes at both places, but mostly kept the home fires burning. While there they had a son, Steven Dale. After Carroll graduated, his first job took him to Zap, North Dakota, where he taught high school, coached basketball, and preached at a local church. Naomi raised two little ones but also supported Carroll in his coaching role by being the cheerleading squad sponsor. She sewed yards of black and gold material into cheerleading outfits and attended many basketball games and church events. When moving from Minneapolis, toddling Steven got sick. A short time after arriving in Zap, he was diagnosed with polio and was transferred to Bismarck, North Dakota to be in an iron lung for the next six weeks. So to her busy roles, she added train trips to Zap to see her baby son through a window. It about broke her heart when in six weeks he wanted his nurse more than his mommy. After a year there, they moved back to the Knoxville area. While near Knoxville, another son, James Alan, was added to the family. Carroll and Naomi resided in and around Knoxville (Dallas, Lovilia) the rest of their 68 years of married life.
Carroll pastored small churches in Melcher, rural areas in Iowa, and Lovilia over the next years while also working at Ford Motor Company. Naomi was his support in every way entertaining and visiting church groups and friends and family, helping those who were hurting, hosting missionaries and pastors, giving object lessons (now known as children's sermons), doing child evangelism, doing Bible studies and youth groups, chaperoning giggly girl sleep overs and birthday parties, and doing backyard Bible clubs. She was also employed as an aide at the Knoxville Hospital, in the schools as lunchroom aid and classroom volunteer, cook for senior citizens, caterer for private groups of up to 50 or more if it was a wedding. She also quilted and sewed, baked and cooked, cared for her husband and various animals that sometimes made it into Naomi's hospital/kitchen, as well as caring for her growing extended family. Her children gave her four grandchildren, ten great- grandchild, and recently two great- great- grandchildren. Carroll and Naomi did some travel to Israel, Greece, Holland, Belgium, and England, as well as to most of the states including cruises to Hawaii and Alaska. She also accompanied Martha's whole family on a 50th anniversary cruise to the Western Caribbean/Jamaica/Grand Cayman/Cozumel. But her greatest joy was her family. Anything involving them was what made her smile most-and she was known for her smile. Many commented on her smile and positive attitude even in fighting the horrors of cancer. In her last months, she was still able to attend (in a wheelchair) great- grandsons honored by running Iowa State High School Cross Country and playing in the "dome" for Iowa State High School Football championships. She loved hosting her whole family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations this year. Nothing thrilled her more than to have the family near.
In 1973 Carroll and Naomi lost son Jim in a car accident. It was a crushing blow. That was over 45 years ago, but she was so blessed and comforted by her admitting nurse Karol when she entered the Hospice of Pella Comfort House in Pella, Iowa for her final eight days of life on this earth ending on, January 12, 2019, at the age of 89 years. Karol knew Jim and shared that with her when she was admitted. Stories were told, and Naomi was comforted that she had become reacquainted with someone who knew her son after all these years! Carroll went to be with Jesus just three years ago, September 26, 2015, and Naomi missed him terribly. However, she picked herself up and moved into Knoxville, sold their farm, and continued to enjoy her large condo where she could easily host her family, her joy. In August 2017, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given an estimated six months to live. Well, Naomi was always a positive, strong woman, and she beat that prediction by well over a year! She elected not to do conventional cancer treatment because she "didn't want to be sick". She had surgery and then proceeded to live and enjoy her family for not six months, but seventeen plus months. She fought the awful disease bravely until September of 2018 when she fell and broke her ankle and started the gradual decline to the end. Every Step Hospice became involved and finally Hospice of Pella through their Comfort House. She loved her Hospice caretakers just as she loved everyone else that came into her life. She lived life to the fullest, loving her Lord and trying to make Him known to all she knew. Her final Christmas gift, after all the presents were opened, was to tell her family how very much she loved them and wanted to see them all in heaven someday. "I love you so much, but Jesus loves you more."
She is survived by her daughter Martha (George) Rankin of Orange City, Iowa; their son Eric David (Lora) Rankin and their children: Elizabeth, William "Billy", Kohen, and Abbie (Taylor) Dreise and their children, Beckett, and Emersyn; their daughter Kara (Jeff) Van Der Werff and their children: Jakob, Kathryn "Kate", Ian, and Elin; her son Steven (Kathy) De Zwarte of Pella, Iowa and their sons Christopher "Chris" (Jana) De Zwarte, and Nathan (Lacey) De Zwarte and their daughters, Harlow and Kemper.
Naomi leaves her brother Howard (Jeanette) Allen of Knoxville, Iowa and family; her sister Eneatha (Ernest) Rankin of Knoxville and family; sister-in-law, Marilyn (Kenneth) De Zwarte of Knoxville; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loved ones.
Naomi was preceded in death by her son James "Jim", her husband, Carroll; parents, Howry and Irene Allen; Carroll's parents, Arthur and Nellie Gertrude " Gertie" (Jones) De Zwarte; his siblings and spouses: Lorene and John Acklin, Kenneth De Zwarte, Burdette and Evelyn De Zwarte and their daughter Tanya.
Funeral services were held on January 18 at the Faith Baptist Church in Knoxville. Williams Funeral Home in Knoxville was in charge of arrangements.
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Published on January 22, 2019
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