Wilma "Billie"'s Story

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Wilma Meppelink was born on November 1, 1925, on her family farm near Sully. She was the fourth of five children born to Bert and Jennie (Vos) Meppelink of Sully. Wilma passed away Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at The Hearthstone Cottages in Pella at the age of 91.

Wilmas youth was as a tomboy on the family farm. She loved growing up on a farm and felt secure during the Depression and other economically challenging times because she knew that she would always have food. Billie attended the first three years of high school at Sully High School and graduated from Pella Christian High School in 1942, in the second graduating class. While in high school she was given the nickname Billie, which stayed with her during her entire life. She made profession of her faith at the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella and later became a charter member of the Calvary Christian Reformed Church, also in Pella.

Billies work ethic was strong. She held a variety of jobs in her youth - at Jack Sprat Food Store, Vander Ploegs Bakery, Vande Voorts Cash Grocery and J.C. Penney. Billie met John Vandevoort when her family moved to Pella and joined the First Christian Reformed Church. They were married during Johns home leave from the Pacific war on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1944, at her mothers residence near Pella. This union was blessed with four sons: Kenneth John, Robert James, Joel Keith and Jay. Her husband John left this earth on January 28, 2012.

Billie enjoyed her work as a full time, stay-at-home mom. She was active in her childrens education and activities, especially music. Her passion for reading was instilled in her sons and she introduced them to Pellas Carnegie Library early in their lives. Billie really enjoyed serving as a Cub Scout den mother as well as one the of the original Calvinette leaders in her church. Family came first in her life and she received great happiness in loving her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

After her sons were grown, Billie returned to work part time at Central College and later worked full time and retired from Central College.

Billie enjoyed traveling and the adventure that her trips have brought her. Family vacations were frequently spent out west in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. When the children were grown, Billie took John on worldwide adventures, travelling to four continents. She was especially fond of Thailand and knew Bangkok well and celebrated one of Johns birthdays on the island of Phuket. She also enjoyed visiting the island of Tinian in the Marianas where John was stationed during WWII.

Still her most favorite trips were to the Netherlands and to the village of Genderen where her mother was born and to Dodewaard where Johns father was born. Her last visit to Dodewaard was especially memorable as they met so many members and generations of the extended family. Billie regretted that she and John did not move to Holland for a couple of years in their retirement, especially since the Dutch language was not a barrier to them.

Among those who will cherish her memory are her children and their spouses: Ken and Carol Vandevoort of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; Bob and Leslie Vandevoort of Ahwatukee, Arizona; Joel and Marti Vandevoort of Las Vegas, Nevada; and Jay Vandevoort of Miami, Florida. She also leaves six grandchildren: Julie OBarr; Jim Vandevoort (Vanessa); Jill Sheldon (Rick); Jon Vandevoort; Laurel Vandevoort; and Bret (Ajla) Vandevoort. There are eight great-grandchildren: Andy, Caitlin and Ciara OBarr; Brooke, Madison and Christian Sheldon; Matthew and Gabriella Vandevoort. Also surviving is her sister-in-law Carolyn Meppelink and several nieces and nephews.

Preceding Billie in death were her husband, her parents, parents-in-law, sisters Gertrude Meppelink, Claziena Meppelink, and Jane Bos; brother John Meppelink; sisters-in-law Evelyn Meppelink, Wilma Vanden Oever, Grada Vander Hart and Bernice Vandevoort; brothers-in-law Peter Bos, Marion Vanden Oever, Henry Vandevoort and Godert Vander Hart.

Memorial services were held on Thursday, April 27, at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Memorial donations may be given to Calvary Christian Reformed Church Video Ministry or Pella Community Foundation. Garden Chapel was in charge of arrangements.
Published on April 21, 2017
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