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Alvin E. Epema June 13, 1934 - Sept. 3, 2008

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WILLMAR -- Alvin Earl Epema, 74, of Willmar, died Wednesday at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Willmar Christian Reformed Church. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association.

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Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the church and one hour prior to the service Saturday. Arrangements are by Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar.

He was born June 13, 1934, in Crookston to Sietze and Frances (Blokzyl) Epema. As a young child, he moved with his family to the Renville and later Morton area, where he grew up and received his education.

He married Gloria Mae Kamstra on June 11, 1954, in Raymond. They lived in rural Willmar and he worked for Chard Lumber Company. He did carpentry work for a short time and then started his own company, Epema Construction. Alvin was in the construction field for about 40 years before retiring in about 1997.

He was a member of Willmar Christian Reformed Church and served on the Church Council, was a deacon and elder, helped with the Friendship Program, taught Sunday School for several years and managed the church softball teams over the years. They were foster parents for 25 years, fostering 36 children over the years. They have wintered in Florida for the past 12 years.

He is survived by his wife; two sons: Michael Epema of Sioux Center, Iowa, and Randall (and Kim) Epema of Ada, Mich.; two daughters: Gwendolyn (and Neil) Kraay of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Melanie (and Leon) Negen of Pella, Iowa; eight grandchildren; one great-grandson; one brother: Merle (and Rose) Epema of Clara City; and two sisters: Helen (and Stanley) Hoekstra of Roseland and Lorraine (and Dennis) DeGrote of Clara City.

He was preceded in death by one brother and one sister.

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