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John Oolbekkink June 23, 1921 - Dec. 22, 2012

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John Oolbekkink, age 91, of Luverne died on Saturday, December 22, 2012, at GlenOaks Care Center in New London. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at the American Reformed Church in Luverne, MN. Burial will be at Luverne Memorial Gardens in Luverne, MN. A visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Gideons, Rice Hospice, or the American Reformed Church.

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John Oolbekkink was born in Sheldon, Iowa, on June 23, 1921, the son of Edward and Nancy (Koerselman) Oolbekkink. He grew up on a farm near Newkirk. John married Angeline Marie DeGraaff on February 14, 1946. Together they were blessed with three children: Edward, Beth, and Raymond.

Farming was John’s love. He and Angeline farmed his family’s farm near Newkirk until God led them to move to Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was there that son Ed would have the opportunity to attend a day activity center for disabled children, while John provided for his family by working as a carpenter.

The family moved to Minnesota and bought a farm in Rock County in 1959. John was a hard worker and steward of the land, utilizing organic farming methods long before anyone had heard the term going "green" (unless they were referring to his favorite tractor, a John Deere, that is.) In 1983, John and Angie retired and moved to Luverne, where John worked part-time as a janitor at the Luverne National Guard Armory for the next ten years.

Throughout, John was an active member of the American Reformed Church in Luverne, serving as a deacon and elder, Sunday School and catechism teacher, and choir member. He also acted as the visitation director after retirement from farming. John loved being a member of the Gideons and the Senior Saints, an all-mens’ gospel choir. Favorite past-times for John and Angeline included square skipping in their younger years, visiting with friends and relatives, and playing cards.

In June of 2011, the couple moved to New London to be closer to their daughter, Beth.

John is survived by his wife, Angeline; daughter, Beth (and Jay) Gravley of New London; son, Raymond Oolbekkink of Round Lake; four grandchildren: Elyse (and Eric) Hagen of New London, Joshua (and Kim Erickson) Gravley of Lake Lillian, Jason (and Britni) Gravley of Pennock, and Tyler Oolbekkink of Round Lake. John is also survived by six great-grandchildren: Broc, Cayden, Emersyn, Jett, Channing, and Porsha; and one sister, Geneva Kramer of Sheldon, Iowa.

John was preceded in death by son Edward, and sisters, Bernice Oolbekkink, Gertrude Kleinwolterink, Geraldine Fonkert, Edna Brinkman, and Ruth DeJong.

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