Clayton D. Vreeman


Clayton Vreeman, 86, of Clara City, died on Thursday, November 19th at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, AZ, from complications of COVID-19. There will be a visitation from 5-7 pm, Monday at Bethany Reformed Church in Clara City. Due to COVID-19 concerns, social distancing and masks are encouraged. Because of exposure concerns, the family will not be present during the visitation. Interment will be in the church cemetery. Funeral arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home.

Clayton Dale Vreeman was born January 29, 1934, in Sioux Center, IA, the son of John and Julia (Hollander) Vreeman. He grew up and attended school in Sioux Center until his family moved to Murdock, MN, when Clayton was 15. On November 10, 1955, Clayton was united in marriage to Inez Zimmer at Raymond Christian Reformed Church. Following their marriage, Clayton served two years in the United States Navy and lived in San Diego CA, where he was stationed. Upon his discharge, they moved to Raymond, MN, for a year before settling in Clara City. In 1958 Clayton formed his excavating company, Vreeman Construction. His three sons took over the business in 1998 but he continued to help them whenever he could. His grandson, Sam Vreeman, joined the business in 2018. Clayton was a member of the Bethany Reformed Church, where he served as a deacon, elder, was involved in Pairs and Spares and many Bible studies. He was active with Land Improvement Contractors of America.

Clayton enjoyed golf, playing cards, traveling, and being out in the sunshine. He had a yearly tradition of his kids treating him to a day of golfing, and every Labor Day, he gathered up as many family members as he could to join him out on the course. He will always be remembered when his family swings a club. When the family got together, a game of cards usually began after the meal. Clayton loved a good game of buck and was usually found at the winners table with a cold Coke in his hand. He loved traveling, but his summers at Games Lake and the cruises he took with his family are some of the best memories to look back on. It’s how he earned the title of Silver Fox!

Clayton loved to be with his family, but his greatest love was for his Savior, Jesus Christ. He was baptized as an infant, but wanted to publicly proclaim his love for Jesus so was baptized again with Inez at the church they attended in Mesa. Clayton will be remembered for his soft heart and never feeling ashamed of his tears as he prayed over family meals. Everyone knew that they had a prayer warrior in him.

Although Inez passed away in 2014, Clayton continued to enjoy winters in Mesa. He married Elaine Kragt on March 19, 2016 in Mesa. They loved to travel and enjoyed life together.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine; his children: Terry (and Laurie) Vreeman of Spicer, Rhonda (and Dan) Freiborg of Sacred Heart, Joel (and Sherri) Vreeman of Willmar, and Nathan (and Wendi) Vreeman of Willmar; 14 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren; Elaine’s sons, Michael in Italy, Wayne, Warren and Kevin from Washington; and Elaine’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Also surviving are siblings: Fran TerWisscha of Lynden WA, Dorothy (Marty) Shockley of Willmar, Marvin (Ruby) Vreeman of Willmar, Joan Rens of Sioux Center IA, Marlys (Dale) VanderRiet of Mille Lacs and John (Linda) Vreeman of Osseo; sisters-in-law and brothers-in law, Evelyn Vreeman of Sioux Center IA, Jan Vreeman of Bellingham WA, Jim Zuidema of Willmar, Lester and Wilimine TerWisscha of Clara City and John and Janice Zimmer of Clara City, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, Inez; grandchildren, Summer Vreeman and Jon Schroeder; brothers, Gerald and Dennis, sister, Gladys, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Bruno and Grace Asche, Harry and Marilynne Zimmer, Gerald TerWisscha, Harvey Slagter, and Bill Rens.

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