SIOUX CENTER -- Irene Punt Houtkooper, 89, of Sioux Center, died Tuesday morning, Nov. 4, 2003, at Pleasant Acres Care Center in Hull.
Irene R. Houtkooper was born six miles west of Sioux Center, on May 6, 1914. She was an only child born to Ernest and Fannie (Ramaker) Ruys and was raised on the family farm near Hull. She graduated from Western Christian High School in Hull.
In 1936, she married John Ten Harmsel who died in 1944. Irene married Neal M. Punt in 1945, making their home in Sioux Center. She and Neal were married for 36 years until his death in 1981.
Throughout her life Irene worked in retail at various Sioux Center businesses. She had been an active member of Central Reformed Church of Sioux Center. She sang in choir for over 30 years and participated in women's circle and RCWM.
In 1984, she married Elmer Houtkooper. Elmer preceded her in death in 1984. Irene had been a friend of the Houtkooper Family for over 40 years prior to her marriage to Elmer. She was especially fond of the Houtkooper children and their families. Since Irene was a talented cook, the family enjoyed many wonderful meals together. Irene was also lovingly referred to as "cookie grandma" by the Houtkooper grandchildren because she always had cookies baked for the trip back to college with exactly eight pieces of chocolate in each.
After Elmer's death, Irene moved to the Regency in Sioux Center until her declining health required her to become a resident of Pleasant Acres Care Center in Hull. Even though Irene suffered from periods of confusion, her kind, sweet personality would always shine through.
Surviving are her step-children and their spouses, Virgil and Dittie Houtkooper of Sioux Center, Elaine and Daryl Doorenbos of Le Mars, Vera and Ron Dieck of Hull, Geneva Punt of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Gracia and Ed Long of Ankeny. Irene is also survived by 16 grandchildren: Julie (Scott) Weyen, Steven (Denise) Houtkooper, Stacey (Ron) Mahlke, Pam Doorenbos, Laura (Eric) Kehrberg, Ryan (Kelli) Doorenbos, Susan (Matt) Butz, Scott Dieck, Sarah Dieck, Jill Dieck, Judy Dieck, Jeff Dieck, Kyle Dieck, Jane Ann Wieringa, Mary Lynn (Mike) Score, Sheila Marean and 19 great-grandchildren.
In addition to her husbands, Irene was preceded in death by step-son, Marvin Punt and her parents.
Funeral services will be held tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. at the Central Reformed Church of Sioux Center with the Rev. Van Rathbun officiating. Interment will be Friday in Memory Gardens Cemetery of Sioux Center. Visitation will be today from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Memorial Funeral Home in Sioux Center, and continue from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Central Reformed Church of Sioux Center.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Memorial Funeral Home of Sioux Center.