Alberta started her life in Alton, where she was born at home to Ike and Clara E. (Detterman) Huisman. Alberta attended and graduated from Alton High School. While in high school, she enjoyed playing the drums and worked at the OK Café. Following graduation she worked for F.M. Slagel Lumber Company in Alton as a receptionist.
Alberta was united in marriage to James C. VanGronigen on Feb. 21, 1956, in Alton. Jim and Alberta moved to Kansas to start their new life where Jim joined the U.S. Army and they were stationed at Ozark, Ala. While living in Kansas, Alberta and Jim were blessed with a son Gary Lee. After the untimely death of Gary, the couple was thrilled and overjoyed with the privilege of adopting and raising their daughter Carla.
With Jim working for the Department of Defense many moves were in store for the couple. They had lived at Colorado Springs, Colo.; K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich.; Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Minot, N.D.; Vincenza, Italy; Fort Carson, Colo.; and finally Rapid City, S.D.
Le Mars, Iowa was the place of choice for Alberta and Jim as they began their retirement life. Alberta's love of numbers and Jim's love of repairing lawnmowers came together in their business, Jim's Fix It Shop in Le Mars. They operated the business in the warm months and enjoyed wintering in Texas.
Breakfast, morning coffee, and just plain visiting with people about life is what helped to feed Alberta's compassion for people. She cared about what was in their hearts.
Compassion is what led Alberta to volunteer for many charity events to help organizations such as hospitals, American Red Cross, and thrift shops. One of her greatest enjoyments was her children and grandchildren. She loved every minute they were alive and cherished every hug and kiss.
Survivors include her husband of 52 years, Jim of Le Mars; a daughter, Carla Nilson and her husband Loren of Le Mars; a sister, Esther Ewoldt and her husband Burdette of Paullina; a brother, Roger Huisman and his wife Karen of Norfolk, Neb.; two sisters-in-law, Audrey Huisman of St. Ignace, Mich., and Marlys Huisman of Sheldon; a brother-in-law, Ted VanGronigen of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and several aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Alberta was preceded in death by her parents, Ike and Clara E. (Detterman) Huisman; a son, Gary Lee Van Gronigen at age 7 1/2; two grandsons, Kyle Evan Nilson age 6 1/2 and Kole Andrew Nilson age 3 1/2; and two brothers, David and Edward Huisman.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars with the Rev. Jason Larson officiating. Interment will be in the Nassau Township Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday morning from 9:30 a.m. until service time at the church. A time of fellowship will be held immediately following the funeral in the church hall. Interment will follow at 1 p.m. at the cemetery. Arrangements are with the Carlsen Funeral Home of Le Mars.
Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com. A memorial has been established for Hospice of Siouxland.