Hazel Marlene Popma was born to John and Sophie (Klave) Van Whye on Aug. 2, 1915, on a farm near Hawarden. When she was 2 years old, she moved with her family to a farm across the section where she was raised. She attended country elementary school and the children walked the 2 miles to and from school, stopping at their Grandma Van Whye's House for hot chocolate in the winter time on the way home.
She attended Hawarden High School for a few weeks on the sly, until her parents discovered what she was doing and they made her stop. She then attended several technical institutions where she took courses to further her career.
On June 21, 1936, she was united in marriage to Russell Popma in Hawarden. Following their marriage, they moved from one farm to another in the Hawarden vicinity. In 1952, she moved to a farm 7 miles north of Pipestone, Minn., where she employed at the Good Samaritan Village. Two years later, she moved to Le Mars, where she worked at the hospital.
In the 1980s, she returned to Pipestone and worked at the Pipestone County Medical Center. Following her retirement in 1990, she continued to live in her home until January 2007, when she became a resident of the Good Samaritan Communities of Pipestone. Hazel died on Tuesday at the age of 94 years and 29 days.
Hazel was a member of First Lutheran Church in Pipestone. She was baptized Aug. 15, 1915, at the Lutheran Church in Hawarden, where she was also confirmed in 1928 when she was 13 years old. While a member of First Lutheran in Pipestone she taught Sunday School and attended Circle.
Her number one hobby was drawing. She always wanted to be an artist, and she was very good at it. Her cartoon characters were always all over every piece of paper around. If she had no paper, she drew on the kitchen table top.
There was never and probably never will be a mother more devoted to her children than our mom. She gave each of her children a very special place in her heart. She made up songs and sang them to her children and grandchildren. "Little Joe the Wrangler" was everyone's favorite. She would make the children laugh, then cry, and then laugh again as she wove tales of Little Joe.
Mom did a lot of sewing. She made all the children's clothes when they were young. She made quilts, and she embroidered dish towels.
Mom worked extremely hard. As a child, she milked cows before going to school in the mornings. Mom worked in the fields alongside the men of the family both before and after she was married.
Mom had a unique ability to read people. Therefore, her sense of communication was very astute. All her life, people came to her with their personal problems. She had many, many friends of all ages. Mom had a very large garden every summer and canned bushels and bushels of fresh vegetables and fruits. She enlisted help from the children - an experience none of us will forget. They butchered their own meat, and Mom cut it all up and either canned it or froze it.
Mom loved to tease and to have fun. She taught all of her children that it is okay to act silly. There was always a lot of laughter in our family.
She is survived by her six children, Shirley Kallsen and her husband Loren of Bloomington, Minn., Darlene Popma of Denver, Colo., Russell Popma and his wife Lilly of Romona, Calif., Carol Johnson and her husband Ken of Pipestone, Minn., Jerry Popma and his wife Gayle of Pipestone, Minn., and Tom Popma and his wife Brenda of Temecula, Calif.; 15 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; three brothers, Johnnie Van Whye, Robert Van Whye, and Raymond Van Whye and his wife Dorothy, all of Hawarden; one sister, Leona Koopmans, of Ireton; and her good friend, Esther Tracy.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell; her parents; two brothers, Lawrence and Elmer; one sister, Viola Liston; one grandchild, Michael Popma; and one great-great-grandchild, Sami Jo Lange.
Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at First Lutheran Church in Pipestone, with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in New Woodlawn Cemetery in Pipestone. Arrangements by Hartquist Funeral Home, Pipestone Chapel.