Delmar Ray Petersma, 81, of Newton passed away peacefully on March 4, 2011, at the Hospice of Jasper County’s Monarch Wing from Lewy Body Dementia. His brain has been donated to research at the University of Iowa.
A funeral service for Del will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at First Lutheran Church in Newton. The family will greet friends after the service in the Fellowship Hall of the church. Cremains will be interred at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, Hospice of Jasper County or First Lutheran Church in Newton.
The son of Henry and Eva Jane (Van Ekeren) Petersma, Del was born on Dec. 17, 1929, in Pella, Iowa. He graduated from Pella High School in the Class of 1947. He served in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Rendova from 1948 to 1950, and he was stationed at the Fleet Sonar School in San Diego, Calif., from 1950 to 1952. He was honorably discharged as an electrician first class. He later attended ISU in the fall of 1953, where he met his future bride, Sharon Lou Arrasmith of Ames. He transferred to the University of Iowa in the fall of 1954, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration in 1956.
Del was united in marriage with Sharon Arrasmith on Sept. 12, 1954, in Ames, Iowa. Del and Sharon had three children, Vicki Rae, Jay Daniel, and a stillborn daughter, Laurie Ann. Del began working for the Maytag Company in the Industrial Engineering Department in 1957, retiring 35.6 years later, in December of 1992, as superintendent of maintenance staff services. An active member of the First Lutheran Church, Del served in many different capacities over the past 50 years. He and Sharon have been patron members of the Newton Community Theatre since its inception and in earlier years he was involved in the staging process of several plays.
Del was a 60-year member of the Masons Lodge #59 AF & AM, Scottish Rite and Za-Ga-Zig Shrine. He also was a member of the Newton Elks Lodge 1270 and the V.F.W. Lodge #1655. Del loved working with wood and was very proud of his yard. Del and Sharon loved to travel, visiting all 48 continental U.S. states, Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Europe and a Panama Canal cruise. Sharon and Del celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren in Cancun, Mexico.
Del is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 56 years, Sharon; his daughter Vicki (Greg) Hill of Mount Joy, Pa.; his son, Dr. Jay Petersma (Janet) of Johnston, Iowa; five grand-daughters, Kristin, Danielle and Amanda Hill of Boston, Mass., Mallory Hill of Mount Joy, Pa., and Bailey Petersma of Johnston, Iowa; two sisters, Betty (Marvin) Vander Werff of Pella, Iowa, and Joyce (Doyle) Lammey, Albert Lea, Minn.; a brother, Melvin (Janice) Petersma of Pella; a brother-in-law, Daniel (Joyce) Arrasmith of Hickory, N.C.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Del was preceded in death by his parents, Eva and Henry Petersma; a daughter, Laurie Ann; his parents- in-law, Lyle and Herman “Dutch” Arrasmith; and all of his aunts and uncles.