Wilma J. Buitenwerf, 99, of Prairie City, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at Lantern Park Care Center in Coralville. The family will greet friends from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at Coburn Funeral home in Prairie City. There will be a private family graveside service at Waveland Cemetery following. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the First Reformed Church or the Prairie City Historical Society. Condolences may be left for the family at coburnfuneralhomes.com.
Wilma was born May 15, 1920, at the family home east of Prairie City. Her parents were Govert and Bertha Beintima Van Zee. She attended country school through the eighth grade and high school in Prairie City, graduating in 1937. During her grade school years, she participated in the Jasper County spelling contest. She finished runner-up in the eighth-grade competition.
In 1939, the Prairie City American Legion asked if she would represent Prairie City in the Jasper County Beauty Contest at the July 4th celebration in Newton. She was honored to win the contest amongst a dozen entrants.
After graduation from high school, Wilma stayed on her family farm to help her parents. She married Roy Buitenwerf June 23, 1944, while he was on leave form the Navy during World War II. Roy and Wilma were blessed with two sons, Mark and Michael.
Wilma did not work outside the home but kept busy caring for her family and teaching piano lessons. She also kept busy in the community with neighborhood club, P.E.O., and the Old Settlers Committee.
Wilma was a life-long member of the First Reformed Church of Prairie City where she began playing the piano at age 16 and later the organ until she was in her mid-80s. She was also involved in vocal music while a member of the church.
Those left to honor Wilma’s memory are her two sons, Mark and his wife Eunice and Michael and his wife Betty; four grandchildren, Eric and his wife Ginger, Ryan and his wife Tamara, Tera and her husband Kevin and Tyler and his wife Anita; and nine great-grandchildren, Scott, Bethany, Judah, Eva, Mayson, Isaac, Gavin, Ian and Leah.
Preceding Wilmain death are her seven brothers, Martin, Dick, Chester, Bill, Harry, Raymond and Marion Van Zee; and sister, Katherine Boot.