All of John Zevenbergen’s days were determined by his loving and wise Creator before one of them came to be. The seventh of eight children, he was born on February 19, 1913 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to John and Suzanna Zevenbergen. At the age of seven, John came to America with his family. “Uncle Julius” was farming in Iowa and urged his brother, John Sr., to bring his family to “The Land of Opportunity”. The boat trip on “The Ryndam” was challenging for a family who could only afford passage on the lower deck. They landed at Ellis Island and took an over-loaded train to Ocheydan, Iowa where Uncle Julius met them and took them to Orange City, Iowa. John attended school at the Christian School in Orange City. Later, when his family moved to a farm, John completed his schooling at a country school. He was a life-long member of the Reformed Church of America, and often wore his pin that showed perfect attendance at Sunday School for seven years. Every Sunday night, the young men would bring their Model A Ford cars to “Christian Endeavor” (their youth group) and enjoy taking the young ladies home after the meeting. It was on one of those times, in 1936, he met the love of his life, Blanche Luchtenburg, and they were married on February 15, 1939. To this union seven children were born: Susan, Geraldine, Joyce, Mary, Bonnie, Margene and John. The priorities of John’s life were God, his family and his church.
Even though John spent hours driving school bus, working at a sales barn, operating a Maytag/Frigidaire store, he was a farmer at heart. Besides milking cows, he raised registered pigs, dogs, horses and in later years, exotic birds.
John and Blanche had six daughters when they moved to a farm on the north edge of Baldwin, Wisconsin in 1957. Their son was born to them in 1960. In 1968, John took a job working as custodian at the elementary school for the Baldwin-Woodville School District. In 1971, he sold the farm and moved to town. He retired in 1977 and continued to pursue his passion for living things by raising flowers and birds.
John remained an active member of the First Reformed Church in Baldwin until he was physically unable to attend. Over the years he served as trustee and janitor.
On July 9, 2000, John lost his best friend and wife of 61 years, Blanche. He continued to live in his home until August of 2008 when he entered Baldwin Care Center. On July 10, 2010, his time of service completed, John went home to be with his Lord.
John is survived by seven children; Susan DeJong, Geraldine Lokker, Joyce (Mick) Wynveen, Mary (Tom) Langer, Bonnie (Jerry) Van Someren, Margene (Steve) Nygaard & John (Penny) Zevenbergen, 30 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; along with six step-grandchildren, ten step-great-grandchildren and two step-great-great-grandchildren. John is further survived by one brother, Cornie, and many nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his wife, Blanche; his parents; one grand-daughter, Jodi Wynveen; two sons-in-law, Marion DeJong and Paul Lokker; and six siblings. God’s grace was evident in John’s life and he will be missed by his family and friends.
Funeral Services for John will be held on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 at 11am at the First Reformed Church in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Burial will take place after at the Baldwin Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Monday, July 12th, 2010 from 4-7pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin, WI as well as for 1 hour before the funeral service on Tuesday at the church. Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home – Baldwin, Wisconsin. 715-684-3434