Sunday morning, March 16, 2003, Alyda Eelkema was in the company of her fellow worshippers when she passed to a new life with her Lord at the age of 80.
She was born Sept. 27, 1922, in Oak Harbor, the second daughter born to Gerben and Marie (Roodzant) Balda.
Alyda grew up in Oak Harbor, surrounded by many aunts, uncles and cousins. She suffered from heart problems during her elementary school years which left her with an amazing will to make the most of any situation. She attended Oak Harbor High School and graduated in 1941.
She recalled first meeting her husband-to-be, Sidney Eelkema, on the school bus. They began dating after high school and were promised to each other before he left for service in the Army, Pacific Theater in March 1942. They were married March 15, 1946, in the Oak Harbor Christian Reformed Church, which was filled with daffodils in every possible corner. They made their home in Oak Harbor, where Alyda became a full-time homemaker and mother of five children.
Alyda was committed to her church and its mission ministries. A devoted “Coffee Break” Fellowship participant, she often insisted that vacations coincide with women’s Bible study schedule. Particularly gifted at writing notes, she wrote words of encouragement to young moms, those away from home, widows, and others she thought in need, often with a picture she had recently taken. An avid cross-stitcher, she loved to prepare her best work for the Island County Fair each August.
Alyda was preceded in death by her dear husband Sidney in June of 2001 and her sister Gertrude in 1998. She will be missed greatly by her five children and nine grandchildren: Les and Bonnie Eelkema (Jill, Joe and Lora) of Oak Harbor; Merlin and Anna Eelkema (Brenton, Briana and Kristen) of Irvine, Calif.; Steve and Mary Eelkema (Tyler and Amy) of Oak Harbor; Joannie Poot (Steven) of Mount Vernon; and Boyd and Ginny Bode of Mount Vernon.
Graveside services were held March 21 at Fircrest Cemetery in Oak Harbor, followed by a Memorial Service praising God’s faithfulness at the Oak Harbor Christian Reformed Church. The family suggests memorials may be made to Oak Harbor Christian School Quest Program (for special needs students.)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1