Sioux County, Iowa



Leonard and Myna Nyhof have lived most of their lives in the Sioux Center area except for some time when Leonard served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. Leonard was born Jan. 25, 1935 on a farm in a snow storm near Ireton, Ia. Dr. Wm. Maris came to the house by horse and sleigh with some assistance. Leonard's parents are Gerrit and Gertrude Nyhof. Gerrit was born by Sioux Center, in 1910 on Dec. 26, into a family of 2 boys and 1 girl. Boys Gerrit and Henry and girl Rena. Father Reinder passed away at a young age of 32 and mother Rena remarried John Draayer. To this union one daughter was born - Wilhemina, Mrs. Herman Vollink from Ireton. Mother Rena's maiden name was Kas. Gerrit married Gertrude Vande Kieft a daughter of Geurt and Nellie Vande Kieft on January 24, 1934. Gertrude came from a family of 3 girls and 3 boys. The other 2 girls being Minnie (Mrs. Henry Feenstra) and Reka (Mrs. Jake Sinkey). Boys William, Wilbert and John.

They started farming by Ireton and moved to a farm which they purchased 3¼ miles east of Sioux Center's Kroons corner. The farm consisted of 160 acres and they rented 80 acres on the south side of the road. There they raised a family of Leonard, Gilmer, Carol, Lavonne, Velda, Marlys, Myra (twins) and Betty. Gerrit passed away Jan. 13, 1980 and Gilmer took over the farm.

Myna was born on a farm near Carmel, Iowa to Conrad and Grace Hulstein. They later moved to a farm near Rock Rapids and finally purchased a farm 4½ miles east of Kroons corner in Sioux Center. Conrad was a son of Gerrit and Cornelia Hulstein and Grace was a daughter of Albertus and Mina Van Maanen. (Van Maanen married Van Maanen - no relation). Conrad was from a family of 6 boys and 3 girls. The other boys ware Cornelius, William, Henry, Steven and Raymond. Girls - Hattie (Mrs. Ralph Kastine), Pearl (Mrs. Peter Bosch), Johanna (Mrs. George Lihudis).

Grace was from a family of 8 girls and 2 boys. The other girls being Annie (Mrs. Henry Berghorst), Gertie (Mrs. Tymen Rens), Jennie (Mrs. Cornelius Wassink), Hattie (Mrs. Gerben De Jong), Mina (Mrs. John R. Rens), Winnie (Mrs. Henry P. Vis), Albertha (Mrs. Ben Bleyenberg. Boys - Evert and John.

To "Coon" and Grace ware born 2 boys and nine girls which included 2 sets of twins. Gerrit, Mina (passed away at age 17 of scarlet fever), Carolyn, Emma, Etta (twins), Albertus, Gertrude, Viola, Winerva, Minerva (twins), Myna.

Leonard and Myna Nyhof Family. Adults L-R:
Linda, Lyle, Alice (Lyle's wife), Leonard, Myna,
Brad Eisma, Lora (Nyhof) Eisma, Leo, Pam
(Leo's wife) holding Travis. Children L-R: Amy,
Austin, Lisa, Ryan held by Lora, Jennifer, Julietta

Leonard and Myna were married March 16, 1956 in a home wedding ceremony at 441 E.lst St. (the bride's home). Leonard was working as a mechanic, machinist, welder at Kosters Mfg. Co. and Myna was employed at the Sioux Center News. Leonard was drafted into military service Aug. 6, 1957 and served 2 years stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, Fort Sam Houston, Texas and finally at a missile base near Chesterton, Indiana. After discharge they moved to Orange City, Iowa for approx. 2 years where Leonard worked for Cambier Motors and later managed a Phillips 66 station in Alton, Iowa. Leo was born while the family was living in Orange City, Iowa, Len and Myna then moved the small amount of possessions and their 2 boys to Volga, So. Dak. and operated a "Snap-on Tool" business. That lasted 8 months and back to Sioux Center and back to Kosters Mfg. In 1966 Len and Myna opened their own "Lawn Equipment" business. Lora was born in 1964 and Linda came along in 1969.

The Nyhofs built a new home in Sioux Center at 410 6th Ave. S.E. and moved into it in October of 1974. Leonard and Myna purchased the Sioux County Culligan Franchise from Art Kalsbeek on January 1, 1984. The office and plant of the operation was in Orange City and the "Nyhofs" decided to leave it there and Len commutes daily. Myna continues to work at Carrie Foods as she has for the past 10 years. This is the on campus food service for Dordt College.

by Leonard R. Nyhof

Leonard Nyhof actually founded the business on a part time basis. After being discharged from military service in Aug. of 1959 the business was started in the garage of the home located across the street south of Northwestern College on Hwy #10 in Orange City, Ia. At that time it was cal1ed "Lens Mower Service." After one year Leonard received an opportunity to manage the new Phillips 66 station in Alton and was able to operate the mower business in conjunction with the station. After running the business this way for 1 1/2 years it was sort of given up and a new venture in business was taken by way of a "Snap-On Tool" territory in Southeast So. Dak. with a base at Volga, So. Dak. That was short lived so after 8 months the family moved back to Sioux Center, Ia. with the opportunity to go back to Kosters Mfg. Co. where Leonard had been employed prior to his term of military service. While working on lawn mowers and small engines was part of the job description. "Snapper" riding mowers ware introduced to Sioux Center in the spring of 1963 by Harold H. Luiken who was a distributor from Steamboat Rock, la. The firstt mowers ware 30" and 6 h.p. and sold for $365.00. The mower end of the business was operated in partnership with E.J. Kosters of Kosters Mfg. for 2 years. The first year only 5 riding mowers ware sold as walk behind mowers ware not yet introduced by the "Snapper" company. In March 1966 Leonard left Kosters Mfg. to start on his own in the mower business. He started in a small 14X22 bldg. which looked like a cottage and was used by Gerrit B. Kempers for homestead tax exemption on his farm 1 mile south of Perkins corner. The bldg. was sold at auction and Leonard purchased it for $350.00 and moved it next to Visser Elevator. There was an agreement with Visser's about working on small engines and if not busy with that could work at the elevator. This agreement continued a few years when there was opportunity to purchase property on the north end of Sioux Center which had been used as the Auto-Dine restaurant. That was 1967 and business began to take off. The "Snapper" distributor (Luiken) made the offer that Nyhof could get the largest truck he could find and they would fill it with mowers and these could be paid as sold. Leonard rented a semi from Rich Van Zee and he and brother Gilmer set out to gat the first load. The truck engine caught fire on the way home but was quickly put out with Leonard's brand new felt hat. The hat was ruined for life.

Nyhof Turf and Trail, Inc.
A few years later (1970) it was necessary to expand so the property of Vos Mtr. Sales 1 block north became available and the move was made thinking they'd never need move again. They soon ware crowded again and in 1972 erected a 42'X102' warehouse. The business became a family operation with wife Myna doing the office work. Sons Leo and Lyle both work in the summer and after school and both boys completed high school early to help in the business. As the girls grew up Lora and Linda took their place too. In 1973 Leonard felt the need to share ownership and sold part of the shares to Edwin Dokter who came in and managed the service area. This partnership lasted 2 years when Edwin left and opened up a "Big A" auto parts store.
Over the years the lines handled ware Snapper, International, Moz-All, Roof, Toro, Lawn-Boy, Bolens, Rupp, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, John Deere, McCulloch, Homelite, Owatonna skid loaders, pickup toppers and the U-Haul agency. A large part of the business was servicing golf course equipment especially the big reel type fairway mowers. At one time 40 golf courses ware served in the 4 state area.

Over time Leonard's health began to fail some because of a chemical imbalance. That coupled with the stress of business put him in the hospital in August 1979. The business kept going another few years but for health reasons it was sold in the winter of 1980, Three young men 2 of which had been former employees were Gregg Mouw, Graig Bauer and Darrel Mulder purchased it and changed the name to "Blade & Chanin", That partnership dissolved after a time and the business liquidated, Nyhof still owned the property and after renting it a few years was sold in 1986 to Sioux Automation to be used for a Rent-All agency.

By Leonard R. Nyhof

Source: Sioux Center Iowa 1991 Centennial Book--Family Contributor, Mary Haverhals


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