Sioux County, Iowa



Tony Van Roekel was born on January 8, 1914 at rural Sioux Center to Henry & Allie (Vander Ploeg) Van Roekel. Grace Engeltjes was born on November25, 1913 in Elburg, The Netherlands. They immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old. Tony & Grace were married at the home of the bride's parents at Ireton on February 21, 1939.

Tony and two children, Mildred and Ivan, all attended the same county school 5 miles west of Sioux Center. Grace attended school for one year in the Netherlands and then in rural schools in Sioux County. In 1925 there was a flood, the Six Mile Creek overflowed its banks and the bridges washed out. The school children, including Tony and his brothers and sister, had to stay in the school house over night because of the high waters. The next day Tony and another school boy found the drowned body of a hired man in the neighborhood.

After their marriage they lived 4 1/4 miles west of Sioux Center where they farmed for 14 years. Then they bought a farm southwest of Ireton and farmed there until1978. Tony also was a carpenter for many years and built their own home in Sioux Center where they retired.

Tony Van Roekel Family: Front row: Tony and
Grace Van Roekel Rear: Mildred, Ivan and Linda

Three children ware born to this marriage, as follows:
1. Mildred Elaine Vande Kieft, born in Sioux Center, graduated from Ireton High School, received an A. A. Degree from Northwestern College at Orange City, and a B.A. Degree from Westmar College in LeMars, IA. She taught 3rd grade in Sioux Center from 1960-65, and now teaches part-time at Central College in Pella, IA. They have one son.
2. Ivan Dale was born in Sioux Center and graduated from West Sioux High School and had two years at Northwestern College. He is a self-employed carpenter at Lake Worth, Florida, and has two sons.
3. Linda Ruth was born in Sioux Center and graduated from West Sioux High School, received a E.S. Degree from Northwestern College and an M.S. Degree from the University of Washington. She is a technical marketing manager for Inficon at Syracuse, New York.

Tony and Grace enjoyed traveling around the country visiting their children and grandchildren, including a trip to Germany where Linda taught for three years. One of the their last trips was to see the Statue of Liberty and Washington, D. C. While there they visited the National Archives and found the guest register of the ship on which Grace arrived from the Netherlands on November 25, 1920 into New York harbor.

Tony and Grace celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in November of 1988 and many relatives and friends attended.

Tony became ill with cancer during the summer of 1989 and passed away on August 11, 1989.

by Ellen Van Roekel

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


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