Jacob “Jake“ Dekker, age 101, of Fulda, formerly of Worthington, died Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Fulda. He was born on January 8, 1921 to Bastian and Martha (Herwynen) Dekker in Boyden, Iowa. He was the eldest child of Dutch immigrants. When he started school he only knew Dutch. As he learned English he taught his parents, his one brother and two sisters the new language. Farming was in his blood at an early age. When he was in seventh grade he quit school and farmed with his dad. In 1942 he was drafted into WWII and was with the 332nd Company A Engineer Regiment. His constant companion was a one-ton truck carrying dynamite throughout the three years he was in Europe. When he came home he married Fannie Van Zyl, his girlfriend before he went to war. They were married for two months shy of 63 years. To their marriage they were blessed with a daughter, Melodee, and a son, Jay.
He said that he had quite a life. And that he did. During his 101 years, he saw many changes. He lived through nineteen different presidents. He saw a time when the two major political parties worked together for the good of the country. When he was a boy he plowed with three horses hitched to a sulky plow. One month before the war ended in Europe walkie talkies were used for the first time with a range of three miles. When he bought 80 acres to add to his farm near Fulda he paid $325.00 an acre. He was amazed with the smart phone. How could such an invention be a camera, a telephone, a computer and then have the weather radar?
Jake was fortunate to be active in many areas. His church, the American Reformed Church, was very important to him. He credited his long life to his belief in the Lord. He was the chair of the building study committee for a new church and then became the chairman of the building project. In church he served as a deacon and an elder. For ten years he was the head usher, and for 19 years he was the head usher for funerals. In Fulda he was appointed to the Elevator Board and then elected for a three year term. When Jake and Fannie retired and lived in Worthington he served 10 years on the RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) Advisory Committee.
Jake will be missed by his daughter, Melodee (Dean) Balk of Cresco IA, his son, Jay (Lynn) Dekker of Fulda MN; four grandchildren: Sara (Tim) Nichols of Marshalltown IA, Dan (Liz) Dekker of Estherville IA, Bret (Rachael) Balk of Minneapolis MN, and Kayla (Caleb) Hoffman of Shannon City IA ; and nine great-grandchildren: Koda, Corbin, and Carver Hoffman; Jacob, Millie, and Clara Dekker; Sawyer and Bennett Nichols; Elowen Balk; and his Van Zyl and Dekker nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Fannie in 2007; one brother, Len Dekker; two sisters, Marie (John) Veen, and Nellie (Lowell) Dykeshorn.
Funeral will be 11 am Wednesday at the American Reformed Church, in Worthington, officiated by Pastor Alan Salwei. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. Burial with full military honors provided by the Worthington American Legion & VFW will be in the Worthington Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
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