H. Mary Sikkema

 

maryH. Mary Sikkema passed away peacefully to be home with the Lord Thursday October 8th at the age of 84.

Mary came into this world on June 5, 1931, born to Roy and Hattie La Huis in Hudsonville, Michigan. She was born just as the nation and world were falling into Depression, and hard times were her first companion. But the La Huis family was a member of the true strength of the country at the time- Midwestern farmers. They were devout in their faith and committed to the principle that dedicated and unswerving effort can overcome any obstacle. A saying of her father that she would always remember was “Whatever you do, do with your might. A job done by halves is never done right.”

Working on a farm during the Depression, the La Huis family took to heart many hard lessons as they helped those less fortunate about compassion and empathy. This flourished for Mary throughout life as she threw herself headlong into the service of the people, places and things she cared about. This started in childhood when, through the Reformed Church she found an aptitude for music and through her principle of commitment became a proficient piano player and vocalist. She carried that gift throughout her life, and touched many souls with the song she brought into the world.

After graduating high school, she remained close to her roots and attended school at Hope College, located in Holland, Michigan. While there, in her sophomore mom hs gradyear she met Wesley William Sikkema, whom she would later marry. At Hope College and later at Michigan State University, she studied Education and went on to a brief career as a schoolteacher to support herself and her new husband Wes, who had studied medicine, while he performed his residency. That love of teaching she would pass down to her eldest daughter.

Shortly after Wes’ graduation, his new duties as a physician would take them to the Pacific Northwest. Once there they sought a spiritual community and found it in the Presbytery, a Reformed Church affiliate. They settled into Newport Hills, a brand-new subdivision near Bellevue, Washington. Wes and Mary were on the Presbytery committee that eventually purchased the land on which Newport Presbyterian Church was built. Now 55 years later, with Mary’s passing and the passing of her husband Wes four years prior, that membership lives on in spirit, and the church they helped build continues to thrive.

IMG_4472Mary and her husband began a young family, and after a few years they got the calling to service again. They placed their lives on hold, packed up their family and left for Ethiopia, Africa to perform missionary service to the citizens of that nation. It was the late ‘60s at the time and before long revolution and political upheaval would necessitate their leaving the country, but not before they met a young Ethiopian girl that had suffered terrible injuries in a fire. Wes and Mary knew that this girl, disabled from her injuries, would not have a good life in Africa and offered to have her join their family by bringing her to the United States and adopting her.

Upon returning to the U.S. Mary focused all her attention on raising her children, now numbering four with the adoption. It was a difficult task at times but her perseverance and commitment once again shone through. Her children are eternally grateful for her patience, her wisdom and her empathy, without which they would not be the people they are today.ipad July 083

As her children grew, she continued her commitment to the church and served in ways too many to count. She sang in the choir, served as a Deacon and participated on numerous committees that decided the destiny of the church, including pastor-nominating committees when the church was in need of new leadership. When her children were older and required less of her attention, she turned to another passion- writing. For many years she studied the art and

committed herself to its nuances. She wrote poetry, short stories and a couple inspirational novels, all dedicated to her faith in Christ and the beauty she found in the world. Although the novels were not published her spirit lives on in the work.

Around the turn of the century, Mary was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder, which sadly affects all too many lives and

families. She battled this for the last 15 years of her life and faced it with a level of courage, faith and determination almost not to be believed. Up until her last few days everyone who came to see her would be greeted with a beaming smile. If ever there was an angel sent to earth to demonstrate these high qualities it was Mary.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband and parents. She is survived brother Fred (Mary Lou); sister Lois; sister Ruth; sister Jean; daughter Helen (Bob); daughter Brehani; son Carl (Carol); son Glenn; and her three beautiful grandchildren Mary Mattea , Thomas and Derek.

If you wish to make a donation in honor of Mary, it can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association (http://alz.org) in honor of Mary’s courage in standing up to this terrible affliction. Donation details can be found at:

http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp

Services will be held Saturday, October 24 at 2PM
Newport Presbyterian Church (http://www.newportpres.org)
4010 120th Ave. SE,
Bellevue, WA 98006.12 55

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3 Responses to “H. Mary Sikkema”

  • John White says:

    I look on Mary as my Spiritual Godmother. Shortly after I joined Newport Presbyterian Church in 1963, I attended Mary’s adult education classes, in which I learned the true meaning of Christian faith and commitment. I will be eternally grateful for her influence in my life.

  • Linda Popkes says:

    Aunt Mary was a gentle, quiet, loving, always smiling woman. Growing up in Africa I did not get to know her well. As an adult our family did go to Bellvue to visit Wes and Mary. She cooked the best fresh salmon I ever had. She and Wes loved the children so much and welcomed Brehani as their own. I knew she was writing her memoirs and hoped one day to read them. God had other plans. When I visited her in August she sang the old hymns with such joy! Now she is singing along with the angels in heaven. I hope her children continue to meet regularly at Ruth Chris restaurant.

  • Susan Jonsson says:

    I know Mary only through her daughter Helen and granddaughter Mary Mattea. Helen has been a steadfast friend through the last 25 years of teaching together. I doubt there is a finer person than Helen. Surely her loving kindness, loyalty, strength, courage and grace are a tribute to her mother and father who raised her. So I thank you Mary, for the gift of Helen to whom I owe so much. May you be blessed with eternal peace with God in Heaven.

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