Olga Kilian ’49 DeKok
Olga Kilian ’49 DeKok
, 90, of Appledorn Living Center, died Sunday after a long illness.
She was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., on Sept. 5, 1927, to John L. and Olga Kilian, and grew up in Creston, Keokuk and Dubuque, Iowa. Her father, a foreman for Swift & Co., was transferred in 1945 to the company’s then-ice cream plant in Holland. She attended Hope College, walking to classes from her home, played tuba in the college band, and graduated in 1949 with a degree in biology. She briefly worked as a laboratory technician at the former Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. In December 1950, she married Paul W. DeKok, a fellow Iowan and Hope graduate. She spent the rest of her life as a devoted homemaker, raising four children at 672 Graafschap Road in Holland, sewing Dutch costumes for them at Tulip Time, and encouraging a love of education and culture.
She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church for many years, then of Peace Lutheran Church and finally of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, all of Holland, and was active in Altar Guild, bell choir, and other church activities. She enjoyed camping with her family, especially at Ludington State Park, and crosscountry skiing. In later years, she traveled to Germany, visiting her late father’s home village of Elpersheim and reconnecting with German relatives.Her kitchen skills were
legendary, leaving her children with the mistaken impression that everyone’s mother must be a good cook. She won blue ribbons at the Ottawa County Fair for her homemade bread and bread rolls.
Surviving are four children, David (Lisa Brittingham), of Harrisburg, Pa.; Gretchen (Patricia Williams), of Carmichael, CA, Mary (Jeff) Blowers, of Holland, and Daniel (Nancy), of Norristown, Pa; six grandchildren; one sister, Eleanor Schippers, of Adrian, MI; one brother, John (Shirley) Kilian, of Swartz Creek, MI; a brother-in-law, Dr. Bill Heydorn, of Tiburon, CA; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband; a sister, Joan Heydorn; and a brotherin- law, George Schippers.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 3151 120th Ave., Holland.