Arthur Hielkema ’57

Mr. Arthur Hielkema ‘57, age 88, of Orange City, passed away on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at the Orange City Area Health System.

Arthur Gerald was born on October 18, 1932, in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota, the son of Henry and Nettie (Houtsma) Hielkema. He was raised in Pease, Minnesota, and later San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from correspondence school while working for his father. He attended Northwestern Junior College in Orange City for two years, before transferring to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he completed his bachelor’s degree. He served in the United States Army for two years during the Korean Conflict receiving an honorable discharge in 1955. He was also enrolled at Western Theological Seminary before he realized his calling was outside of traditional ministry. Subsequently, he earned two master’s degrees, through the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota.

On June 10, 1960, he was united in marriage to  Joan Carol Roos ‘60, in Holland. They initially made their home in Holland, before moving to Orange City in 1969, where “Art” was the Director of Library and the Learning Resource Center at Northwestern College for 27 years. Joan passed away on October 23, 2009, after more than 49 years of marriage. In October of 2013, Art became a resident of the Landsmeer Ridge Retirement Community in Orange City.

Mr. Hielkema spent his life in service to his family, community, and God. Art was a member of the American Reformed Church in Orange City, where he was both a deacon and an elder. He served as a councilman for the City of Orange City for twelve years and as a board member for the Orange City Library and Siouxland Habitat for Humanity, as well as for the Online Computer Library Center, representing six midwestern states. Under his leadership Northwestern’s Ramaker Library became the first library in Iowa to have an electronic catalog and he was subsequently elected president of the Association of College Research Libraries for this work. Art was also appointed by Governor Ray to serve on the State Historical Records Board and was named “Man of the Year” by Robert’s Ramblings in the Sioux County Capital-Democrat after being instrumental in the inception of Orange City’s first Habitat house. In his free time, Art enjoyed spending time on his many woodworking projects and volunteering with numerous service projects, locally with Habitat and The Bridge, or nationally with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, as well as many others.

Survivors include his two sons, Stephen Hielkema, and his wife Susan, of Columbus, Ohio; and Timothy Hielkema, of Des Moines; a daughter and her husband, Sarah and Brian Wiese, of West Des Moines; five grandchildren, Katherine, and her husband, Nicholas Willie, Jennifer Hielkema ‘14, Thomas Hielkema, Samuel Wiese, and Benjamin Wiese, and his wife, Chelsea; two great-grandchildren; two brothers, Harvey Hielkema and Allan Hielkema; a brother-in-law, Edward Winters, and a special friend Geri Kiel. His children would like to thank Geri for her companionship over the past six years.

In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by a sister, Sophie Winters and two sisters-in-law, Suzanna “Sue” Hielkema and Marilyn Hielkema.

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