Cornelia passed from this life on November 15, 2017 and was taken into glory to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was with her and her family through a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer and He provided His comfort and care to us all. She was spared almost all of the pain often associated with this disease and continued to enjoy the visits of family and friends right until the very end. We praise God for this, as Cornelia valued her family above all except her love for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and had a very broad definition of who was family. For her, family included a large immediate family, a larger extended family, and beyond that an even larger and further extended church family and the friends she had made through these associations over the years.
Cornelia was born May 9, 1933 in Pipestone, Minnesota to Abraham and Marie (Veleke) De Hoog, the ninth of 16 children. As a child she moved to Ripon, CA as part of this large family and resided there. In 1952 she married Charles John (Charlie) Van Gorkum and they started their home and family together in Escalon. She was married to Charlie for almost 44 years until his death in 1996 and they raised a family of four boys and two girls who continued to grow the family; adding spouses, then 13 grandchildren, more spouses and then 16 great grandchildren with one more on the way.
Cornelia was an active member of the Escalon Christian Reformed Church and a long-term member of various Bible study and service groups within it: including the Golden Hour Circle, Sojourners, and the Women’s Service Guild. She volunteered for many years providing nursery care during the Tuesday morning women’s Bible study. Outside of the church but still related she volunteered some of her time at the Priceless Treasures Thrift Shop and had served on the board of the Sierra Salem Auxiliary and the local board of Escalon’s Heritage House.
Cornelia was predeceased by her parents, Abraham and Marie De Hoog, her husband Charlie and ten of her brothers and sisters, Christina, Gerrit, Leonard, Bertha, Jasper, Marvin, Maria, Abraham, Abel and Albert. She is survived by her six children: Chuck (Joyce), Ken (JoAnne), Loren, Gerald (Geri), Rita (Scott), and Lynette (Bob); her 13 grandchildren: Casey, Janae (Jared), Mitch (Katie), Brad, John (Brandi), Carrie (John), Corina (Stephane), Renee (Mel), Alice (A.C.), Tanya (DJ), Christy (Blake), Corey, and Andrew; 18 great grandchildren; five of her siblings: Margie, Sibilla, Abe, Jake, and Adriana; and the many other nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. that were also her family, and each as important as the next.
As her strength began to fail she was blessed by the support of her family to help with the rigors and even the general tasks of daily life. As the family took up those tasks in support of her we were also blessed by wonderful support in the form of her primary caregiver Anna Mae Tilma and the three others: Martha Rettinhouse, Janet Bylsma, and Alice Eggink: all of whom gave of themselves to look after her needs.
Deegan Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Van Gorkum family. A visitation was held on Monday, November 20, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Deegan Chapel in Escalon. Graveside service was held on Tuesday, November 21 at 9:30 a.m. at Burwood Cemetery followed by a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. at Escalon Christian Reformed Church. Memorial Contributions in her name can be sent to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356; Sierra Salem Christian Home, 1805 Woodland Ave., Modesto, CA 95358, or a charity of choice.
The Escalon (Calif.) Times
Nov. 22, 2017