Obituary: Sjoerdje Martina "Shirley" Vander Stelt - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Obituary: Sjoerdje Martina "Shirley" Vander Stelt

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“What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1

There was a loud rejoicing in Heaven as our beloved Wife, Mother, Oma and Sister left our company to worship at the throne of her dearest Lord and Savior, Sunday, October 1st, 2017, after a long journey with Alzheimer’s. We miss her so dearly but her weary body is now at rest to live eternally with the Father. We all rejoice with her.

Shirley was such a light in this world. There was not a soul that came across her path that didn’t immediately get caught up in her warm welcoming embrace and a kiss on the cheek. She was a giving heart from the moment of her birth in Deventer, The Netherlands. She cared for everyone’s needs without a thought of her own and if you needed a meal, she would happily feed you. If you needed a hug, she would grab you like her own child into her warm, comforting embrace. There are so many people she has impacted, it is impossible to list them all.

The one she impacted the most was her dear love, Antoon (Anthony) Vander Stelt. She met him one night in 1957 at a movie showing in their hometown of Nieuw Vennep. He saw her across the room, she turned, looked at him and stuck her tongue out at him; so begins the love story that people write books about. They married on July 8, 1959, and together they weathered many storms and laughed at all the silly moments. They had 5 children together in Holland. In 1970, with God’s leading, they decided to pack up what they had, to emigrate to the United States. With complete faith in the Lord’s provision and $139 in their pocket, they took their 5 little ones to a new country where they would start a whole new chapter to their book. In 1972, one more “sunshine” joined to complete the family.

Her days were always spent with music in her heart, flowers in her garden and coffee waiting for anyone to stop by and visit. Her Faith was unwavering and she made sure anyone who knew her, knew that she loved the Lord.

In 2004, our journey changed drastically with the development of her disease. She was welcomed at Spring Creek Inn on December 12, 2012, and our lives were never the same. But it only made our family’s already strong bond, increase in strength and love. After 5 years of daily visits, laughing and tears, we kissed her on the cheek and watched her Father come get her; the words He said when she arrived were “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

She leaves behind her husband of 58 years Antoon (Anthony) Vander Stelt; her children, Helma (Henk) Van Nieuwenhuyzen, Marjan (Bert) Vrolijk, Anita (Jack) Terpstra, Leo (Wanda) Vander Stelt, Shirley Vander Stelt; 21 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren. Honorary daughter, Sherry Hofman. Three sisters, Thea (Ton, d. 2017) Boogaard, Gretha (Kees) V.d. Burgt, Trijnie (Jan) Kroon.  Also mourning her loss are many family and friends, Reina (Paul) Dykstra.

Our family would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone that helped our journey through Spring Creek Inn. We didn’t know how precious you all would become to us the day we moved her there. And though we aren’t able to name you all specifically; each and every one of you deserves a great, big Shirley hug and kiss of thanks for all the love and care you showed our dear Wife and Mom. Our family loves each of you dearly and we will be forever grateful - Tony Vander Stelt and family.


Donations can be made in Shirley’s name to ZoeCare, Pregnancy Care Clinic 2251 W Kagy Blvd #2, Bozeman, MT 59718.

Visitation with the family will be held Wednesday, October 4th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson.  Memorial services will be held Thursday, October 5th at 11 a.m. at First Christian Reformed Church in Churchill.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.


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