Celia Anne Kooiman Van Essen


Was born to William P. and Gertrude (Huisken) Kooiman on April 4, 1928, on an acreage in Edgerton, Minnesota where she attended school through the tenth grade. For the remaining two years of high school, Celia lived with her uncle in Hull, Iowa and graduated from Western Christian High School. On June 8, 1947, she was united in marriage to Oscar Van Essen at the First Christian Reformed church in Edgerton. Following their marriage, they moved to Leota, Minnesota. In 1948, they moved back to Edgerton where Celia and Oscar raised their five children.

Celia maintained a lively home that was always a welcome haven for friends and relatives visiting from locations far and near, from other states and countries. Celia and Oscar themselves enjoyed travelling through all the US States and to many foreign countries, a love of travel that their children also adopted. Together, Celia and Oscar welcomed many foreign exchange students as extended members of their family. Besides enjoying the diversity of locations and peoples, Celia, herself a good cook, enjoyed experimenting with sampling and cooking different international cuisines.

Celia was a member of the First Christian Reformed Church in Edgerton where she was baptized in May of 1928 and where she made her Profession of Faith in 1947. One of her greatest passions was music. She served as the church organist for 40 years, and she sang in the church Choir. As a piano and organ teacher, she helped innumerable students develop their musical proficiencies and to extend their appreciation of music generally. She led and participated in Coffee Break Bible Study, World Home Bible League and other church groups. She enjoyed doing crafts of all kinds, especially knitting.

Celia and Oscar were strong supporters of Christian Education. Being herself the beneficiary of a Christian Secondary Education, Celia promoted and supported education beyond the Secondary Level, a gift enjoyed by all her children.

She was loved by her husband, Oscar for 65 years, who preceded her in death; and her five children, Leon Van Essen and his wife Liz in Beaumont, Quebec, Canada, Vicki Van Essen in Edgerton, Minnesota, Owen Van Essen and his wife Kathy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Beth Kimm and her husband John in Redlands, California, and Darla Simasko and her husband Jim in Denver, Colorado and her eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A favorite song, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” (G.F. Handel), comforted and sustained Celia over the years as it now does her family. The song is based on the Biblical texts of Job 19:25 and I Cor. 15:20. “For I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. . .But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that sleep.”

She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers, Bernard, Harold and Earl Kooiman.

A memorial service is planned at the First Christian Reformed Church in Edgerton, Minnesota for Monday, August 16. Those wishing to send a memorial gift are requested by the family to make a contribution in Celia’s name to either the World Home Bible League or Southwest Christian School.

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