Caroline Hoekstra peacefully entered the presence of Jesus at her home, surrounded by her family in Oakdale, CA, on Sunday, December 10, 2017, after a very brief, courageous battle with lung cancer. She was 72 years old.
Caroline was born in 1945 in Artesia, CA to Gus and Anna Vander Meulen. When she was very young, her family moved to Escalon, CA where her growing up years were filled with faith, family and fun. She attended Ripon Christian Schools and graduated from Ripon Christian High School in 1963. During and after high school she worked as a dental hygienist in Ripon, CA.
It was during this time that she met her beloved husband, Bill Hoekstra, and they married in 1967. This was the beginning of a lifelong partnership of love raising their three children, being integrally involved in their church, and growing their family dairy farm business in Oakdale, CA. They celebrated their 50th wedding Anniversary this year, and on September 9th had a beautiful gathering in their backyard with dear family and friends.
Caroline will be remembered by everyone as a woman of deep, genuine and unconditional love that was freely given to anyone she met whether you were family, friend, or stranger. She is known to give the best hugs ever – her welcome, warmth, and love tangibly expressed. Her love came from the love she knew and received from her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those hugs will be greatly missed!
Caroline lived her life in service to others. She and Bill were charter members of Community Christian Reformed Church in Oakdale and deeply involved in the life of their church family. In addition, she and Bill together gave their heart and support to Ripon Christian Schools, Partners Worldwide-Ecuador, dairy industry organizations, and many other community organizations.
Caroline’s brief journey with non small cell lung cancer was less than three months long. During that time she remained thankful for the sunshine of each new morning, and positive in her outlook on life and each new challenge brought on by the cancer. She trusted God for strength each day, and continued to pour out love to her family who were honored to care for her, and each of the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals that came into contact with her.
She is survived by her husband Bill Hoekstra, and their children Charlene (Chuck) Dillender, Jack (Ellie) Hoekstra and Kurt (Becky) Hoekstra. And by her dearly loved grandchildren Camryn and Caleb Dillender; Cara, Willem, Jay and Dustin Hoekstra; and Tanner, Colton, and Makenzie Hoekstra. Her brothers and sisters and their families were very close and dear to her; Anna Jean Prins, Pete Vander Meulen, John Vander Meulen, Bill Vander Meulen, Marlene Van Staaveren, and Sue Van Vliet. As well as Bill’s brothers and sisters and their families; Georgina Huizinga, Gerben Hoekstra, Les Knot and Bob Hoekstra.
Caroline’s extended family gathered together often and she was loved by numerous dear cousins, nieces and nephews as well. Her church family was also very important to her and they will feel her absence deeply.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, December 18 at 11:30 a.m. at Community Christian Reformed Church (131 West F Street, Oakdale, CA) with burial services to be held prior to that at 9:30 a.m. at Burwood Cemetery (28320 E. River Road, Escalon, CA).
Visitation will be on Sunday, December 17, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Deegan Funeral Home (1441 San Joaquin Street, Escalon, CA). Friends and family are welcome at all services.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Dec. 13, 2017