Elizabeth Hendrene De Boer was born January 25, 1941, to Rev. Peter W. and Esther Vis in Iowa. She was the oldest of what would eventually become a tightly-knit family with nine children. Liz grew up in Sioux County, Iowa, and Manhattan, Montana.
At a Protestant Reformed Young People’s Retreat in Montana, she noticed Melvin De Boer. Liz was drawn to his gorgeous wavy hair and beautiful teeth - it was also a plus in her eyes that he was a “PK” (preacher's kid) too! For Liz, it was love at first sight, but their relationship had to grow through long-distance letter writing for a few years.
Liz graduated from high school in Montana and went to Dordt College that fall in Iowa. She was there for one year before being offered a teaching position at Peoria Christian School, where she began her teaching career. She went on to get her teaching certificate by attending Augustana College in the summers.
Mel asked Liz to be his wife on December 6, 1962. She joyfully said yes! Liz moved home to her parents’ home in Raymond, MN, to save money before getting married. She had fond memories of taking her siblings to school that year as she taught at Prinsburg Christian School. Her nights were busy with grading papers and preparing to marry Mel that year. She lovingly made her wedding dress and dresses for her six sisters.
Mel and Liz were married on August 7, 1963. They moved often in those early years: Edgerton, MN; St. Paul, MN; Chicago, IL; Grand Rapids, MI, and then back to Edgerton, where they lived for 43 years. They joyously welcomed five children into their family: Mark, Lisa, Pam, Pete, and James. They demonstrated Christian love and a strong, committed marriage for almost 58 years.
Liz was a dedicated mother and homemaker - that was maybe her favorite role in life. She always had time for her kids and loved when they were home. She was a patient mother, rarely losing her temper or raising her voice. Her kids learned at an early age that complaining about something would result in “say 3 good things about it.” Liz was never one for following the crowd; her kids were raised on stories about “daring to be a Daniel,” martyred missionary Jim Elliot, and watching out for the underdog. She enjoyed visiting her grown children and eating meals prepared by them. She often said the food was always better if someone else prepared it - even if they were using her recipes!
After her kids left home, Liz got involved in Friendship Class, teaching and befriending students, even taking them out for their birthday years later.
Liz’s most treasured role in life was as a mom and grandma.
Designating herself “Granny,” she welcomed each grandchild into the family - calling them all her “sparklers.” Many of her grandkids have home-made dresses, baptism gowns, quilts, and doll clothes. These kids brightened her days and years.
Her grandchildren have wonderful memories of playing dress-up in Granny’s old clothes, finding “1-4-3!” written on bathroom mirrors after visits from Granny, and listening to Granny tell stories.
Liz enjoyed making her family’s house a home. She enjoyed painting furniture, displaying antiques and interesting family artifacts, drying flowers to display, and sewing placemats or curtains. She was a talented seamstress and could make anything. Liz was a wonderful hostess and welcoming to all.
Her home was often filled with music as Liz shared her love of music. She encouraged her kids to take piano lessons, sing in choirs, and play instruments. Liz loved to play piano, especially hymns, and her family fondly remembers hearing her play for hours.
Central to Liz’s life was her strong faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She was raised in the Protestant Reformed Church until her membership was transferred to the Christian Reformed Church in the late 1950s. She wasn’t afraid to share her faith and prayed often with others. Even recently during an ER visit, she prayed for the doctors and nurses who were helping her. She lived her faith out loud.
Liz took Jesus’ hand on May 26, 2021, having walked through the valley of the shadow of death with Him. She continued to praise Him and knew He never left her.
Her family will sadly miss her love and spirit, but have assurance that she dwells in the house of the Lord.
Liz is survived by loving husband Melvin DeBoer
Children: Mark De Boer (St. Louis Park, MN); Lisa De Boer (Caledonia, MI); Pam (Mike) Prins (Grand Rapids, MI); Pete (Emily) De Boer (Hawarden, IA); James (Sarah) De Boer (Bridgewater, VA.)
Sparklers: Claire, Renee, and Ella Prins; Samantha De Boer and Jeremy VanderWoude, Ethan, Zachary, Vincent, and Dalton De Boer; Isaac, Harper, and Katherine De Boer
Siblings: Ken (deceased) (Lorrie) Vis; Evie (Jay) Koets; Harriet Karel; Noni (Cal) Geers; Esther (Mike) Alsum; Lois (Chuck) Hekman; Bill (Barb) Vis; Pat Deur-Vis
Mel’s siblings: Pier (Nancy) De Boer; Beth Vanden Berg (deceased “Coke” Fey, Les Vanden Berg); Hein (Iva) De Boer; Joan Pool (deceased Roger); Gladi (Mike) Vander Pol; Alyce (Orlin) TenCate