Emma (de Vries) Gilman was born June 26, 1922, to William and Albertje (Van Colmeschate) De Vries on the farm west of Edgerton where she was raised and received her education at the Edgerton Christian School. Emma married Edward Gilman on February 9, 1944. They farmed in the Edgerton area, moved to Bellflower CA for 3 years, moving back to Edgerton, where they purchased their farm west of Edgerton. Emma worked in Edgebrook as an assistant to the nurses for 25 years. In 1995 her husband passed away. She continued to live in her home in Edgerton until 2007. Then she moved to Edgebrook Estates and lived there 10 years. For the last 3 and a half years she was in Edgebrook Care Center. Edgebrook was very thankful for her many years of hard work and dedication to the residents.
Emma is lovingly remembered by two sons and 5 daughters, Judy (Henry) Bleyenburg of Crete Il, Pat (Dave) Blankespoor of Minneapolis, MN, Cheri (Wes) Vander Haar of Sioux Falls SD, Bob Gilman of Rock Valley IA, Sandra (Mark) Van Tol of Inwood IA , Bruce (Sandy) Gilman of Caledonia MI, Michelle (Bill) Young of Akron Iowa, 51 grandchildren, 78 great grandchildren and 12 great great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Ed, daughter Bonnie Oberloh and son-in-law Larry Oberloh.
Emma always enjoyed her stay at Edgebrook. Her organ-playing, singing, and laughter rang through the halls and lifted the spirits of her neighbors and nurses. She was often seen attending social events and would say, “They treat me so good here.” Family and friends near and far were drawn to Emma as her room was a revolving door for visitors. Her vivacious personality, sense of humor, compassionate heart, positivity, strength and courage drew people in. Even the birds seemed to stop by her window more often. Playing card games with loved ones brought her much joy as it did for those in her company. Emma loved Jesus with all her heart and would continually exclaim of His greatness and love. Her entire journey on this Earth clearly reflected that He was the Lord of her life. She faithfully read God’s Word daily, believing His Word is alive and active and more precious than gold. Every Sunday she would listen to her church service with delight. She loved the hymns “What a Friend we have in Jesus” and “My Jesus I love Thee.” She was a prayer warrior for her family and friends, always trusting in Jesus through all circumstances. She desired for everyone to have a personal relationship with the Lord. Her beautiful soul and legacy of faithfulness will live on through the generations as she has so clearly shown how to steadfastly walk with the Lord. As the Psalmist writes in one of Emma’s favorite Bible passages, and words we believe she is exclaiming with joy in the presence of her Maker, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”
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