ANNA BOUWMAN TILSTRA was born January 16, 1928 to William and Hendrika (Boon) Bouwman in rural Alvord, Iowa. She was baptized and confirmed at Lester Bethel Reformed Church in Lester, Iowa. She spent her childhood years with her family on various farms outside of Alvord and Lester. Her senior year of high school, Anna moved into Lester where she babysat for her room and board. She also worked at the Rock Rapids Hotel and Van’s Grocery in Rock Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from Lester High School in 1946 and then attended teacher’s training at Morningside Teacher’s College in Iowa. Her first teaching job was at Midland School #6 in Iowa. She was united in marriage on December 28, 1948 to Fred Tilstra in Doon, Iowa. The newlyweds purchased and remodeled a school house near Hills, Minnesota for a year while they farmed. They then moved to Fred’s grandfather’s farm north of Rock Rapids and continued to farm. During these years, Anna also taught school at Logan #7 (a Lyon County Iowa country school) and then at Hills (MN) Christian School. Her years of teaching greatly influenced her life, teaching her the value of education, independence and eventually passing on her love of learning to her own children. In 1956, the young family put their roots down on a farm southwest of Luverne, Minnesota where they farmed and raised livestock. Anna was a homemaker and helped Fred with the farming operation. During the 1980s, Anna took on an additional job as a clerk at Montgomery Ward in nearby Rock Rapids. The couple retired from farming in 1991. A highlight of mom's retirement years was spending 12 winters in Harlingan, TX with Fred. Anna and Fred continued to reside on the farm until moving to the Oaks apartments in Luverne in August of 2006. Fred preceded Anna in death in 2008. Anna continued living at the Oaks until 2016 when she became a resident at Prairie Creek Memory Care in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a couple of years and then transitioned to the Good Samaritan Society – Mary Jane Brown Home in Luverne where she passed away on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at the age of 92 years, three months and one day.
Anna was a member of the American Reformed Church in Luverne where she served as a Sunday School teacher for many years and was active in circle, often leading group bible study. She was a member of Rock County Extension and the Minnesota State Cattlemens Association Auxillary . She enjoyed crochet, embroidery, was an avid reader and spent plenty of time over her years caring for her huge vegetable garden on the farm.
Anna is lovingly remembered by her children, Harold (Mary) Tilstra of Prior Lake, Minnesota; Karen (Craig) Rollag of Beaver Creek, Minnesota and Luanne Tilstra (Phillip Smith) of Terre Haute, Indiana; eight grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; brothers, Walter (Joan) Bouwman of Artesia, CA, A. James (Esther) Bouwman of Rock Valley, IA, William (Carol) Bouwman of Rock Valley and John (Paula) Bouwman of Fredericksburg, TX; sisters, Edith (Alvin) Hoogendorn of Sioux Falls and Angela Faber of Sioux Falls; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; two sons, an infant and Wayne Tilstra; brothers, Edward Bouwman and Henry Bouwman; and her sisters, Annetta Wiese and Martina Vanden Brink.
Memorials preferred to Dollars for Scholars – Wayne Tilstra Scholarship Fund or the Luverne School Angel Fund for lunches.
In accordance with Minnesota Executive Order and CDC guidelines, a private family service will be held on Friday, May 8, 2020 at Maplewood Cemetery in Luverne. The service will be recorded and placed onto her webpage for extended family and friends to view. To support Anna’s family during this time, please consider signing an online register and leaving a message for her family at www.hartquistfuneral.com.