ETHEL MARIE OSSEFOORT was born September 28, 1924 to Nicholas and Catherine (Herwith) Van Dam II in Trent, South Dakota. She moved with her family to Dell Rapids, South Dakota at two years of age. She attended school at St. Mary’s Academy in Dell Rapids where she was a boarding student from the first through fourth grades. Following school, she helped out at home and caring for her family. On January 14, 1948 she was united in marriage to Louis Ossefoort at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dell Rapids. The couple made their home on the Ossefoort family farm near Woodstock, Minnesota. Ethel worked hard as a homemaker and raising their nine children. In 1987, they sold the farm to their son, Bob, and moved to Luverne, Minnesota. Ethel worked part-time in the bakery at Kenny’s Super Value in Luverne from 1995 to 1998. Louis preceded Ethel in death on February 10, 1998. Ethel continued to reside in Luverne. She began working at Luverne Public Schools in 1998 in the lunchroom. All of the kids that passed through the lunch line affectionately came to know her as Grandma “O” until her retirement in May of 2010. On Thursday, September 3, 2020, Ethel died peacefully at the Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, Minnesota at the age of 95 years, 11 months and five days.
Ethel was an active member of St. Martin Catholic Church in Woodstock. She currently was a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Luverne and belonged to Ladies Aid. She also volunteered at her church through her quilting talents and washing and ironing church linens for 12 years. Ethel was a member of the Pink Ladies and the VFW Auxiliary where she served as president for five years. During their years on the farm, she enjoyed tending to her garden. Upon their move to town, she transitioned to planting and caring for flowers. Throughout her life, Ethel’s family was very important to her and she loved being able to help out her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whenever possible.
Ethel is survived by her children, Jean Staeffler and her husband, Gary of Luverne, Gerald “Gerry” Ossefoort and his wife, DeAnn of Fulda, Minnesota, Beverly Martius and her husband, Tom of Luverne, Robert Ossefoort and his wife, Bonnie of Woodstock, James Ossefoort of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Joyce Roos and her husband, Curt of Edgerton, Minnesota, Doug Ossefoort and his wife, Dawn of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, David Ossefoort and his wife, Marjean of Pipestone, Minnesota, and Richard Ossefoort and his wife, Lynette of Luverne; 27 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-granddaughters; sister-in-law, Joann Van Dam; and other family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Louis; two grandsons, Kelly Staeffler and Steve Ossefoort; a great-granddaughter, Addyson Ossefoort; daughter-in-law, Tammy Ossefoort; parents; and four siblings, Nicholas Van Dam, III, Gerald Van Dam, Helena Kriens and Joseph Van Dam.