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Ferdinand J. Tilstra

September 15, 1932 — April 26, 2024

Hills

Ferdinand J. Tilstra

Ferdinand “Ferd” James Tilstra was born September 15, 1932 to Cornie and Fannie (Hommes) Tilstra on a farm southwest of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He attended country schools in Lyon County, Iowa and Rock County, Minnesota. He graduated from Hills High School in 1950. He attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa for a year but left school early as his heart was in farming.

He married Evelyn Fikse on February 19, 1953 at the Steen Reformed Church, Steen, Minnesota, during a huge snowstorm.  The snowplow went ahead of them to plow the roads open so they and their guests could get to the reception hall in Rock Rapids, Iowa. The young couple started farming near the family farm, where they lived for two years. Ferd and Evelyn moved to a farm near Hardwick and lived there for five years. They then moved to the Luverne area. In December 1967, they moved to the family farm where he resided for the next 39 years. He started his farming career, first with his father and brothers and later with his son.  It was a proud day when his grandson, Cory, joined the farming operation.  He was proud to be a farmer and enjoyed working with animals and the soil.

Ferd and Evelyn enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time in Texas or Arizona in the winter. They loved going “up north” fishing with their friends each year. Sporting events were a favorite, especially when they could watch their grandchildren. It was very exciting when his granddaughters participated in the Howard Wood Relays. They became the third generation to participate in the same event he and his son, Arlyn, had participated in. In February 2003, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and in August 2003, Evelyn passed away.

Ferd and Bernice (Vonk) Sandbulte were married December 30, 2006 at the Steen Reformed Church.  They resided in Hills, MN. Their life included attending many sporting events their children and grandchildren and later great-grandchildren were involved in. They enjoyed traveling and spending time in the great outdoors. Ferd would never pass up the opportunity to go fishing, share a game of cards or a good story. Ferd felt that strangers were friends he had not yet met.

Ferd was a member of the Steen Reformed Church for over 70 years. He was their oldest living male member at the time of his passing.  He participated in Men’s Brotherhood, sang in the Male Chorus and was an usher. With his family by his side, Ferd passed away on Friday, April 26, 2024 at the Hospice Cottage in Luverne at the age of 91 years, 7 months and 11 days.

Ferd is affectionately remembered by his wife, Bernice of Hills, Minnesota; his daughter, Brenda (Delton) Ledeboer of Fountain, Colorado; his son, Arlyn (Melanie) Tilstra of Hills, Minnesota; grandchildren, Jeremy (Sarah) Ledeboer, Shanna Top (Ryan Danforth), Cassi (Ryan) Millsap, and Cory (Bethany) Tilstra; great grandchildren, Lily and Laney Top, Jersey, Maze and Zane Millsap, Mason Ledeboer, and Emma and Abby Tilstra; sister, Inez Hoogeveen; sisters-in-law, Ann Tilstra, Cena Mae Tilstra, Joan Tilstra, Elaine (Andy) Steensma, and Lois Fikse; and many nieces and nephews.

His bonus family members include: sons, Dale (Jodi) Sandbulte of Steen, Craig (Brenda) Sandbulte of George, Iowa, Myron (Lisa) Sandbulte of Hills, Nathan (Mary) Sandbulte of Sioux Falls, Brian Sandbulte of Hills; daughters, Julie (Jim) Harsma of Brandon and Denise (Brett) Gannon of Cherokee, Iowa; 18 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Marvin (Eleanor) Vonk of Rock Valley, Iowa; and sister-in-law, Hermina Besselsen of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn; parents; brothers and sisters-in-law, Fred (Anna) Tilstra and Gerhard (Bernadine) Fikse; brothers, John Tilstra, Raymond Tilstra, Arvin Tilstra, and Cornie Tilstra; brother-in-law, Don Hoogeveen; sister-in-law, Lucille Boeskool; and nephew, Wayne Tilstra.

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Memorial Folder for Ferdinand Tilstra.pdf
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Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Reformed Church of Steen

123 W. Church Ave., Steen, MN 56173

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Reformed Church of Steen

123 W. Church Ave., Steen, MN 56173

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Interment

Thursday, May 2, 2024

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