Ben Van Wyk

Ben, son of Willem Van Wyk and Tillie Tiechlaar De Bont Van Wyk, was born near Pella, Iowa, on July 28, 1905.  He lived most of his early childhood in south Pella, the area now south of Nick’s Greenhouse and east of Heritage Lace. Upon the death of his mother and little sister in 1915 and his father in 1917, Ben went to live with Tenis and Grace Van Wyk west of Monroe.

Ben helped drive hogs and/or cattle to market or to Dunreath to the train, walked two miles with Tenis to the timber to cut wood and might even have helped wash dishes. As he grew older, he “worked out” during the summer which meant he stayed wherever he was working from Monday through Saturday, but always returned home to Tenis and Grace’s on Saturday night. At 18 he bought a used Model T 4-door touring car, then a coupe body which he put on the touring chassis. It didn’t get a lot of miles as it was used basically for going to and from wherever he was working. Ben was a good com picker and at age 19 picked more than 5,000 bushels by hand, averaging better than 142 bushels per day for a 2-week period.  He enjoyed entering contests and in 1937 was the Jasper County Corn Picking Champion, earning a trophy and the right to compete at the state level where he placed 9th. (The trophy is still in the Ralph Van Wyk family.)

Ben met Irma Nelle Honnold (1908-2002) when both were attending the Monroe Presbyterian Church. They were married December 30, 1926, at the church manse. They lived with her parents before renting the first of many farms they would farm.

Around 1938, Ben bought a 2-cylinder B John Deere tractor with skeleton wheels for $500. He could plow seven acres with it if he had a “good day.” Later he bought a new 2-row cultivator with hand lit for $90 and a new single disc for $111.  After renting seven or eight different farms, Ben thought it was time to “buy,” but Irma Nelle said they didn’t have any money. Ben replied “If we don’t have any money we won’t have to worry about losing any money either.” So they took the plunge and purchased 120 acres southwest of Monroe, moving there in the fall of 1941. There were no decent fences but there were millions of cockleburs, and Ben and Erma Nelle slowly but surely built it up to become a very nice farm. They raised hogs, sheep, and cattle, rotated crops of com, beans, and alfalfa and used good conservation practices. They moved trees from the timber to the yard which became Ben’s “million dollar trees,” helped Ralph build their new house in 1948, and always had the door open for anyone who liked conversation and coffee.

They were active members of their church where Ben served as deacon and elder and also sang tenor in the church quartet. Irma Nelle accompanied the quartet and served as church pianist for over 50 years. They were blessed to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary there in December, 2001.

In February Irma Nelle became sick and passed away on March 9, 2002, at the Pella Hospital. Ben lived in his home until his death on May 5, 2003. Both are buried in Silent City Cemetery, Monroe, next to their daughter Phyllis Frazier (1935-1983).

Ben Van Wyk (1905-2003) X1926 Irma Nelle Honnold (1908-2002)

  1.  Ralph Hollis Van Wyk (1928-2009) X1947 Joan Aileen Prunty (1929)
    1. Sharon Kay Van Wyk (1948) X1968 Dwight Henry Miller (1944)
      1. Lisa Marie Miller (1970) X1993 David Ray Foster (1970)
        1. Shelby Karen Foster (1998)
        2. Cale Wayne Foster (2001)
      2. Lynn Margaret Miller (1973) X2009 Many Eby ( 1966)
        1. Piper Marie Eby (2010)
      3. Lori Marlene Miller (1976)
    2. James Lee Van Wyk (1950) X1978 Valerie Cook (1960) — divorced 1990; 2X1990 Marla Jean Knight Brom (1956)
      1. Andrew Dean Van Wyk (1980)
      2. Sara Arm Van Wyk (1983)
      3. Christopher Raymond Brom (1981) X2008 Tira Chaicha (1978)
        1. James Anik Brom (2010)
    3. Denise Joan Van Wyk (1953)
      1. Evan Benjamin Van Wyk (1980) X2006 Tracy Lynn Tudeen Hobbs (1970)
        1. Tyler Michael Hobbs (1997)
        2. Noah Benjamin Van Wyk (2004)
        3. Braden Hollis Van Wyk (2009)
    4. Janice Marnelle Van Wyk (1972) X1994 Thomas Matthew Davis (1972)
      1. Gunnar Cyrus Davis (1998)
      2. Graham Thomas Davis (1999)
      3. Eleigh Garnet Davis (2005)
      4. Emilyn Joan Davis (2007)
  2. Phyllis LaVonne Van Wyk (1935-1983) X1958 Clarence Alan Frazier (1936)
    1. Catherine Lywn Frazier (1959)
  3. Bonnie Lea Van Wyk (1937) x1961 Frank Francis Sloan (1940)
    1. Laurie Jo Sloan (1962) X1989 Kerry Joe Konrad (1963)
      1. Kari Jo Konrad (1992)
      2. Haley Kristine Konrad (1994)
        1. Ashtyn Loraine Roman (2011)
    2. Joni Lea Sloan (1965) X1988 Robert Joseph Bell (1963) divorced 1999
    3. Dianna Lynn Sloan (1969) X 1999 Mitchell Kenneth Marquardt (1958)
      1. Jennifer Kristine Marquardt (1980) X2005 Thiat Deo ( 1969)
        1. Zoe Reagan Deo (2006)
        2. Alexis Roman Deo (2009)
      2. Marshall Kane Marquardt (1983) X2009 Cathy Elizabeth Buchmeier (1984)
      3. Jacob Kenneth Marquardt (1984) X2008 Katie Lockwood McConnell (1986)
        1. Lorelai Lockwood Marquardt (2010)
  4. Ruth Elaine Van Wyk (1942) X1961 Guy Bernard Reeves (1942)
    1. Christopher Guy Reeves (1967) X1990 Nicole Marie Gast ( 1967)
      1. Samuel Guy Reeves (1991)
      2. Emma Jean Reeves (1993)
      3. Caleb Christian Reeves (1995)
      4. Jonah Nathaniel Reeves (1996)
      5. Elisabeth Grace (Betsy) Reeves (1997)
      6. Jamin Jaxon Reeves (2005)
      7. Mercy Joy Reeves (2010)
      8. Gabriel Scott Reeves (2009)
      9. Mercy Joy Reeves (2010)
    2. Kelley Diane Reeves (1969) X2005 John Drake McGowan (1966)

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