Friday, November 11, 2011

Clara Troost Bartels (continued) Clara also stayed at the home of other family members from time to time including Juke and Tena Bartels. This also occurred during 1944 & 1945 while Juke was in the Army Air Corp during WWII and Tena was home with 4 children. Johanna was also later widowed and since her children were grown and married she and Clara moved to Zeeland. They lived in a comfortable home 2 houses distance from the (former) Van Raaltes Restaurant. Later the church near them bought this property for a parking lot and they moved again. This time they moved to modern condominium in Zeeland. Great grandma Bartels treated all the relatives with mittens, sweaters, scarves, booties, slippers and afghans whenever she could. She did beautiful work and a lot of it. Even after she turned 90 hears old she made over 60 Afghans. Great Grandma was always quite healthy. Right up until her late 90’s she was hardly ever ill. However, her hearing began to fail as she got older. In her late 90’s she would usually get rather sick once a year, but with her great will would always bounce back and start working again. At some point in his adult life, John Bartels went to the courthouse for his first set of citizenship papers, but for some unknown reason, he never followed through with the process. Clara never did try to secure her citizenship. She thought it to be too difficult, and besides, she already felt like a citizen since she had been in the U.S. since she was 8 years old. In 1973, LaVerne Hoeksema asked Clara (his grandma)if she was willing to go through the necessary procedure and become a citizen for her 100th birthday. Since the family members offered to do the work, she agreed. What a special event that was for all of the family. At the golden age of 100, she became a citizen of the country where she spent 92 years of her life, and for which her eldest son died in battle to keep her, and all of us free! This was headline news in the Holland Evening Sentinel, the area's daily newspaper. Clara Troost Bartels died on May 30, 1974, 100 years and approximately 6 months after celebrating her 100th birthday. She was a hard working woman who endured much sorry (with the death of 2 children and her husband) and also realized times of great joy. She loved her family and the God that created her, and her family loved her.

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