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Cornelius "Cornie" Van Zanten

Cornelius Edward “Cornie” Van Zanten was born on March 29, 1928, near Rock Valley, Iowa, to Tony and Fannie (Zwiers) Van Zanten. He grew up on a farm southwest of Rock Valley. His family spoke Dutch at home, so when Cornie began first grade at Rock Valley Christian School, he could not speak English. When he graduated from eighth grade he decided to skip high school and work on the family farm so his father didn’t have to hire help. Cornie later worked for Niesink & Kempers, overhauling Allis Chalmers tractors.

While “cruising” the block one Sunday night in Rock Valley, Cornie & his friend Fred blocked the path of two girls “walking” the block; he had spied a good looking young lady who had recently moved to Iowa from Michigan. Three years later, on June 14, 1950, he was united in marriage to Wilma Kooima.

Cornie’s father in law, Charles Kooima, offered him a job at his plant, Kooima Machine Works (now known as Total Component Solutions). He started as janitor and worked his way up, becoming a part owner. Upon Charlie’s untimely passing in 1966, he became President until he retired in 1982. Cornie and Wilma lived in Florida for a year and when they returned to Iowa, he sold computers for Van Maanen’s in Rock Valley and then entered the insurance business in 1985. He continued to be active in business helping his clients until his death.

Cornie and Wilma faced many challenges together; their precious sons Larry and Randy were diagnosed with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy at ages 3 & 5. The progressive disease rendered them incapable of walking, feeding themselves, or doing anything physical. Cornie & Wilma made sure that the boys had a full life; they travelled all over the U.S. and the boys attended school with much support from their classmates. They passed away at ages 9 & 12 due to respiratory issues.

Cornie was known for his kindness, his genuine interest in those he met, and his faith in His Savior. He was a friend to everyone and always had time to ask about their families. He remained active in the community and enjoyed bowling weekly with his brother and friends. He served on church councils for many years, teaching catechism to many young people.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 67 years, Wilma; daughter Char (Dixon) Granstra, son Chad Van Zanten; grandchildren Allison (Chad) Vander Haar, Troy (Katie) Van Roekel, Darla (Bob) Vander Plaats, Darin (Lori) Granstra, and Dolan (Cherish) Granstra; 17 great grandchildren; and 3 great great grandchildren. Also surviving Cornie are his siblings John (Mary) and Albert (Harriett) Van Zanten, Albertha (Dick) Moorlag, Vern (Geneva) and Tony (Donna) Van Zanten, sisters-in-law Leona Aardema and Dolly Kooima, and brother in law John C. Kooima (Helen).

Cornie was preceded in death by his parents, Tony & Fannie Van Zanten; sons Larry and Randy, parents-in-law Charles & Anna C. Kooima, brother-in-law Jack Kooima, and sister-in-law Judy (Kooima) Lytle.

Blessed be his memory.


5:30 PM - 7:30 PM ,Wednesday, December 20, 2017
United Reformed Church
2485 300th Street Rock Valley, Iowa, Sioux 51247

Memorial Service

11:00 AM ,Thursday, December 21, 2017
Rock Valley First Christian Reformed Church
1401 16th Street Rock Valley, Iowa, Sioux 51247

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Even though I have lived in RV for 30 years, I do not know as many people in this town as one might think. But I am glad that I knew Cornie. In all the time I have known him, I never heard a bad word about him or a bad word from him. In every interaction I had with him, I felt better after seeing him than before. His optimism was contagious!

My sympathies to all who loved him and grieve his departure. May present grief soon give way to pleasant memories.

Joseph Terrell Dec 29 2017 12:00 AM

the farm visit - December 27, 2017
Posted: December 22, 2017 | Last Revised: December 22, 2017

First Betty & I offer you all our sympathy in the passing of your beloved loved one. May the comfort of the Great God you serve be real for each one of you now & in the future.

Just a couple of things I remember.

Visiting as young boys at your parents farm.

Cornie, Johnny & your wives were always there when there was a funeral in our family.

Then your brother Pastor Tony doing a real good job painting
the flames on the smart cars of the day.

I remember our parents were the best of friends

Sent with our love & our prayers, Louie & Betty

Life Story Dec 27 2017 12:00 AM

Send my prayers to the entire family.

Shawn VanZanten Dec 25 2017 12:00 AM

Prayers for the family, He will be missed greatly,

Marion & Becky Rus Dec 23 2017 12:00 AM

Our sincere sympathies to all friends and family. May God comfort you.

Allen & Mary Jo Toering Dec 21 2017 12:00 AM

Dear family: We wish to express our sincere sympathy on the passing of your husband, father and grandfather. May you feel God's loving arms surrounding you as face the unknown ahead of you. Cherish the memories!

Erv and Kathy Wieringa Dec 21 2017 12:00 AM

I am so sorry to hear of Cornie's tragic passing. I only knew Cornie for a few years while working for Kooima Manufacturing, but I found him to be a good man, considerate and respectful. He will be missed.

Thom R. Preslan (TR) Dec 20 2017 12:00 AM

We are sending our loving sympathy to you! What a Godly man Cornie was! And now he enjoys the precious gift of being in the awesome presence of the Lord he served all of his life. May God bless you with sustaining grace as you trust His amazing promises!

Nelson and Karen De Ruyter Dec 19 2017 12:00 AM

Cornie was my mother's insurance agent. I remember one particular instance when I received a telephone call from him asking me to help explain to my mother a benefit she was unaware of. I was impressed because of his concern for my mother. A very honest and well liked human being. I am so sorry for his loss.

James Vugteveen Dec 19 2017 12:00 AM