Cover photo for Cornie "Sparky" De Ruyter's Obituary
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1930 Cornie "Sparky" 2019

Cornie "Sparky" De Ruyter

April 15, 1930 — October 18, 2019

ROCK VALLEY, IOWA ~ Cornie “Sparky” De Ruyter, 89, of Inwood, Iowa, formerly of Rock Valley, passed peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, October 18, 2019 at Hegg Health Center in Rock Valley.

   Funeral Service will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Rock Valley with Pastor Edward Pease officiating. Burial with military rites will follow in the Valley View Cemetery at Rock Valley. Visitation with the family will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday at the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. The Porter Funeral Home in Rock Valley is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to

   Spark was born to Dick and Lena De Ruyter near Rock Valley on April 15, 1930.  He was raised on farms near Rock Valley, Hills, and Ruthton, MN.  Sparky attended school through the 8th grade, and then worked for his dad on the farm.  He entered the service in 1952, was active in the Korean War, and honorably discharged in 1954. He met the love of his life, Shirley Gildemeister, in Holland, MN, where they married on October 28, 1955, and they enjoyed almost 64 years of marriage, during which “Sparkle” held “Shirl’s” hand every chance he got. They raised their 5 children in Rock Valley.

   His most recent place of employment was at Rock Valley Community Schools for 17 years and at Kooima Machine prior to that for 17 years.

   Sparky’s favorite pastimes were fishing, camping, woodworking, and spending time with his family, who adored him. He was known for his great sense of humor, his childlike sense of wonder and curiosity, compassion for others (especially the underdog), for always being the first to lend a helping hand, his love of nature, and for never being shy about his affection for Shirley and his family.

   He loved God and his church, Our Savior’s Lutheran, and instilled a deep faith in his children.

   He is survived by his beloved Shirley of Rock Valley; children, Trish (Dave) Mayer of Sioux Falls, Craig (Julie) De Ruyter of Rock Rapids, Lisa (Kyle) Sitzmann of Le Mars, Scott (Sarah) De Ruyter of Kitchener, Ontario, and  Michelle (Jay) Fischer of Sioux Falls; grandchildren, Carrie (Garrick) Moritz, Jaime (Aron) Moir, Sheila (Brett) Peelen, Ashley and Austin Fischer, Cody De Ruyter, Ryan, Megan and Ben Sitzmann and Alex Fischer; great-grandchildren, Morgan and Leif Moritz, Kate, Zach and Owen Moir, Koby and Parker Peelen, and Gavin Knopf; siblings, Gert Van Engen, Mina (Ed) Poppens, Mary Ann Gunnink, Rich (Fran) De Ruyter, and Carol (Rich) Hill; sisters-in-law, Margaret De Ruyter and Linda (Rich) Wissink; brothers-in-law, Darrell (Buff) Gildemeister and Denny (Mary) Gildemeister. 

   He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, John and Gerrit; sister, Nellie Schoonhoven; in-laws, Dick Van Engen, Al Franken, Pete Gunnink, John Schoonhoven, Eleanor De Ruyter, Shorty and Myrna Larson.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Monday, October 21, 2019

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

Our Saviors Lutheran Church

1921 12th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Our Saviors Lutheran Church

1921 12th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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