Cover photo for John Attema's Obituary
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1940 John 2018

John Attema

February 26, 1940 — March 12, 2018

Rock Valley, IA: John Attema, 78, of Rock Valley, IA, formerly of Alvord, IA, died Monday, March 12, 2018 at Select Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Funeral services will be held Friday, March 16 at 10:30 AM at Rock Valley First Christian Reformed Church with Rev. Matthew Haan officiating. Burial will follow at Valley View Cemetery of Rock Valley. Visitation, with the family present, will be held Thursday, March 15, from 5:30-7:30 PM at First CRC. Memorials may be given to S.A.L.U.T.E. or First CRC Benevolent Fund.

John Roger Attema, son of Sam and Bertha (Zoet) Attema was born on February 26, 1940, on the family farm Southeast of Rock Valley, IA. He attended Country School through the eighth grade. He helped on the family farm and was a hired hand through his teenage years. On September 11, 1959, John married Janice Baker on her parents’ farm Northwest of Alvord, IA. They began married life with John working as a farm hand southwest of Rock Valley, then they rented farms by Alvord, Lester, Canton and Larchwood. They raised hogs and milked cows during those years. That, plus four babies, all happened in five years! In 1964, John started trucking as a hired driver. In 1972 he bought his first truck and started the family business, Attema Trucking. He hauled grain, livestock, produce and steel until he retired in 2010. John died on Monday, March 12, 2018 at Select Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

John enjoyed visiting with anyone who had the time, especially truck talk! He enjoyed watching his boys play fast-pitch softball, going fishing with friends, and made many great memories with life-long friends, Ed and Winifred Van Veldhuizen, John and Garlene Van Veldhuizen and Andy and Wilmina Oostra. The last couple years, John and Janice have really enjoyed their Saturday morning breakfast group. A cherished memory was a family trip they took to California in a motor home in 1977. After retiring, one of his favorite things was taking off on a road trip or joy ride, seeing where the road would take them. He loved the challenge of solving puzzles (in ink) especially crosswords and Sudoku. He was a lifelong member of First CRC in Rock Valley.

John shared his life with his wife of 58 years, Janice; six children, Harlan (Bobbi) Attema of Inwood, IA, Gaylan (Roberta) Attema of Zeeland, MI, Diana (Kevin) De Groot of Rock Valley, IA, Erwin (Jan) Attema of Inwood, IA, Glen (Kris) Attema of Cincinnati, OH, and Bonnie Attema of Mitchell, SD; 15 grandchildren Julie (Cory) Van Tilburg, Elise (Taylor) Bruinsma, and Hailey Attema, Dustin (Hannah), Benjamin (Allison), Shara Lee , Ryan, Jason, and Alyona Attema; Kurt (Jenn), Keith (Heather) and Kory De Groot; Tyler (Ashley) Attema, Lanae (Caleb) Faber, and Staci Attema; along with 13 great-grandchildren; a brother, Ray Attema, of Wyoming, MI, sister, Henrietta Attema, of Sioux Falls, SD, sister-in-law, Jane Baker, of Rock Rapids, IA; niece, Valerie Sneller, of Doon, IA, and nephews, Brian and Brad Baker of Rock Rapids, IA.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Bertha Attema, and an infant brother; brother-in-law, Willis Baker; father-in-law and mother-in law, Peter and Anna Baker.


Born: February 26, 1940
Place of Birth: rural Rock Valley, IA
Death: March 12, 2018
Place of Death: Sioux Falls, SD



Thursday March 15, 2018 , 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM at Rock Valley First Christian Reformed Church

Funeral Service

Friday March 16, 2018 , 10:30 AM at Rock Valley First Christian Reformed Church

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