Jansen, Sylvia
Sylvia Jansen passed from this life to the next on Nov. 21, 2019, with a faith so strong that all of life’s storms (and even a tornado) could not bend its firm foundation.
She was born on July 3, 1925, to William Vanderwerf and Cora VanTiger Vanderwerf, on a farm north of Aplington, Iowa. Her mother, a schoolteacher, died when she was 15, so Sylvia became responsible for helping raise her younger brother and running the household while her father tended to the farm. She graduated from Aplington High School at the age of 16, then attended Iowa Teachers Normal School in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Wartburg College, but had to wait until she turned 18 in July 1943 before she could get a paying job.
Sylvia taught K-8th grade at Crooked School north of Austinville while continuing to live at home with her father and brother. She taught K-8th grade at Kesley from 1944-45, then returned to Austinville to teach 4th-6th grade from 1945-1949.
She married Paul Jansen on June 28, 1949, at Aplington Presbyterian Church. She and Paul farmed for 14 years while growing their family. They moved to Parkersburg in 1965 and she was employed as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant at Allison Manor and at Sartori Hospital in Cedar Falls from 1975-1990.
Sylvia was very active in the Parkersburg Christian Reformed Church, as a Sunday School teacher, choir, member of the Sunshine Circle, assisting with funerals and other church activities, even into her 90s. Sylvia enjoyed her involvement with the local Christian Women’s Club. She was a volunteer at Excelsior Christian School and started the Butler County ARC support group for parents with special needs children. She also enjoyed playing piano, watching college football and basketball games and doing Sudoku puzzles.
In 2008, while out to dinner with her daughter and son-in-law, Sylvia’s home in Parkersburg was hit by an EF5 tornado and completely destroyed. This might have felled anyone, but central to Sylvia’s being was her abiding Christian faith. Through all her years, in good times and in difficult times, Sylvia just trusted in her God. Through it all, she learned to lean on Him, and because of her strong faith, she could face each tomorrow-- and rebuild as needed. (And that, she did.)
Sylvia’s compassionate, empathetic, quiet and calm disposition was a gift she offered unconditionally to all. She was a constant prayer warrior for her family and many others. She delighted in her family, and stayed engaged in all her many grandkids’ activities, attending as many events as possible. Birthday cards were sent to all, and always strategically mailed to arrive on the honoree’s special day.
Sylvia died on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Parker Place in Parkersburg, of complications of COPD. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 55 years, Paul, in 2004; a daughter, Paulette, in 1989; a daughter-in-law, Lisa Jansen, in 2019; her parents; three brothers, the Rev. Calvin Vanderwerf and William and Wilbur Vanderwerf, who died in infancy; and a sister-in-law, Sally Vanderwerf.
Left to carry on her memory and to follow in her footsteps of faith are her children, Dale (Sara) Jansen of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Linda (Joe) Scallon of Iowa Falls, Iowa, Lugene (Jane) Jansen of Bella Vista, Arkansas, Ron Jansen of Pella, Iowa, Twila Jansen of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Troy Jansen of Ames, Iowa; 11 grandchildren, Quintin Jansen, Matt (Kari) Jansen, Sara (Craig) Bonney, Mark (Jenon) Scallon, Amy (Vince) Geis, John (Kelsey) Scallon, Rachel (Dave) Baker, Emily (Jason) Keith, Garret (fiancée, Hanna Stewart) Jansen, Elisabeth Jansen and Joseph Jansen; nine great-grandchildren; and one brother-in-law, Larry (MaryAnn) Jansen of Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Funeral services were held Monday, Nov. 25, at the Christian Reformed Church with burial in the Oak Hill Cemetery, both in Parkersburg. Visitation was held Sunday at the Christian Reformed Church and one hour before services at the church. Memorials may be directed to Exceptional Persons Inc. or Unity Point Hospice. Redman-Schwartz Funeral Home in Parkersburg was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.redman-schwartz.com.