John TerWisscha, age 87, of Willmar, passed away Friday evening, Oct. 12, at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar surrounded by his loving family.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Living Hope Church in Willmar. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by Willmar American Legion Post #167. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Willmar Community Christian School are preferred. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar. www.petersonbrothers.com
John was born on January 14, 1931, in Northwest Minnesota, at the family farm home near Bejou. He was the third child of Ernest and Agnes (Sweep) TerWisscha, who had a total of 8 children. John received his first 6 years of education in the Gregory Township School and then finished the 7th & 8th grades in Bejou. Following 8th grade, he stayed home to help his father with farming. In 1946, the family moved to central Minnesota and continued farming. In January 1952, John made his public profession of his faith and took Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. John married Shirley Schueler in January of 1952. John entered the U.S. Army shortly thereafter and served in the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge in February of 1954, he came home and met his first born daughter for the first time. In the summer of 1954, John began working with his friend, Mel Werder in Willmar building homes. After working with him for 6 years, John started his own construction company with his friend, Al Epema. In 1961, TerWisscha Construction was formed with John as the sole proprietor. During his years in the construction business, the company built many homes before branching out into the commercial field and specializing in churches and later funeral homes. John was active with the Gideon’s, served on the YFC board, President of the Willmar Chamber of Commerce, Central Minnesota Christian School board and also on church boards. He was one of the founding board members of the Community Christian School in Willmar. Upon retirement in 1995, John and Shirley traveled to Romania with Junior Kreps which began his years of ministry to people over there. He and Shirley traveled to Romania for extended periods of time assisting John Maianu in building small churches. He was an active member of the Evangelical Free Church (now Living Hope) in Willmar.
John enjoyed spending time in his workshop. He built 2 playhouses for the Community Christian School auction, along with numerous birdhouses, stepstools, lighthouses and many other items that his children and grandchildren are enjoying. John loved spending time with his family. He was always quick to share with others that the Lord had blessed him abundantly through the years. He found great joy in helping others, whether it was praying for them, encouraging them with phone calls or emails, or helping with any need that someone had. Many times when one of his children would call, John would be sitting in his chair reading the bible and would share a scripture that he just read and how it ministered to him.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley of Willmar; five children, Deb TerWisscha of Willmar, Val (and Dean) Bonnema of Lincoln, NE., Cindi (and Fory) VandenEinde of Springfield, MO., Kammy (and Keith) Nelson of Spicer and Kelly (and Sheri) TerWisscha of Spicer; twelve grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren. Also surviving are two brothers, Lester TerWisscha (and Willie) of Clara City and Ernest (and Rosalie) TerWisscha of Lynden, WA.; two sisters, Gladys (and Vernon) Ammerman of Lynden, WA., and Betty Bergsma of Coopersville, MI., one sister-in-law, Fran TerWisscha of Lynden, WA.; and special family friends, Ani and Marius Socea-Falca of Romania, besides other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Gerald and Alvin; two sisters, Elaine and Eleanor in infancy; and a brother-in-law Marvin Bergsma.