- September 25, 1919 - November 29, 2016
- Fulton, Illinois
of Raymond's Passing
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“My Grandpa B. was such a special person. I loved when he would come to babysit me. I always thought I was pulling one over on him if I got him to let...Read More »
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Raymond Ralph Bielema, 97, of Harbor Crest Nursing Home, Fulton, IL, died Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at the nursing home. He was born Sept. 25, 1919, in Fulton to Jacob R. and Alice (VanderSchaaf) Bielema. He was educated in the Smith Grade School of rural Whiteside County, Illinois.
He married Belva Jean Wierenga on Feb. 28, 1947. They raised three sons in the Fulton home built in 1947 by Belva's father, Albert "Bat" Norman, and remained there their entire life.
He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving in the Pacific Theater, Okinawa, Japan, as a Jeep driver and mechanic, as well as a 90mm anti-aircraft artilleryman. He received the Bronze Battle Star and qualified as a sharpshooter with the M-1 Carbine. He also was an accomplished softball pitcher in the Army.
He worked as a laborer for the Pillsbury Co. and later Clinton Corn Processing Co., both of Clinton, Iowa. He also worked as a greeter at Target in Clinton.
He was an avid rabbit hunter, enjoying the sport with his sons and brother, as well as putting food on the table with his hunting skills during the Great Depression. He also enjoyed fishing at Cattail Slough in Fulton with his sons. He loved watching baseball and football, and attended the various Clinton minor-league baseball games over the years. He was the family fix-it man and could fix virtually anything with a few items found around the house. He loved TV, particularly the classic variety shows like Carol Burnett, Red Skelton and Hee-Haw. He loved country music and was a big fan of Jim Nabors.
He was a faithful provider and steadfast guardian for his three sons, watching out for them at every opportunity and offering love and support in any way he could. He was always the driver on family vacations near and far, and rarely lost his cool, no matter how bad the traffic or temporary crisis. He was a member of First Reformed Church, Fulton, where he served as an usher for many years.
Survivors include his three sons, Brian J. Bielema of Morrison, IL, Ross R. (Michelle) Bielema of New London, WI, and Brent J. Bielema of Fulton; three granddaughters, Jennifer Cavin of Dayville, OR, Mari (Jeremy) Barsema of North Liberty, Iowa, and Kalispell Bielema of New London; a brother, Elmer Bielema of Fulton; and a niece, Linda (Howard) Paysen of Fulton.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Belva; and his sister, Harriet (Willis) Schaver of Fulton.
Visitation will be Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 9:30 – 11:00 AM at the McDonald Funeral Home, 1601 16th Avenue, Fulton. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 11:00 AM at the funeral home with Reverend Edie Lenz of the First Reformed Church in Fulton officiating. Private burial with full military honors will be at Rock Island National Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to Harbor Crest Nursing Home in Fulton.