Obituary of Catherine J Van Dyk
Cathy (Kea) Van Dyk
February 24th, 1930 - December 7th, 2023
It’s hard to imagine a more patient, compassionate, and loving individual than Cathy (Kea) Van Dyk. Her heart was always sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Family, friends, and acquaintances often commented on her gentle and friendly spirit.
She was born in Decatur Michigan on February 24th, 1930 to Harm and Marie Woltjer, recent immigrants and tenant farmers, and was given the name Epkea J. Woltjer. She was child number six in an industrious and loving family with a tenacious faith in God. Just ten days later, her mother Marie passed away. Harm Woltjer shouldered his tremendous grief and the monumental task of farming while raising his young children. Meanwhile, God’s mercy and provision waited in the wings. A couple from church, the Hammings, who had tragically lost their child, offered to care for Epkea (Kea). They loved her deeply. Harm visited his little Kea faithfully each Sunday until he decided to move the whole family back to the Netherlands in 1935.
Life was a struggle back in the Netherlands as well. War crept closer to its borders. The Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis in May 1940. Kea’s high school was closed to students and taken over by the invading troops, food was in short supply. Harm, who had worked digging ditches to support his family, became ill and went to be with the Lord when Kea was thirteen. She went to live with multiple relatives but dreamed of a family of her own where grief, scarcity, and war would be a dim memory.
The Netherlands was liberated and a treacherous war came to an end in 1945. Kea and her best friend, Syke, finished high school and celebrated by biking across the Netherlands, staying in barns along the way. Her heart for adventure soon led her to take a job as a nanny with a family traveling to the United States. In 1948, Kea stepped onto Ellis Island and was given the name Cathrine/Cathy.
It was as a young adult that Cathy came to know Christ as her personal savior and she never turned back. It was the beginning of a life-long faith. She successfully graduated from nursing school in 1952 and married Elson (Al) Van Dyk the same year. A little over 9 months later, her dream of having a family of her own was realized. Steve was born followed by Carol, Shirely, and Jim. Cathy was a dedicated and loving mother. Al and Cathy spent years working with Campus Crusade for Christ, spreading God’s love. When Al’s health declined, Cathy devoted her nursing skills to supporting her family and caring for her husband until his death in 2008. Afterward, she volunteered as a Hospice Aide, greatly impacting the lives of many.
On December 7th, 2023, Cathy laid down for a nap and God wrapped His arms around her and took her home. Cathy (Kea) Van Dyk will be remembered for her kind spirit, giving heart, and unshakable faith. She leaves us with a precious inheritance of faith, perseverance, and love. She will also be remembered for her fondness of Scrabble, and knitting!
“Three things will last forever- faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
A Graveside Service will be held at 1:00 PM on December 14, 2023 at
Goleta Cemetery (44 S. San Antonio Rd)To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Catherine Van Dyk, please visit Tribute Store