Tena Heeringa

  Tena Hoksbergen Heeringa, our mom, grandma, great-grandma and sister, passed away on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

  Tena was born on Nov. 29, 1938 in Sumas to Lewis and Bertha (Van Loo) Hoksbergen, the eldest of 10 children. The family lived in Sumas, Lynden and many farm houses in between.

  Tena graduated from Lynden Christian High School in the class of 1956. She attended Western Washington University in Bellingham for one year, then RBI in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before starting her family. In 1978 Tena graduated from Shimer College. She received her teaching certificate, along with her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and master’s degree in education from the University of Portland. Tena taught high school in Vancouver, Washington, and Anacortes for over 10 years. She had a special connection with the students in Anacortes High School’s At-Risk Program that carried on into their adulthood. She taught and treated all like her own children, with love and compassion, helping these students to find their own way in our world.

  Tena was an accomplished pianist and organist from an early age. She played the organ for various churches in Vancouver and Anacortes and on her beloved Guemes Island. She accompanied choral groups from Columbia Presbytery in Vancouver and traveled to Australia and Europe. At Lynden Manor, playing the piano was one of the things Tena remembered how to do — you could see the spark in her eye as she played.

  Tena was preceded in death by her parents, great-grandson Case William Heeringa and infant sister Catherine.

  Tena is survived by her children, Rod Heeringa (Laura) of Everson, Roger Heeringa (Kelly) of Issaquah and Lisa Heeringa Parks of Wenatchee; grandchildren Cortnae LaGrange (David) of Davenport, Iowa, Jordan Heeringa (Linda) and Reese Heeringa (Tasha), all of Lynden, Mason Heeringa (Amanda) of Nooksack, Caleb Heeringa (Kaytlin McIntyre) of Seattle, Evan Heeringa (Jenn) of Everett, Zach Parks (Taylor) of Maricopa, Arizona, and Marissa Parks and Carmyn Parks of Wenatchee; great-grandchildren Erawyn, Shallon and Marryn Wynia, Lane, Estelle and Ingrid Heeringa, Abigail and Raylan Heeringa, Corbin Heeringa, Taylen Tena Heeringa, and David and Jaxson Parks.

  She will be greatly missed by siblings Robert ”Curly” and Patti Hoksbergen, Ria and Ron Bosman, and John and Betty Hoksbergen, all of Lynden, Bertha and Harry Stuurmans of Bellingham, Lewis and Jeanne Hoksbergen of Othello, Washington, Alyce and Dave De Haan of Edmonton, Alberta, Kathy and Larry Vander Leest of Oak Harbor, and George and Candy Hoksbergen of Twisp; and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

  Even though Tena never learned to swim, she loved a good beach. She truly loved walking on the beach with her grandchildren in tow or trying to keep up with them. Grandma Tena was the only one to find agates; none of the kids ever did. Finding special rocks and shells on her walks gave her the peace and tranquility she was always looking for. Our family will cherish the memories of these walks with her and will pass this love on to our future generations. Tena felt most at home living close by and in sight of the water and beaches.

  Tena was always working on finding her place in our society and the world. She was an avid believer in women’s rights, cared deeply for the environment, and for a time worked at a women’s domestic violence shelter. Tena had been involved in Alcoholics Anonymous for 21 years.

  The family expresses its heartfelt thanks to Meadow Green, Lynden Manor and the Christian Health Care Center for the love and care given to Tena the last 11 years of her journey with Alzheimer’s disease, especially to Lynden CHCC for the tender care and support given to Tena and our family the last 11 days of her life.

  A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, in Third Christian Reformed Church of Lynden.

  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations may be made in Tena’s name to the Bellingham Alzheimer Society, www.alzsociety.org, or to the Sierra Club. You are invited to share your condolences and memories on the online guestbook at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com.

  Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

  “We will forever miss you, Grandma Putz…”