Tena ‘Thea’ de Jong Speelman

Tena ‘Thea’ de Jong Speelman

Tena “Thea” de Jong Speelman arrived in Jesus arms on March 16. She loved family and was a shining example of what a wife, mother and daughter of God should be.  

Thea was born in Sneek, the Netherlands on March 21, 1931 to Hessel de Jong and Reino Bajema. Her father passed away when she was very young leaving her mom to care for four young children.

Tena was 9 years old when Germany invaded Holland in WWII.  When Canadian forces helped liberate the Dutch in 1945, she remembered the soldiers teaching her and her classmates the song, “Home, Home on the Range.” 

In her late teens, Thea helped at her sister’s bakery and was also a caregiver to an elderly blind couple.  She became fluent in reading and writing braille.

Tena met her future husband Ed (Ype) on a day of sailing on the Sneeker Meer.  They were married on Oct. 23, 1951. The next year they immigrated to Artesia, California. They had three daughters and then ventured to Whatcom County to rent and then own their own dairy farms.  They added a son and daughter to the family as well. 

Besides helping on the farm, Tena also worked at Kale Cannery in Everson and was a cook and server at the Lynden and Everson auction barns. Later she enjoyed being an employee at Arie’s Deli, making their chili and Dutch Meatball soup.

Tena was very involved in her knitting group, helping with projects for Cascade Christian Home as well as the Ladies Aide Society at Nooksack Valley Reformed Church where she was a member since 1958.  

Tena was preceded by her husband in January 2019 and her grandson Christopher Polinder in July 2004.

Surviving are her children: Rea (Bernie) Korthuis, Margaret (Matt)  Schilperoort, Dorothy (Scott) Polinder, Harry Speelman, Lois (Mark) Lovrien. Also seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews in Holland, Canada and the U.S. 

Tena ‘Thea’ de Jong Speelman

Tena’s family gives sincere thanks to all the nurses, caregivers and all staff at the Christian Health Care Center who lovingly cared for mom these last years.  They will all miss her singing in the hallways.

Rest in peace, mom.   Your life of grace, humility and humor has been a lifelong inspiration.

The graveside service will be at the Nooksack Cemetery, Friday, March 31 at 10 a.m., followed by a Memorial Service at 11 a.m. at the Nooksack Valley Reformed Church. A time of fellowship and lunch will follow in the fellowship hall. 

Memorials may be made to:  NVRC, P.O. Box 4267, Nooksack Washington 98276 or Christian Health Care Center, 855 Aaron Drive, Lynden, Washington 98264.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Sig’s Funeral and Cremation Services.