ORANGE CITY—Dorothy Nelvina Draayer, 94, Orange City, died Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at her residence. Services will be 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at First Christian Reformed Church in Orange City, Dr. Donald Draayer and the Rev. Mark Vande Zande will officiate. Burial will be at West Lawn Cemetery in Orange City. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, with family present 5-7 p.m., at Oolman Funeral Home in Orange City.

Dorothy was born Feb. 22, 1925, to Henry and Loumina (“Minnie” Kiel) Kramer, the sixth of seven children, on her parent’s farm west of Orange City. She was married to Nicholas (Nick) Draayer Feb. 16, 1944, in the very same house. Shortly thereafter, Nick was sent to Japan during WWII.

She attended country school through the eighth grade, receiving her diploma Aug. 23, 1938.

Dorothy grew up as a caregiver. As a young teenager, she cared for her bed-ridden mother. Her mother passed away Christmas Day in 1941, when Dorothy was 16 years old. She often mentioned that during this time her mother ‘picked’ Nick for her. Since she was so young, she knew that she was not allowed to go on dates, but when Nick came around, her mother gave her special permission. From there grew a love that lasted 64 years in marriage before Nick was called to glory Nov. 9, 2008.

After her mother passed away, she began taking care of many children. In particular, she cared for her nephew, Jacob Cleveringa, who was disabled due to a brain tumor. She also cared for many newborn babies and their families in their homes.

Growing up she picked corn by hand and milked cows by hand and later milked with the aid of milking machines. Also, Dorothy worked for over 22 years for Hope Haven RTC and for several years before that, for what was the Sioux County Home.

Dorothy enjoyed doing embroidery on pillowcases and towels and sharing them with family members. She was able to continue this hobby until her fingers would no longer cooperate and also “she lost her needle in her thigh.”

In her own words, she was an avid reader. After Nick’s death she made several trips to Kansas to visit her son and his family, being able to attend many sporting events. She also traveled to Washington state to visit her sister-in-law, to Dallas, TX, to visit a son and grandchildren, and to Iowa City and Denver, CO, with each of her daughters to see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. After she was no longer able to travel, she kept up with all of her children and grandchildren all across the country by almost continually watching the Weather Channel.

She was a baptized and professing member and also a member of the Faith, Hope and Love Society at First Christian Reformed Church in Orange City, and the Monica Society at Orange City Christian School.

Dorothy loved to sing and listen to others sing hymns, and she also could play the piano by ear.

We were able to share Mom’s wit and humor over the years but especially these past six months. She was an amazing woman who brought joy, love and laughter to her family and those around her. Nightly she would pray for all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attempting to recite each of their names.

Their marriage was blessed with four children who survive her: Don (Joanne) Draayer, from East Saint Paul, Manitoba, Canada, Nancy (Ed) De Leeuw, from Orange City, IA, Lora (Jerry) DeVries, from Sioux Center, IA, and Dave (Stephanie) Draayer, from Downs, KS; 13 grandchildren have been blessed by a dear Grandma: Tanya (Syla) Baccam, Donovan (CeAnn) Draayer, Natalie (David) Akerele, Trisha (Evan) Booy and Nick (Larissa) Draayer, Anna (Jason) De Goei, Maria (Philip) Rehberger, Nick (Allison) De Leeuw and Deidra (Jared) Ehrp, Tara (Steve) Dekkers and Chad (Jessi) DeVries, Renzo Draayer and Alida Draayer. Dorothy (Oma) was also known and loved by 30 great-grandchildren.

Also surviving, are sisters-in-law, Alma Kramer, Gladys DeWeerd and Cynthia Kruid; and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Gary and Sandy Draayer, and Ken and Belle Draayer.

Memorials may be directed to the Orange City Christian School and the Sioux Center Christian School.

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