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John J. Hoekman

July 30, 1929 - February 22, 2021

John J HoekmanJohn J HoekmanJohn J. Hoekman entered glory on February 22, 2021. He was 91. A 45-year resident of Salem, Oregon, John will be remembered as always putting faith in the Lord first. He was a devoted husband and father, served his community and his country, was dedicated and hard-working in all of his vocations, and found great joy in gardening, reading, and being in the fellowship of others.

John was born July 30, 1929, to Dirk and Lena (Wynia) Hoekman in Tuthill, South Dakota. He was the eldest of 11 children, and was raised on his family farm in Slayton, Minnesota.

In 1951, John was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Korean conflict with the 980th Field Artillery, 40th Division from 1951-1953. As a combat veteran, John earned the Korean service medal, two bronze service stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.

After returning home, John married Grace Docter on August 21, 1953, fulfilling a promise he had made to her before leaving for war service. They bought their farm in Edgerton, Minnesota, and were blessed with eight daughters.

In 1976, John and Grace moved to the promised land of Salem, Oregon, where they enjoyed the milder climate of the Pacific Northwest. John left farming and utilized his dairy experience to begin a successful 34-year career as a feed consultant with several companies: Mayflower, Darigold, Land O’Lakes, and Kropf’s Blue Ribbon Feed. Much to the chagrin of his competitors, John was one of the best at what he did and made many friends and loyal customers for life.

On May 2, 1985, John’s beloved wife of 31 years, Grace, passed away from cancer. John was a very social person and missed companionship. In 1986, John was introduced to Karen Bjornstad through mutual friends. They were married on June 26, 1986, in Eugene, Oregon. John adopted Karen’s two daughters and loved them as his own.

One of John’s greatest disappointments in life was that he was not able to attend college and medical school to become a physician due to family obligations on the farm. Education was important to him, and he provided private education for all of his daughters along with the opportunity of university or beyond.

John was actively involved in Salem First Church of the Nazarene’s community and served by volunteering for Hope Station, a non-profit food bank helping working families in need. John was devoted to his church family and never missed a Sunday service. John’s faith was the foundation and truth of his character, and he lived it in all aspects of his life.

John would say, "God has been good to me." He had two wives of 31 and 34 years, respectively, who loved him faithfully and passionately. He lived humbly and thankfully. John’s eight daughters, 19 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren from his first marriage and two daughters and four grandchildren from his second marriage are a testament to his countless blessings.

John lived a life free of worry, grounded in his unshakeable trust in the Lord. He found humor and relished the lighter side of life, never taking things too seriously. John loved the fellowship of others over coffee, and regularly attended Bible study. One of John’s greatest gifts was his ability to connect with others, always quick to strike up a conversation with strangers. Perhaps to John, no one was a stranger in this life. We are all predisposed to the Almighty.

John’s love of travel and road trips also took him to the far reaches of America and Canada. He enjoyed the American landscape, and visiting many of the National Parks and historical sights of the country he loved. He also visited the Holy Land in Israel with his church. Wherever John went, he was enchanted by God’s creation.

The joys John enjoyed in life were of the simplest kind. He loved God, he loved his family, and he worked hard. There wasn’t a disingenuous bone in his body. He always said what he meant and meant what he said. There were never any pretenses, and you always knew where you stood. He will be remembered fondly by all those who knew and loved him.

John is preceded in death by his parents Dirk (1982) and Lena (2002), wife Grace (1985), brother Richard (1989), brother-in-law Marion Bomgaars (1996), sister Helene Rush (1998), brother-in-law Don Lay (2010), brother Paul (2014), and son-in-law Roger Kraker (2018).

John is survived by his wife Karen; {alphabetically} his daughters Alyssa Hoekman (Jason Barney), Cheryl (Fred Van Hal), Elaine (Jim Reynolds), Jeanne (Ken Van Staalduinen), Jonna Hoekman (Gregg Huskey), Judy (Chuck Thomas), Nadine Hoekman, Roxine Hoekman, Sonya (Tim Natelborg), Yvonne Kraker; his siblings and in-laws Dorothy Lay, Janet Meyer, Linda & Don Woldengen, Marie & Sid Van Gelder, Martin & Irene Hoekman, Pat Rush, Pete &Viola Hoekman, Ruth Bomgaars, and Tony & Marcella Hoekman.

Private graveside, date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Station: (In Memory of John J. Hoekman).

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A loving tribute to a wonderful man. I remember his infectious smile and kind manner. Prayers and love to his family that are missing such a big piece of their hearts.

He had such a beautiful smile and gentle spirit every time I met him. Praying for comfort for all who loved him. Sending our love to Alyssa and Karen. 

Please accept our sympathies for your loss. We did not have the privilege of knowing Mr. Hoekman personally, but we knew through our connection with his daughter, Alyssa Hoekman, that he was greatly respected and loved. We hope his celebration of life will quickly heal the sorrow of his passing.   Sincerely, The Olsen Family of Eugene

Jim and I send our deepest sympathy at the loss of this lovely, loving man,  He will be missed by so many in his immediate family but also his extended family which includes his church family and his many friends. We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to know John, even if briefly. 
Teri & Jim Lupoli

He always had time to say hello and genuinely ask how I was when I spoke to him at church. 

John's presence as an usher on the west side brought a welcoming presence for anyone entering the Sanctuary. His handshake was firm, his smile ear to ear. He was much loved and will be greatly missed. 

We always enjoyed seeing our usher on Sunday mornings because he was so welcoming. Bill remembers his van trips with him driving to Birch House and always was amazed at his work ethic and physical strength. Our love and prayers. Bill & Judie Martin

I wish to express my sympathy to the Hoekman family for the passing of John. "For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." (1 Thessalonians 4:14, ESV)

I'm sorry for the loss but rejoice that he is with jesus. John truly was a gentle giant. I was so lucky to have known such a man. For just the short amount of time I knew him, he made a big impact on my life. Can't wait til we meet again my friend. I miss you p.s. this pic was his first selfie

What an amazing Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather.  He truly lived a good life and touched many others with his goodness.  Praying for the family at this difficult time.