Van Randen
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A HISTORY OF THE GERKA "DUTCH" VAN RANDEN FAMILY

Gerka "Dutch" Van Randen was born in Meppel, Holland, on April 19, 1900. Having been a merchant seaman from age eighteen on, he decided to emigrate to America and join his aunt, Mrs. Wilma Devries, who lived in Nederland, Texas. In 1921, he made his final voyage from Amsterdam to New York City. He then traveled by train to Nederland in pursuit of his ambition of becoming an American. His first job in Texas was delivering a newspaper route on horseback. Later he took a business course in Beaumont. About 1922, he went to work for Postmaster Klaas Koelemay, who operated the Nederland post office inside of his grain store at 1155 Boston, the building in which subsequently Mrs. Mattie Gardner founded Gardner's Grocery about 1925.

In 1924, Gerka Van Randen sang with Tex Ritter, later to become a well-known movie cowboy, on several occasions. Singing was his favorite pasttime, and later, Gerka was in a quartet with Jack Fortenberry, Jess Lester, and Will Lester.

On April 21, 1925, Gerka Van Randen married Euda Sehion. They became the parents of three children, a son John, and two daughters, Nancy and Katherine.

John married Virginia Hastings on October 21, 1949, and they built their home on Jackson Street. John served in the United States Navy during World War II. He and his wife became the parents of three children, Mike, LouAnn, and John, Jr.

Nancy Van Randen married Charles Bernard on June 5, 1953. They built their home in the 700 block of 16th Street, where they reared their two daughters, Susan and Amy.

Katherine married Mike Hazelwood on September 7, 1968, and they have one daughter, Susan Michelle.

In May, 1947, Gerka's brother Hendrik "Henk" Van Randen, his wife Tine and son Johnny, emigrated to Nederland to escape the economic aftermath of World War II, and for the next nineteen years, Henk worked for George C. Vaughan and Sons, a wholesale building materials manufacturer, in Nederland. After Henk's retirement on March 17, 1966, the family moved back to Meppel, Holland. Son Johnny was on vacation in Holland in 1957, when he married over there. He and his wife now live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they have two children, Henk and Julia. Henk Van Randen died in Meppel on October 4, 1972, leaving his surviving widow.

Gerka Van Randen died on December 4, 1960. His widow Euda continued to live at her home, next to her daughter Nancy, until her death about fifteen years later.

Gerka Van Randen had a number of cousins living in Nederland, all of whom are believed to be dead, as follows: Mrs. Annie Bruinsma Holcomb, Mrs. Dena Devries Mudd, Mrs. Effie Bruinsma Sanderson, Mrs. Anka Bruinsma Terwey, Gerka Bruinsma, and Dirk Ballast.

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