Antonette “Toni” (Blankers) De Ryke, 84, passed away peacefully, into eternal rest on May 9, 2017. Toni possessed a strong personal faith which found expression in every aspect of her life, and supported her through her final transition.
Memorial services will be held at 3pm, Sunday, May 21 2017, at the First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. Funeral services and burial took place this past week in Sanborn and Sheldon, Iowa.
She was born on a farm near Sheldon, Iowa, on February 23, 1933, attended a country school, graduated from Sheldon High School in 1951, and received a Diploma in Nursing from the University of Iowa School of Nursing in August, 1954. Toni and JJ “Jake” De Ryke (a native of Sioux Center, Iowa) were married on October 8, 1955, at First Presbyterian Church (Old Brick) in Iowa City.
Her nursing career, spanning 50 years, began in Obstetrics and culminated into her national certification as a Gerontological Nurse. She served in a variety of medical areas in various locations before a ten year stint, as Director of Nursing in Dakota Hospital in Vermillion, South Dakota, where she was a member of the area Child Protection Team, and was instrumental in initiating both a Hospice and a Home Health program.
Between 1987 and 1992, she visited 99 Nursing Homes performing Quality Assurance reviews. She completed her career with 13 years of service on the Housed Outpatient Unit at University Hospitals, where she also participated in various staff councils.
Her passion for nursing was equaled by her passion for singing. Participating in a variety of size groups, musicals, and solos was a major activity during High School. Since 1951 until now, she has sung with the First Presbyterian choir some part of every decade. As she and JJ moved around the country and the world, she sang with various choirs, sang solos, had a lead role in a University/Community production of “Carousel” in Vermillion, and enjoyed voice lessons in the Netherlands and at the University of Iowa. Toni was an active member of Iowa City Chamber Singers from 1987 until attending her final rehearsal on April 24th.
Toni played an active role in every church she attended. At First Presbyterian, she was a member of the Health Ministries Team, helped prepare and serve lunches at church and at Free Lunch, participated in numerous study groups, and is a Past Moderator of Presbyterian Women. She was a member of a home rehab team that went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. After retirement, she served for a number of years as a Hospice volunteer.
Toni’s family includes her sister, Harriet Van Veldhuizen, of Sanborn, IA; Toni’s husband, JJ De Ryke, of Iowa City; their son, Craig (Lori) De Ryke of Canton, SD; their daughter, Heidi (Brian) Smith, of Omaha, NE; Grandson, Cley (Amanda) De Ryke, of Harrisburg, SD; great-grandson, Wyatt; another grandson, Gerrit De Ryke, of Canton, SD, and granddaughter, Kelsey (Nick) German, of Arlington, SD; Hoang and Sima Huynh and daughters, Anjali, Mallika, and Shefali, of Iowa City, (former colleague and friend, who all have become family); Nieces, nephews, and cousins too numerous to name; and sisters-in-law, Evelyn Blankers, of Pipestone, MN, and Karen Holst of Fl.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Gerrit and Nellie Blankers, a brother John, and his wife, Helen, and another brother, Paul, and his wife Mary.
Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service is caring for Toni’s family and her services.