Cover photo for Tena "Thea" Speelman's Obituary
1931 Tena 2023

Tena "Thea" Speelman

March 21, 1931 — March 16, 2023


Tena “Thea” de Jong Speelman arrived in Jesus arms on March 16, 2023.  She loved family and was a shining example of what a wife, mother and daughter of God should be. 

She 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 she 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 October 23, 1951. The next year they immigrated to Artesia, California.  They had 3 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, she 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. She 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 7 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews in Holland, Canada and the U.S.

Her 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, 2023, 10:00 A.M followed by a Memorial Service at 11:00 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.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, March 31, 2023

10:00 - 10:15 am (Pacific time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, March 31, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

Nooksack Valley Reformed Church

602 East Second Street, Nooksack, WA 98276

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