Herman Earl Van Zee – Newton Daily News

Herman Earl Van Zee, age 96, passed away at the Parkridge facility in Pleasant Hill, Iowa on February 27, 2022.  Services and family visitation will be held Saturday, March 5, 2022 at the Prairie City First Reformed Church, with visitation at 10:00am and the service following at 11:00am.  Memorials may be designated to the Prairie City Historical Society or Hope Ministries.  Condolences  may be left for the family at

Herman was born to Martin and Nellie (Meppelink) Van Zee on September 2, 1925 in rural Prairie City, Iowa.  He attended rural schools through 8th grade and graduated from Prairie City High School in 1943.  

He married Kathryn Eleanor Vanderhart, daughter of Carl Edgar (Ed) and Jeanette (Vos) Vanderhart on November 19, 1948 at the First Reformed Church in Prairie City, Iowa.

They moved to Texas and, after a short time living there, returned to Prairie City where Herman worked for a short time for Maytag Company.

In 1952 Herman began working at Star Oil Company in Prairie City.  He became co-owner of Star Oil in 1976 and retired from there in 1996.

Herman was a long time member of the First Reformed Church where he served as both a Deacon and an Elder for many years.  He was a member of the Prairie City Lions Club, and received the Lions Melvin Jones Fellow Award.  He was also a member of the Prairie City Historical Society and a volunteer at the Neal Smith Wild Life Refuge.  Even after retiring he spent many years volunteering on projects for these organizations.  Because of his lifelong commitment to his community, in 2011 he received the Prairie Days Lifetime Achievement Award.  He also enjoyed working on, and sharing, many refinishing and small woodworking projects.  

Because of their interest in geography and history, Herman and Kathryn enjoyed taking trips to various destinations in the United States and abroad.  

Surviving Herman are his wife Kathryn of 73 years; his daughter Sandra Wagaman; his sons Kent (Diane) Van Zee; Alan Van Zee; and Joel (Sarah) Van Zee.  Grandchildren, Bradley (Stacie) Wagaman; Sheree (Kris) Van Der Kamp; Joshua (Annie) Van Zee; Sarah (Pat) Jensen; Jennifer Morse, Megan (Tim) McLaughlin; David Van Zee; Lucas Van Zee; Ahren Van Zee; Jolie Mach; Felicia Mach; Andrea Pedersen, Jared (Jocelyn) Pedersen; Brother Donald (Dorothy) Van Zee; sister Ruth Davenport; sister-in-law Carol Van Zee; brother-in-law Robert Erlandson and brother-in-law Howard Vanderhart.  He is also survived by several great-grandchildren.  

Preceding Herman in death were his parents; son and daughter-in-law Terry and Lois (Venhuizen) Van Zee; son-in-law Robert Wagaman; brothers George Van Zee and Robert and wife Shirley Van Zee; sister Joan Erlandson; brother-in-law Robert Vanderhart and wife Ellen Vanderhart;  sister-in-law Lola Vanderhart; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law Ed and Jeanette Vanderhart

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