John Henry Santema, age 80, of Milaca passed away on August 5, 2021.
A celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, August 21st at 11 AM at the Christian Reformed Church of Pease. Visitation will take place at the church Friday, August 20th from 5-7 PM and 1 hour prior to the service on Saturday.
John was born to John and Bertha (Byker) Santema on February 6, 1941, at the family home in Milo Township. He was the youngest of 4 children and attended Pease Christian School. John served in the US Army and later the Reserves until 1963. He married Brenda Bekius on December 21, 1962. John began farming with his brother, Harris, and in 1964 the family moved east of Pease. They had 3 children, Jim, Brian, and Audie and enjoyed many summers at Spectacle Lake. John retired from milking cows in 2002, but continued crop farming with his son and grandson until his death. John loved working on the farm, but also enjoyed watching tractor pulls and would give Brenda’s daycare kids tractor rides. John and Brenda would frequently attend sporting events that their children, grandchildren, and the daycare kids participated in. John and Brenda enjoyed trips to Branson, Missouri with friends, and trips to Duluth, Iowa, and California with their family. For a time, John owned draft horses and would hitch them up for wagon rides. John could also be seen people watching at the county and State Fair where he sampled many different foods. He would also regularly meet at the Pease Cafe to help solve the world's problems.
John is survived by his wife, Brenda; children, Jim (Jenny) of Milaca, Brian of Milaca, and Audie (Karen Dorrans) of Knoxville, IA; grandchildren, Kayla (Craig Lagerstrom) of Aitkin, Corey of Milaca, and Craig (Paige Boman) of Milaca: special family members, Arlene, Jason, Joshua, Charlotte, Rachel, and Kelli.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers and sisters-in-law, Sidney and Fran, and Harris and Shirley; sister and brother-in-law, Alice and Ray Mosley; and former daughter-in-law, Shelly (Hartmann) Santema.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorials to local organizations that John supported: Rum River Life Choices of Milaca; Community Christian School in Pease or the Mille Lacs County DAC.