Annie Rena Bos went to be with her Savior early in the morning of November 12, 2020, at Grangeville Health & Rehab.
Annie was born to Kryn and Sadie (Rose) Gortsema on May 14, 1923, near Grangeville. She was the fifth of nine children and the older of two girls. Her earliest memories were of living on the Windmill Ranch west of town, but the family moved when her parents bought their own farm in 1931. The stories she would later tell of her childhood were rich with details of life at that time: learning to milk cows, doing laundry with a hand-crank washing machine, haying with Jackson forks, riding in the family’s Model T on a cracker box between the seats, and walking over the cow pasture to visit nearby neighbors. She attended the country school through the eighth grade, and later earned her GED.
In 1947, she began to date Ralph Bos, a Navy veteran and friend of her brothers. They were engaged the following February and married on May 11, 1948. “With this,” she later wrote, “began the happiest years of my life.” Their son Edwin was born just over a year later, and three girls followed. They bought a house in town, where they lived for about ten years before building the beautiful brick home where so many memories would be made.
Annie learned to sew at a young age, crafting doll dresses from her dad’s worn-out shirts. Only after she could sew well by hand did her mother teach her to use the machine. As a young mother and homemaker she would spend many hours sewing clothes for her children. She also served as a 4-H leader for 12 years. During that time she taught a number of young ladies, including her daughters and nieces, to sew. When her children were grown, she turned her talent and artistic flare to quilting and made many beautiful quilts and wall hangings. She made and donated over 2000 baby bibs to the hospital for newborns. She also shared her love of sewing and needlework with her granddaughters.
Since Annie enjoyed baking so much more than her mother, she did most of the baking for the family by the time she was a young teenager. Her experience in cooking, baking, and canning stood her in good stead after her marriage. Her homemade bread was always on hand and loved by all, and she always kept an assortment of cookies in the freezer in case of company.
Canning became less important as her vegetable garden shrank over the years, but her flowers were a bright spot in the neighborhood. She could often be seen in the morning and evening harvesting the fruits of her labor and keeping shrubs and flowerbeds tidy. When she wasn’t gardening, she was likely to be seen taking a walk around the neighborhood.
Annie made a public profession of faith and became a member of the Grangeville Christian Reformed Church at age 16. She was an active member for the rest of her life. Her faith was central to her identity, and evident to those who knew her. She taught Sunday school for over 23 years and volunteered in various capacities with the Ladies’ Fellowship and in youth discipleship.
Annie’s time and talents were always shared with generosity. She worked at the Idaho County Fair for over 40 years, served on the Fair Board for 12, and was Fair Marshall in 1994. She was also called upon to judge at other area fairs. When the Syringa Auxiliary opened a thrift store in Grangeville, she enjoyed volunteering there weekly, for many years throughout her 80s.
She adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, near and far. She always remembered their birthdays and filled her house with their photos.
Annie is preceded in death by her parents; husband Ralph; son Edwin; and brothers John, Charley, Jake, Neal, Andy, Wilbur, and Raymond Gortsema.
She is survived by her daughters Karen (Jim) Yakel of Shelby Township, Michigan, Sandra (Bill) Thornburg of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Sheryl (Jeff) Workman of Grangeville; her sister Rosella DeHaas of Grangeville; sisters-in-law Anna Marie Gortsema of Grangeville, Dawn Gortsema of Lewiston, Idaho, and Florence Malefyt of Grand Rapids, Michigan; brother-law Ken Kobes of Battle Creek, Michigan; 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
A public viewing will be held on Monday, November 16, between 1 and 4 pm, and a funeral Tuesday, November 17, at 1 pm, both at Blackmer Funeral Home. A private burial service at Prairie View Cemetery will follow the funeral. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Grangeville Christian Reformed Church or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.
While we mourn the loss of our beloved mother, sister, grandmother, and friend, we give thanks for Annie’s life and take comfort knowing that she is now in the presence of her Savior.