Everyone’s descended from someone; QUEEN LEAH BLANKESPOOR and HER COURT

A view of the tulips from the 2012 Pella Tulip Time. (photo by Denis Currier)

A view of the tulips from the 2012 Pella Tulip Time. (photo by Denis Currier)

by Marty Racheter

The 2014 Tulip Time Queen is Leah Blankespoor, a 17-year-old Pella Christian High School Senior, who, born during the week of Tulip Time Week, has had a life-long fondness for all things Tulip Time. She would even walk to the mailbox in her wooden shoes as a child, and indeed, wore a pair completely out.

Leah is the daughter of Mark and Laura Blankespoor. Mark is a physical therapist, one of the owners of the Pella Recreation Center, and formerly founded Work Systems Rehab and Fitness. Laura works in the call center at Pella Regional Health Center. Laura has strong Dutch roots in Morry (former English teacher at Pella Christian High) and Rose Blankespoor on her father’s side, and through Gerrit and Helma Davelaar and Davis Tebben from Sioux Center on her mother’ side. Relatives on both sides came from the Gelderland area; maternal relatives extend to Germany as well.

Leah has an older sister and a 7-year-old Yorkiepoo named Ellie – “8 pounds of fluff!” Leah plans to attend Iowa State University and major in event management. She hopes to one day help plan Tulip Time or the Iowa State Fair.

Attendant Mariah Eekhoff, a Pella Christian High School senior, has been waiting for this opportunity since fourth grade, when she was one of the Tulip Time flower girls. She is the daughter of Byron and Cindy Eekhoff, who met at Dordt College and are the owners of H&S Feed and Country Store in Oskaloosa. Byron manages the store, and Cindy is a receptionist at Eyecare Partners. Mariah has two younger brothers and Abby, a yellow lab (“I don’t like her,” confides Mariah. “She’s needy and barks a lot.”)

Mariah’s maternal grandfather is Conard de Boom, the oldest child of Tony de Boom and Fannie Altena from Sioux Center. Conrad married Adelyn Netten, daughter of Hendrich Netten and Sadie Westra from Northwest Iowa.Her paternal grandfather was John Eekhoff, Jr., son of John Eekhoff, Sr. and Jenny Nieman. Her grandmother was Thelma Verhoef, firstborn child of Cornelius Verhoef and Cornelia Post.

Mariah’s future plans are to attend Bethel University to earn her BS in nursing and to work in an operating room or obstetrics department.

Attendant Rachel Mueller from Pella High School is the daughter of Jim and Julia Mueller. Her mother is Dutch; her father is German. Julia’s parents are Sandra and Bruce Heerema, who played for the Chicago Bears farm team, was co-owner of Boat Furniture, and co-founded Heritage Lace. Jim’s parents are Emil Mueller from Peterson, IA and Kathryn George (“Far-away Grandma”) from Cherokee, IA. Rachel’s immediate family also includes three dogs.

Jim Mueller is the chief operating officer at Storey Kenworthy in Des Moines, and the mayor of Pella. Julia is co-owner of Cornerstone in Pella. Rachel has two older sisters, both attending Iowa State University, where she, too, will go next year, to study the performing arts.

Attendant Sarah Muller from Pella High School is the daughter of Lauri and Darwin Lourens and Steve Muller. Sarah’s older brother and sister no longer live at home. Darwin Lourens is a local contractor; Lauri is a general music teacher at Madison and Jefferson Schools; Steve is director of The Homestead, in Altoona, IA, that provides a variety of innovative solutions for autism.

George Smits and Sarah Markus had Nellie Smits, Sarah’s maternal grandmother, who married Matthew Mullins. John Catherenis Vroom married Cornelia Van Zee, and had her grandfather, John Vroom (Pella Engraving). Her father’s relatives are of many European descents. Louis Muller married Helda Schmidt. Her grandmother (Bonnie Erickson)’s family came from Norway, Switzerland and Germany.

Sarah will attend Iowa State University this fall to major in journalism and minor in fashion. Her ideal job is to become a magazine editor.

Attendant Faith Van Wyngarden’s name tells you she is thoroughly. This Pella High School senior is the daughter of John and Sharon Van Wyngarden, who own and operate Van’s Electric & Construction, Inc.

Sharon is the daughter of Raymond Ter Louw (son of Frank Ter Louw and Wilma [Rozenboom] Ter Louw) and Norma Eysink (daughter of John and Johanna [DeJong] Eysink). John is the son of Cornie (son of Walter Van Wyngarden and Sadie [Stursma] Van Wyngarden) and Erma Vander Hart (daughter of John Vander Hart and Susie [Meplink] Van Der Hart.

Faith will be leaving her younger sister, their sister cats, and Lady, their “mutt who looks like a fox,” to attend Iowa State University and major in elementary education while minoring in Spanish and performing arts.

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