For Elizabeth Verstappen's 90th birthday celebration on April 16, 2017, she had a few surprises. The first surprise was a former Japanese exchange student flying in from Okinawa. The next surprise was her only granddaughter, Julianne Pittman Sanders, flying in from Colorado with her husband, Kyle, and girls, Joslynn and Eleanore. The third surprise was from her youngest grandson, Eric Wytcherley, and little great-grandson, Wyatt, flying in from Minnesota. Only Eric's wife and baby daughter were unable to attend. It was a special day.

Elizabeth Hubertina Kerens was born on April 16, 1927, in Holtum, Province of Limburg, the Netherlands, the youngest of six children. Her parents had a small farm there.

She immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1951 when she was 24 years old. She had never ventured out of her village up until then and borrowed $300 for the trip. There she worked at Ottawa Civic Hospital while living with the family of the Inspector of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She met Joseph Verstappen, a custom tailor, in 1953, and they married in 1954. Two daughters were born to them while in Canada.

Tired of the cold Canadian winters, they moved the family to Southern California in 1960. Elizabeth was a stay-at-home mom while the girls were young.

In 1970, the family moved to Grants Pass, Ore., where Joe was witnessed to by an Adventist. The family was baptized in 1972. Elizabeth has been a member of the Grants Pass Church ever since.

Elizabeth worked as a food service manager in an elementary school for 18 years, retiring in 1989. She is very active, volunteering at the Adventist Community Services every week and for the Red Cross once a month. She enjoys knitting, reading, baking and traveling when she is able.

Elizabeth lost Joe in 2015, and a year later she lost her daughter, Rosanne, who was living in the Netherlands. Elizabeth is thankful to God for good health and being able to get out and walk regularly without any aches or pains.

Elizabeth's surviving family includes Geri and Bob Wytcherley of Milwaukie, Ore.; 3 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

June 19, 2017