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Just before Thanksgiving 2003 my son Jeff and his family returned from a five year stint with the U. S. Army in Germany. On a number of occasions during their 10 day visit, Jeff, my daughter Lisa, and I talked about our family history. I learned that the two them knew almost nothing about their mother's side of the family. (She and I are long divorced.) This was in contrast to my side of the family, where I have been researching and sharing information off-and-on for a number of years.

Lisa and Jeff's mother and I both grew up in South Dakota. I knew that her father was John KALLEMEYN and her mother was Marie JONGELING, that they were of Dutch ancestry, and that they had both been raised in SD.

I met John (Marie called him "Kelly") and Marie in the mid 1960's, before he became my father-in-law. John was a quiet, thoughtful man, with a deep personal religion, who read a Bible verse aloud every night at the family dinner table. He had farmed for many years near Castlewood and Esteline SD. Like so many others in the region at that time period, he eventually gave up on farming and moved to the college town of Brookings. He worked as a dormitory custodian in the early 1970's, the time that I knew him best. I attended his funeral in March of 1980 at the tiny rural Reformed Church and cemetery in Hamlin Co. near Esteline. I can still feel the cold South Dakota wind biting through my skinny little Texas coat.

Earlier in 2003 Lisa had obtained some additional information from her mother:

"Grandpa was John William Kallemeyn, born 01/28/1906 and died 03/25/1980. His dad was Jacob Kallemeyn and his mother was Minnie (not short for anything) Abbink."

Armed with these few facts, and I set off to see what I could find.


Ka.Web.03 Rev 28 Dec 2003