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Cornelia "Cork" Arens

Obituary for Cornelia "Cork" Arens

December 17, 1923 - July 1, 2020
Holland, Michigan | Age 96


Cornelia "Cork" Arens, age 96, of Holland, passed away Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at Resthaven Maple Woods Cottages, surrounded by her family.

She was born December 17,1923 to Rev. Harry and Louise Blystra in Princeberg, Minnesota. Her early years were lived in Sully, Iowa until her father's ministry brought the family to Graafschap, Michigan. She was the fourth of ten children and life growing up in Graafschap centered around faith, family and community. She happily recalled memories of days spent playing in the yard with her siblings and pet goats, or in the village with friends. When it was time to come home for a meal, her father gathered the family back together by stepping outside and blowing a whistle. Family and faith remained strong despite the challenges of growing up during the Great Depression and later WWII. She graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1941 and worked in the office at Holland Shoe Factory. After the war, a handsome young man in Graafschap, now home from his time in the US Navy, drove his newly acquired car to her home and asked her if she wanted to go for a ride. That started the adventure of their life together. She married Harold Arens on June 3, 1948. They raised five children together in a home where love was paramount, grace was abundant and integrity taught by word and example. Harold and Cornelia, better known as "Herk and Cork" were charter members of Maranatha Christian Reformed Church and this remained her lifelong faith community. Gatherings and activities of the church were a vital part of the pattern of life. It was apparent to her children that this was her joy and privilege . Her life was full with her role as a mother, a clerk at JC Penney in downtown Holland and later as a unit clerk at Holland Hospital for 25 years. She also served as a volunteer for Hospice of Holland. In her retirement years, she enjoyed travel to see family or friends, including a cruise to Alaska when she was 88 and trips with family well into her 90s.

Cork showed a humble and gentle spirit and had a way of making people feel welcomed the moment they met her. Because she grew up in a large family, spent most of her life in this community and was very involved in it; her family would joke that no matter where mom went, she always ran into somebody she knew and would take the time to stop and talk with them. She was an encourager and offered support to her children and grandchildren wherever they were on their own life's journey, In her later years, when the physical frailties of life limited her activities, she still loved to read or stitch as long as she was able to or just sitting outside watching the birds and wildlife. She expressed her love with a quiet and gentle presence. Her faith remained strong to the end of her life. Even in her final days , when body and mind were failing, her children heard her softly singing, "come Lord Jesus." One of her favorite things to do was to wave at the window or door when it was time to say good bye. This final good bye brings us sorrow but we are comforted knowing that she is in her eternal home.

Cork was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Arens, in 2007.

Cork is survived by her children, Celia (Ed) Schrotenboer of Apple Valley, MN, Laurie (Steve) Garde of Sun City Center, FL, Ed (Wendy) Arens of Holland, Gloria (Jim) DeWaard of Holland, Phil (Cindy) Arens of Wyoming, MI; 12 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; sister, Sylvia Dykstra of Holland; in-laws, Jake Terpstra of Grand Rapids, Maxine Rodenhouse of Holland, Elmer (Betty) Arens of Zeeland.

Family graveside funeral services were held on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at Graafschap Cemetery. Rev. Matt Stob officiated. Memorial contributions may be made to Resthaven, Inc. and Maranatha Christian Reformed Church. Arrangements are by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home. Friends may leave condolence messages and view a recording of the service (choose Multimedia Tab) at

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Maranatha Christian Reformed Church
    915 Central Ave.
    Holland, MI 49423

Arrangements By

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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