Mass of Christian Burial for Julia Claeys, 93, of Marshall, formerly of Ghent, will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall.  Visitation will be Thursday from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with a CCW Rosary at 5:00 p.m. and a Parish Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. at the Horvath Remembrance Center in Marshall.  Visitation will continue on Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the remembrance center.  Interment will take place at St. Eloi Catholic Cemetery in Ghent.  The Horvath Funeral Service in Marshall is handling the arrangements.  

On a sunny spring day on April 7, 1931, a baby girl with a beautiful soul was born to George and Eliza VanDeWiele on a farm near Walnut Grove. Julia Ann VanDeWiele spent her childhood working on the family farm along with her seven brothers and sisters, Oscar, Alice, Mary, twins Rich and Ray, August, and Maurice. She graduated from Walnut Grove High School and was honored to be selected as their Homecoming Queen.  As a young adult, Julia continued to work and travelled to the Ghent area to help relatives there. It was at a Sunday Mass at St. Eloi Catholic Church where a young man named Jim Claeys literally fell head over heels for this beautiful woman. Julia was accustomed to genuflecting outside the church pew, which led Jim to trip over her on his way out of church. Julia and Jim were united in marriage on June 13, 1953, and it was evident they were soul mates. They made their home together on the family farm outside of Ghent, where they farmed side by side. Ten children were born to their union with three leaving this world at birth.  Julia especially loved making homemade apple pies, taking lunches to the field, and working with her buddy “Electrolux.” She was an amazing cook. If you left her home hungry, it was your own fault! Together Julia and Jim enjoyed travelling, spending time with friends, and most of all, dancing. They spent many years wintering in Arizona. They were blessed to celebrate 71 wonderful years together.

On Monday, May 20, 2024, the angels took Julia home. Grateful for having shared her life are her husband Jim; her surviving children Terri (Scott) Boerboom, Bob (Mary) Claeys, Cathy (Dave) Nowariak, Patti (Ron) Fox, Jeff (Margie) Claeys, Chris (Jodi) Claeys; 24 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her son Brad, three infant children, and many people she loved.  A mother holds her children’s hands for a while and their hearts forever.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Prairie Home Hospice.