Obituary for Sylvia Hannink (December 4, 1929 – October 26, 2021)
Sylvia Kramer Hannink was released from earthly service and welcomed again into the Divine embrace on October 26, 2021.
Sylvia was born small and premature during a cold Iowa winter. As a newborn, she slept in a large shoe box, receiving warmth from hot water bottles or proximity to the kitchen stove. Sylvia was forever grateful for the gift of life itself.
Born the fifth of nine children to George and Jennie Kramer, the family moved during the Great Depression from Iowa to Bellflower, California, and then to Modesto in 1945.
Sylvia graduated from Ripon Christian High School in 1946 at the age of 16, and attended Calvin College for two years to earn a teaching certificate. She taught elementary school at Bellflower Christian for one year and then at Ripon Christian for the next five years.
In 1954 Sylvia married George Hannink and they began a life partnership that would last 59 years. Family life centered around raising six children and everything that entailed. Sylvia was a prolific baker, loved playing the piano, and enjoyed a variety of crafts including needlework, tatting, and knitting. When the youngest of her children entered elementary school, Sylvia resumed her own formal education, taking classes part-time at Modesto Junior College and Stanislaus State. This was at a time when Modesto Christian Reformed Church was sponsoring a family of Cuban refugees, so Sylvia added Spanish to her coursework. She graduated in 1973 with a History major and a Spanish minor.
A few years later Sylvia began another chapter of life, teaching Spanish at Ripon Christian High School, which she enjoyed for the next 16 years. Sylvia often reflected with amazement that some of her high school students had parents who had been her third grade students back in the early 1950s. As much as she enjoyed teaching itself, Sylvia found that the joy continued year after year, seeing former students mature, get married, raise families, and contribute to their community and society in so many different and meaningful ways.
Sylvia is preceded in death by younger sister, Jacoba; younger brother, John; grandson, David George Hannink; and her husband, George. She is survived by siblings Tena Kramer, Josie Vander Plaats, Alice Kootstra, Henrietta Vis, Jacob Kramer, and Ted (Theresa) Kramer, and by her children Bruce (Joanne), Russell (Jennifer), Mark (Paula), Grant (Susan), Jim (Keiko), and John (Julie). She also leaves 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren (several more on the way), each one a cherished gift of God; sisters-in-law Lois Hannink, Jan Hannink, and Alma (John) Overweg; dozens of nephews and nieces; and innumerable others whom she counted as friends.
Sylvia and George were grateful to reside in the Bethany Home community in their later years. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to Bethany Home Society Foundation, Sierra Salem Christian Homes, your local church, or another charity that shares God’s heart to the world.
Viewing on Friday, November 5, 2021, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., at Deegan – Ripon Memorial Chapel.
Graveside Service (private) on Saturday, November 6, 10:00 a.m., at Ripon Cemetery.
Memorial and Celebration of Life on Saturday, November 6, 11:00 a.m., Immanuel Christian Reformed Church. Luncheon to follow.
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