Cover photo for Ellen Agnes Bontje's Obituary
Ellen Agnes Bontje Profile Photo
1933 Ellen 2021

Ellen Agnes Bontje

October 18, 1933 — September 26, 2021

Rock Rapids, IA

     Ellen Agnes Bontje age 87, of Rock Rapids, IA died Sunday, September 26, 2021, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

     Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 30th at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Rock Rapids.  Burial will follow in the Hillside Cemetery at Lester, IA.

     Visitation will be Wednesday, September 29th from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. with family present from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Holy Name Catholic Church in Rock Rapids. There will be a 7:00 p.m. Vigil service at the church Wednesday evening.

     Ellen Agnes Cook was born October 18, 1933 in Madison, SD to William and Martha (Gunderson) Cook. She grew up in Madison with her three sisters. She graduated from Madison Central High School in 1951, and went on to obtain her registered nursing education from Presentation School of Nursing at McKennan Hospital. During these years Ellen met the love of her life who happened to be the brother of her college roommate, Mary Ann Bontje. Ellen married Louie Bontje on October 14, 1954, in Madison. Louie was in the Air Force so they made their first home in Rapid City, SD. Following his discharge from the Air Force, Louie and Ellen farmed outside of Lester until they opened Louie's Café in Lester, IA in 1961. During this time of operating Louie's Café, Ellen also worked as a RN at the Rock Rapids Hospital for many years. She always claimed she delivered more babies than the doctors did during her years of working full time nights. In the later years of her career she worked at Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, MN., the Rock Rapids Health Center, and the Rock Rapids Kids Club. She finished her career opening an in-home daycare for her grandchildren and a few other special little ones.

     Ellen moved to Rock Rapids after Louie died in 1999. There she continued to live independently, thriving on the growth of her family, taking pride in the bragging rights to 23 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren. (Plus two more on the way!) She loved to sew, and lovingly made baby blankets for each of these little blessings. She enjoyed watching her grandchildren during their various activities. She even became a wrestling fan. Her grandchildren will say among their favorite memories will be having breakfast at grandma's after church and also after a few weddings. She made the best cinnamon and sugar toast with the crust cut off, and the best mac and cheese. Ellen also spent 53 years involved with the Lester American Legion Auxiliary and enjoyed many years playing cards with the Lester Tripoli card club.

     Ellen was a woman of faith who was devoted to the rosary. She looked forward to her reunion in Heaven with Louie. She peacefully died Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls with her family at her side. Grateful to have shared her life are her 6 children, Pam (John) Hawf of Lester, IA; Diana (Dave) Bigge of Sioux Falls, SD; Patti (Doug) Pottebaum of Inwood, IA; Linda (Doug) Herda of Rock Rapids, IA; Sandi (Jim) Lupkes of Rock Rapids, IA; Craig (Becky) Bontje of Rock Rapids, IA; 23 grandchildren; 44 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law Betty Gacke of Larchwood, IA; Mary Ann (Kermit) Bjerke of Bemidji, MN; Shirley Vrooman of Sioux Falls, SD; brother-in-law Don Bontje of Janesville, WI; as well as many nieces and nephews.

     She was preceded in death by her husband, infant daughter Lori Jean, infant great-grandchildren Gabriel Lowe-Farmer and Lydia Lupkes, her parents, sisters Elizabeth Barret, Evie Struwe and Jo Holmblad.


To order memorial trees in memory of Ellen Agnes Bontje, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

2:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Prayer Service

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree

Send a Card

Send a Card