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OBIT: Jolene R. “Joni” TerHark


This news story was published on January 12, 2019.
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Jolene “Joni” Renae Eekhoff TerHark, went to be with her Lord and  Savior on January 9, 2019, after her nearly five-year long battle with metastatic breast cancer. Joni was a faithful, joyful follower of Jesus, wife to an amazing husband, Barry, and mom to two incredible children, Ethan and Erin. She was 43.

Visitation with public viewing will be held from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019, at Grace Church, 440 N. Illinois Ave. in Mason City. Celebration of life services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 12, 2019, also at Grace Church. Cremation will follow the service and an inurnment will take place at 10:00 am on Monday, January 14, at Elmwood – St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

Joni was born on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1975, in Orange City, IA to Dennis and Margene Eekhoff. She attended Orange City Christian Grade School and graduated from Unity Christian High School in 1993. She met the love of her life, Barry, while attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA. Upon graduation from Dordt College in 1995, she worked at NOBL Labs in Sioux Center, IA.

Joni and Barry were united in marriage June 19, 1999, at the First Christian Reformed Church in Orange City. While learning how to adapt to farm life in Renwick, Iowa, she began a career with the USDA serving as a Program Technician for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) where she worked in Wright County (Clarion), Hancock County (Garner), and Tama County (Tama).

In September, 2002, she became a mother to Ethan. Erin was born in January, 2007, and both her tasks and love doubled. She “retired” from the FSA and quickly fell in love with her new job as a stay-at-home mom. Joni loved being a mom. It was during these years that she volunteered and coordinated the local Mason City MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. From there, Joni continued saying “yes” to serving on nearly everything her children were a part of. She served and volunteered with church groups, Jefferson PTO, Lincoln PTO, Team Boosters and even served on the Asbury Neighborhood Association Board.
Joni went back to work full time at the Worth County FSA, (Northwood), in the fall of 2008 and remained there until her passing.

Joni loved the outdoors, long walks, long talks, and graciously endured many of Barry’s crazy-long driving days on their way to National Parks. She was thoughtful, intentional, caring, compassionate, and kind. To know Joni was to love her. She was a blessing to everyone she knew. She had the heart of a servant, never met a spreadsheet she didn’t like, and had a bright, beaming smile that was the light of any room. Never did her smile seem brighter than when beaming from her sweet, bald head. She loved people well.

Left to cherish her legacy of faith and love are her husband Barry TerHark of Mason City and children, Ethan and Erin; parents Dennis & Margene Eekhoff of Orange City, Iowa: her parents-in-law Dennis & Marilyn TerHark of Kanawha, Iowa; three sisters Jenness (Andrew) Wolgen, Alton, Iowa; Jacquelyn (Matthew) Triplett, Arvada, Colorado; Julynda (Trent) Geleynse of Sioux Center, Iowa; 8 nieces and nephews; brother-in-law Brent TerHark of Tea, SD, and many co-workers and friends, especially her dear “BBB” friends.

She was preceded in death by brother-in-law Bradley TerHark.

Memorials may be directed to the TerHark Family.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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