Isabel Clerk Huizenga, 98, passed away April 10, 2018 with her family at her side. She was born to Scottish parents on Feb 28, 1920 in Calcutta, India and moved to Chicago at age 5. She embraced her new country while at the same time remaining connected to her Scottish roots. One of the highlights of her youth was competing in Scottish highland dancing at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-1934, accompanied by her father playing the bagpipes. She completed high school, college and graduate school while living at home in Hyde Park, culminating in a MSW degree from the University of Chicago.
After graduating, she served as a social worker for the American Red Cross in Great Britain and Europe. While stationed at a US military hospital in Berlin, she met her future husband and fellow Chicagoan, Dr. Kenneth Huizenga. She and Ken were married on September 2,1950 in Chicago and shortly thereafter moved to Rochester. Isabel worked as a social worker and child welfare officer for Olmsted County before starting a family. She and Ken raised five children together. She was proud of being an immigrant to this country. Over the years, her home was always welcome to visitors from around the world.
Isabel believed strongly in being engaged in her community. During the nearly 70 years she lived in Rochester, she donated her time and talent to countless non-profit and community organizations which included the American Red Cross, Olmsted County Community Corrections, BSA Gamehaven Council, First Presbyterian Church, Junior Great Books, and numerous PTAs. She was on the board of Norwest Bank, Charter House and the Methodist Hospital and served terms as President of the Rochester YWCA, Rochester Area Foundation Board of Trustees, and the United Way.
She will best be remembered by those who knew her for her tremendous energy, infectious laugh, generosity of spirit, untiring graciousness and love of marshmallow Peeps. She was preceded in death by her brother Donald Clerk, her parents, Charles and Marion Clerk, and her husband Kenneth Huizenga. Survived by her sister-in-law Ruth Huizenga; children Debbie, Nancy (Joe Korzilius), Donald, Charlie (Jeanne Panek) and Hugh (Vicky Fish); nine grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren; and her beloved cousins in Scotland.
A memorial service will be held June 8th at 11am at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home 5421 Royal Place NW Rochester, MN 55901
Isabel was such a kind, light-hearted and gracious person -- I met her and Ken 15-20 years ago when the Post Bulletin participated in an international journalism program (based at Macalester College) that involved reporters from other countries visiting here for a week. The Huizengas were a host family, which makes perfect sense after reading the beautiful obituary for Isabel -- "over the years, her home was always welcome to visitors from around the world." As a relative newcomer myself to Rochester at that time, I also felt welcomed by this wonderful couple and I'm grateful to have known them. My condolences to family and friends.
I was so lucky to call her my mother in law. She was so loving and so beloved. I will miss her dearly.
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