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Becky Lee Vander Woude

Becky Lee Vander Woude, 49, passed away unexpectedly January 10, 2021 in Sioux Falls, SD of natural causes. Becky was born January 25, 1971 in Rapid City, SD to Paul and Susan (Bingen) Vander Woude.

Becky grew up in Sioux Falls, SD and attended St. Joseph Cathedral School through junior high and graduated from O’Gorman High School in 1989. She then attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She briefly worked in a lab at Sioux Valley Hospital until she decided that she wanted to be a teacher. She moved to Portland, Oregon in 1995 and attended graduate school at Lewis & Clark College. She received her Master’s in Education in 1996.

At that time Becky moved to Grants Pass, Oregon and began teaching chemistry at Grants Pass High School. She taught all levels of chemistry including AP Chemistry during her 17 years there. She was a beloved teacher in Grants Pass and inspired many students to pursue chemistry and other sciences when they went to college. Becky served for many years as the head of the science department until she decided to move back to Sioux Falls in June of 2013. She taught chemistry from 2014 to 2016 at O’Gorman High School and then one year at Roosevelt High School before retiring from the teaching profession in 2017.

Over the last few years of her life, Becky devoted herself to doing volunteer work through her membership with the Sertoma service organization. At the time of her death she was the president of two Sertoma clubs and was helping to start a new club in our region. Becky had a huge heart and was always concerned with helping people and bringing awareness to issues that she felt strongly about. 

Becky’s biggest joy was her family. She loved spending time with her parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew eating meals together, playing cards, playing board games, and going on family vacations. Her main reason for moving back to Sioux Falls, even though she really disliked the winter weather, was the pending birth of her niece Stella. Becky felt bad that she missed out on so much of her other niece and nephew’s lives while living in Oregon. She wanted to be closer to all of her family and spend as much time with her new niece as possible. Becky loved to support her nieces and nephew in their passions. She loved to do things related to art because her nieces are artists. She did not mind getting her hands dirty making slime with Stella and doing science experiments with her. She loved to listen to her nephew talk about his interests in video games, football, and history. 

Becky was known for her big bright smile and her laughter. She made friends wherever she went and touched a lot of people’s lives. Becky tried to always make people’s lives better. She would do everything she could for the people she knew and loved. Becky brought joy, life, light, energy, and sparkle to every room she entered. No matter what life threw at her she did her best to remain positive, joyful, and appreciative of all of life’s lessons.

Our family is planning on starting a scholarship fund in Becky’s name for college students in the STEM fields. If anyone would like to donate to this fund please let our family know. Science and higher education were so important to Becky that we feel like this will be a fitting memorial to her.

Becky is survived by her brother: Anthony Vander Woude; sister: Lori Vander Woude; nieces: Clarissa and Stella; nephew: Kahlen; aunts: Grace (Vander Woude) Bell and Linda Bingen; uncles: Gary (Sharon) Bingen, Roger (Judy) Bingen, David Nies, Norman Vander Woude, and Robert (Kay) Vander Woude; and numerous cousins. She was preceded in death by her father: Paul Vander Woude; mother: Susan (Bingen) Vander Woude; grandparents: Albert and Florence Vander Woude and Roy and Frances Bingen; and aunts and uncles: Albert and Doris Vander Woude, Marie Vander Woude, Wayne and Sandra Vander Woude, John Bell, Gloria Vander Woude, Gerald Vander Woude, Sandra (Bingen) Nies, and Richard and Karen (Bingen Opbroek) Meeker.

Visitation will be Sunday, January 17, 4:00 PM at Barnett-Lewis Funeral Home with a Scripture Vigil and Rosary at 6:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, January 18, 10:00 AM at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

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