Cover photo for Rena Elaine Hasseler's Obituary
Rena Elaine Hasseler Profile Photo
1931 Rena E. Hasseler 2024

Rena Elaine Hasseler

June 22, 1931 — April 11, 2024

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Words of Life, Words of Hope,
Give us strength, help us cope,
In this world, where-e'er we roam,
Ancient Words will guide us home.

On April 11, 2024, our dear mother, Rena Hasseler, was guided home. We are so grateful to have had the gift of loving her for so many years. Although we were prepared for her passing and are grateful that she is released from her suffering, we are heartbroken to see her go. Rena is survived by her sister, Gladys Fehr of Platte South Dakota, her four children, her six grandchildren and her four great-grandchildren. Her children, Ken and Sue (Schneider) Hasseler, Lois and Rick Van Enk, Lynda Hasseler, and Roberta and Paul Carver are grateful for the extraordinary person she was and for the many profound ways she influenced their lives. 

Rena Elaine Van Vuuren Hasseler, was born on June 22, 1931, in a homestead near Platte Creek in southwest of Platte, South Dakota. Her early years were marked by a nomadic rhythm as her family, led by her father Herbert and mother Kenno, settled on various farmsteads to tend, and farm the land. She had a brief stint as a “California girl,” when at the age of six her family moved there while her father worked on a dairy farm for a year and where she attended first grade. Upon moving back to South Dakota, the family lived on different farmsteads south of Platte, SD. Recognizing young Rena’s bright mind, her elementary teacher had her complete 3rd and 4th grade in one year. To attend the high school “in town,” Rena boarded with a family during the week, dropped off and picked up by her father in town each week after spending weekends at home.  

Rena thrived in high school, playing 2nd chair clarinet in the Band. Her musical talents didn’t stop there – taking note of her beautiful voice – the choir director recruited her to sing in the Glee Club. Given her head start and her strong mind, Rena completed high school at the young age of 16. It was around this time that she was out with her girlfriends, enjoying an evening of cruising on Main Street in Platte when their car was flagged down. A handsome young man named Robert Hasseler approached the car, hoping to win Rena’s heart. He smiled at her, she smiled back, and from that moment on they became a pair. Rena then chose to continue her education by attending an 11-week teacher training program at Southern State Teachers College in Springfield, SD. Applying her training, Rena went on to teach for a year in the same one room schoolhouse that she attended in 6th- 8th grade. On June 22, 1951, Rena and Robert were married in the Platte Christian Reformed Church and celebrated their devoted partnership for 68 years. 

Rena was a multi-faceted woman who was ahead of her time in countless profound ways. She served faithfully in all the traditional roles of a woman who was born in 1931 – as a loving wife, a generous caretaker and caregiver to her family both immediate and extended, a devoted mother of four children making sure every need was met, and a loving Grandma and Great Grandma. She was a homemaker who attended to every detail with care. She was “top chef” level as a cook and could have won any bake-off competition. She and her family were always dressed in cute clothes – including ones that she sewed. She was a teacher in a one room school, taught Sunday school, was a Calvinettes counselor (think church-based Girl Scouts) and extended her mothering and grand-mothering to all who had a need. As a loving Grandma and Great Grandma, she nurtured and blessed the lives of her grandchildren: Jon Hasseler, Mallory (DeWeerd) Hasseler and great-grandsons, Lewis Hasseler and William Hasseler, Kaitlin (Hasseler) and Peter Levenstrong and great grandson Caspian Levenstrong, Lauren Van Enk, Albert Kang and great-grandson Caleb Kang, Leah Van Enk and Kevin Leep, Hannah Hasseler, and Ashley (Carver) and Matt Diemer. For as long as they were able, Rena and Bob attended games, concerts, theatre productions, and other important moments in the lives of their children and grandchildren, covering many miles in the process.

She was a woman at the forefront of her time, fostering a willingness to embrace change and newness. She and her husband were equal partners at a time when that was not the norm. She was a fashionista who was first to wear a new style trend, and she planned cross country trips for her family of four children providing them with a larger view of the world. She was a woman of deep faith who served as an elder in the church. She was poised, patient, brave and a curious and attentive listener. In another place in time, she could have been a news correspondent or podcaster, a financial manager or a chef, a professor or a librarian, a counselor or an attorney. All her gifts were the central life force and light for our family. She was loved by so many, including all her caregivers. “We just love Rena,” they kept telling us. And there it is. We just love her too. That’s why it’s so hard to see her go – we will miss how she gave life to our family. We know she is transformed in the best possible way now – her heart is strong again, and she is busy befriending the heavenly hosts, who are already saying “We just love Rena.”

Memorial services in celebration of Rena’s life will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes 3926 S 9th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Visitation hour will begin at 1:00pm followed by a service at 2:00pm and a reception at 3:00pm. 

Rena’s family requests in lieu of flowers, to consider making a donation to The Luke Society at https://www.lukesociety.org/donations in memory of Rena Elaine Hasseler.

Please visit Rena’s personalized webpage to sign her online guest book and share a memory, leave a message or condolence for her family at https://www.langelands.com


To send flowers to the family in memory of Rena Elaine Hasseler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Visitation

Saturday, April 27, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Reception

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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