Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Sept 2017
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March 17, 2007 Happy St Patrick's Day

Just wondering....
You're still here in my heart and mind,
Still making me smile cause your stories live on.
I hold you in a thought and I can feel you.
I feel you and this gives me strength and courage.

I often wonder how life would be,
If you were still down here with me.
Would you be quiet or would you be loud.
I often wonder if you'd be class clown,

The Angels came for you
Much sooner than I planned
Why did you guys have to go away
Why wasn't it right for you to stay

Moments of sorrow come and go
But still trying my best to understand though
One thing is certain...
My sweet "Big Guys" you will always be
A most important part of my heart's memory

September 6, 2011
This beautiful verse was found on the ground near the crosses & flowers…

This marks the site that our Heavenly Father
chose to have Dakotah & Austin
breath their earthly last
and to take their souls to Himself.
Like everything else that reminds us of you
  - This spot becomes Sacred.
How we miss you & cry for you!
You will always be so special in our hearts.
Rest in peace - Our dear ones.


June 19, 2011 - Happy Father's Day


to ALL E
arthly and Heavenly Fathers
ALL Children Everywhere.

We may not shower them with praise
Nor mention their names in song
And sometimes it seems that we forget
The joy they spread all day long
But it doesn’t mean that we don’t know
The wonderful roles that GRANDFATHERS share.
And away down deep within our hearts
There’s a SPECIAL place that is set aside

Great Grandpa Vreerman holding
Dakotah,  baby Samuel and Austin

Grandpa Konetzka, Dakotah, Great Grandpa Konetzka
and Grandpa Woldhuis

Austin and Grandpa Woldhuis

May 8, 2011 - HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY


`☆. ♥♥ MOM ♥♥~ ¸☆

Mothers hold their children's hands
for a short while
but their hearts
 ~Author Unknown

"Happy Mother's Day"

 ¸.· ´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
 (¸.·´ (¸.·' Love YOU.
May 8, 2011 - GREAT Grand Mothers

Precious GREAT Grand Mothers
Who Chose to Give Their Children LIFE.

Without Grandmothers
Families wouldn't be here

to celebrate another
MOTHER'S DAY in their honor. 

May GOD's Blessings Be With
 ALL MOTHERS of all ages

"Happy GRAND-Mother's Day

Grandma Woldhuis (L) holding Dakotah
Gramma Konetzka (R) holding Austin Mother
Is always with You

     She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.

She's the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick and perfume that she wore.

She's the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well.

She's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day. 

She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep; the colors of a rainbow.

She is Christmas morning.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter.

And she's crystallized in every teardrop.

A mother shows every emotion .......... happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger, helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow...

and all the while, hoping and praying you will only know the good feelings in life.

She's the place you came from, your first home, and she's the map you follow with every step you take.

She's your first love; your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, not space...

not even death!



Gianna and her mother, Niki

Austin & Dakotah and their mother, Niki

 'The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched they must be felt with the heart.'  

~Helen Keller~

May 2, 2011 First Holy Communion
In Remembrance of Dakotah & Austin

on their

 First Holy Communion

{Seven years ago on May 2 2011}

Just thought I would share these pics....

Austin's helium balloon from the Cross Creek 8th Grade Recognition on June 10, 2010 is still floating. I have always thought that helium balloons lasted only a few days/weeks before losing the helium. 

This balloon has lasted through the heat of the summer, and now into mid-October.
The star is a little softer and not as firm but it is still floating.

Austin's 5th Grade, 2007-Memorial Bear & the Helium Balloon from his 8th Grade Recognition at Cross Creek on June 10, 2010.

....Our "AWESOME" AUSTIN.....

"In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky.
In my heart there will always be a place for you
for all my life.

I'll keep a part of you with me
and everywhere I am...

There you'll be.


2007 Cross Creek Memorial Bear from Austin's 5th grade.
The bear attended 6th, 7th and 8th grade moving up each year with Austin's classmates to a new grade level in Austin's memory.


Austin's AWESOME BALLOON will hopefully be floating
on Thanksgiving Day.
If it is still floating on Christmas Day,
 I will consider that to be a Mini-Miracle.

"Austin...Keep your balloon afloat!!!!"

That would be so Heavenly.

Words can't express how much we miss our two Big Guys,
Austin and Dakotah and their baby sister Gianna.

Love you forever and always

"There are things that we don't want to happen
but have to accept
Things we don't want to know
but have to learn
 There are people we can't live without
but have to let go."


FYI:  Time Frame

  • Though many factors can influence the inflation time of a balloon, The Fun Ones, a party rental company in Chicago, estimates that an 11-inch latex balloon inflated with helium will remain in the air for 18 to 24 hours. An 18-inch foil balloon filled with helium, the company says, could stay up for three weeks.

    Air-filled balloons can retain air for much longer, often remaining inflated for weeks or months.

  • Read more: How Long Do Balloons Stay Inflated? |
    Sept 3, 2010 Happy 97th Birthday
    Alice Genevieve Konetzka
    1913 - 1981

    ~~~In Memory of~~~


    There was a special trait about you
    That touched me deep in my heart
    This quality was so special
    It set you quite apart

    Your special ways of doing things
    In everything you touched
    The warmth you showed for others
    Is why I loved you so much

    Your gentle and loving ways
    So much you gave to others
    You had so many good qualities
    You were the best of Mothers

    I truly am so thankful Mom
    For these memories about you I still see
    I hope someday my children and grand babies
    See the same good characteristics in me

    to another Great Grandmother
    of Dakotah, Austin & Gianna
    June 27,2010 Happy Birthday MOM

    If we could bring you back again
    For one more hour or day
    We’d express all our unspoken love;
    We’d have countless things to say.

    If we could bring you back again
    We’d say we treasured you
    And that your presence in our lives
    Meant more than we ever knew.

    If we could bring you back again
    To tell you what we should
    You’d know how much we miss you now
    And if we could we would.

    ~Joanna Fuchs~
    to another GREAT GRANDMA

    Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or of Succour) or Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Byzantine icon of the same name said to be 13th or 14th century but perhaps 15th century. The icon has been in Rome since at least the late 15th century. In the Eastern Orthodox Church this iconography is known as the Theotokos of the Passion.
    On the current Roman Catholic calendar of saints Our Lady of Perpetual Help is commemorated on Juni 27.

    This icon was painted by an unknown artist most likely in the 13th Century.

    The painting isn't meant to be one of beauty but holds a message instead; "You can come to me". The icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a dress of dark red with a blue mantle and veil. On the left is the Archangel Michael carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying a 3-bar cross and nails. This type of icon is a later type of Hodegetria composition where Mary is pointing to her Son known as a Theotokos of the Passion. The Christ-child has been alarmed by a pre-sentiment of his passion and has run to his mother for comfort. The facial expression of the Virgin Mary is solemn and is looking directly at the viewer instead of her son. Jesus is portrayed clinging to his mother with a dangling sandal. The Greek initials on top read Mother of God Michael Archangel Gabriel Archangel and Jesus Christ respectively.
    April 28, 2010 Thirteen Years Ago
    Austin at 6 months

    His Great Grandpa Newman

    Austin R. Konetzka                             Warren B. Newman
    February 11, 1996                                  August 20, 1920
    † April 6, 2007                                       † April 28, 1997  


    God looked around his garden
    And He found an empty place.
    And then He looked down upon the earth
    And saw your tired face.
    He put His arms around you
    And lifted you to rest.
    God's garden must be beautiful
    He always takes the best.

    He knew that you were suffering
    He knew you were in pain
    He knew that you would never
    Get well on earth again.
    He saw the road was getting rough
    And the hills were hard to climb
    So He closed your weary eyelids
    And whispered "Peace be thine."

    It broke our hearts to lose you.
    But you didn't go alone
    For part of us went with you
    The day God called you home.

    "Great Grandpa & Grandma Newman"

    Warren B. Newman                          Dorothy Ann Newman
    August 20, 1920                                 June 27, 1926
    † April 28, 1997                                  † February 22, 1994

    Dad & Mom

    We little knew the days that
    God was going to call your names
    In life we loved you dearly
    in death we do the same.

    It broke our hearts to lose you both
    but in God we put our trust
    In times as difficult as this
    faith is such a must.
    You left us peaceful memories
    your love is still our guide
    And though we cannot see you
    You are always at our side.
    Our family chain is broken
    and nothing seems the same
    But as God calls us one by one
    the chain will link again.


    Too many lights from our household are gone
    Too many voices we loved are stilled
    Too many vacant places within our hearts
    That will never seem to be filled.

    The Golden Gates did open
    A gentle voice said "Come'
    And with farewells unspoken
    We tearfully said,
    "God's Will Be Done."


    April 7, 2010 Happy 8th Birthday Gianna

    ~In Memory of Our Granddaughter~

    My Daughter Walks with Jesus

    The doctor's voice was heavy
    His words chilled to the bone
    Your little girl won't last the day
    Tonight, you'll be alone.
    I hurried to her bedside
    Her body pale and weak
    She told me that she loved me
    I kissed her tiny cheek.

    My child was quickly fading
    I held her trembling hand
    She said, "You mustn't cry for me
    Someday you'll understand.
    Today, I dreamt of angels
    Who carried me away
    To the holy land of Jesus
    God talked to me today."

    I held her, oh, so gently
    She slowly passed away
    My tears continued falling
    On her gown that dreadful day.
    For years, I nursed my anger
    Consumed by endless grief
    I even hoped that I might die
    To bring about relief.

    In a lonely cemetery
    By her grave, one wintry day
    I was sadly placing flowers
    And felt the urge to pray.
    As I knelt beside her grave site
    I felt a breath of spring
    The sky lit up with angels
    What comfort it did bring.

    A voice broke through the silence
    It brought about release
    My little daughter spoke to me
    My soul was filled with peace.
    Her words were sweet as honey
    She said, "I didn't die
    For now, I live with Jesus
    So, Mommy please don't cry."

    My daughter dwells in heaven
    Of that, I can be sure
    For today she walks with Jesus
    He's taking care of her.

    ~Marilyn Ferguson~
    Copyright 2004
    In Memory of Great-Grandma Jeanette Vreeman

    Jeanette Vreeman
    Dec.13 1917~Dec.08 2009


    VREEMAN - Jeanette Vreeman (Van Dusseldorp) took hold of the hand of Jesus December 8 2009 to enter into the eternal glory of her Lord and Savior. She was born December 13 1917 in New Holland South Dakota where she met and married John Vreeman her husband of 60 years. He preceded her in death in 1998. Jeanette lived much of her life in Beecher Illinois moving to Bear Creek Villa in Clarksville MI in 2004 when failing health required the additional care of her daughter. She was a member of Seymour Christian Reformed Church. Her oldest son William also preceded her in death as did great-grandsons Dakotah and Austin; brothers Arie and Marion; and sister Hattie. She is survived by sons Sylvan of Greeley Colorado Loren of Irons Michigan and daughter Ilene (Robert) Woldhuis of Clarksville Michigan thirteen grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Friends may meet with the family Sunday December 13 from 1 to 3 PM at the Zaagman Memorial Chapel with a funeral service following at 3 PM. Sunday would have been Jeanette’s 92nd birthday and her family hopes you will join them in celebrating  her life.  Jeanette’s grandson Pastor Tim Vreeman officiating. Burial at Skyline Memorial in Monee Illinois. Memorial contributions may be made to the Seymour Christian Education Fund or to The Gideons International. 

    Grandma Vreeman, Austin, Samuel, Tyler & Dakotah

    Grandma Vreeman & Dakotah

    Grandma Vreeman & Austin

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    Grandma Vreeman's timeline
    June 4, 2009 - Eighth Grade Recognition

    "Cross Creek Eighth Grade Recognition"

"For every ending

    there's a new beginning;

    for every memory,

    there's a dream ahead."

    Graduation Wishes
    I send you, my friend,

    On this long awaited day.

    May all your tomorrows
    be blessed
 by God,
    each and every way.

    It seems like only yesterday
    School days we did start
    "Infinite Memories"
    rushing back to me
    I'll hold forever in my heart.

    The happy times we've shared,

    The people we have met

    Will always be a part of life

    We'll never quite forget...

    Remember me as you grow
    and move onward in life's plan.
    I am thankful for your Friendship
    and for the fun times that we had.

    I'll keep you close to my heart,
I'll pray for you each day;
Asking Our Lord to keep you safe

    As you go along your way.

    Memories of seven years intertwine
    I'll never forget Cross Creek and the
    Eighth Grade Class of 2009.

Always remember...
     I'm here for you.
I'll always be your friend.

Look up and Smile,
    For I'll be with you 
    I'll forever be your friend.
    Friends Forever.
    Forget you ?
    Never !

    June 4, 2009
    MAY 2, 2009
    In Remembrance Of

    "Lord Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of
    the Eucharist You left us the outstanding
    manifestation of your limitless love for us.
    Thank You for giving Dakotah and Austin
    the opportunity to experience this
    everlasting LOVE...
    then, now and forever."

    O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine,
    all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!
    "Omnia ad majorem Dei gloriam! "

    "All for the Greater Glory of God!"

    In remembrance
    Great Grandpa Konetzka's Birthday

    † -1999

    April 7, 2009
    Happy 7th Birthday

    Gianna Estelle
    March 22, 2009, 55th ANGELversary
    In memory of the children's great grandmother, Grace, who was born on February 25, 1924 and passed away on March 22, 1954 due to a brain tumor.   She suffered for several years before her death. 

             I Remember Mama                 

    Looking back I see her,
    with a smile upon her face
    Though my memory has long faded,
    her lovely name was GRACE

    At the time of her passing --
    I, just her mere babe in arms
    A child she protected
    and kept free from harm

    On motor bike rides she took me,
    riding over back roads and lanes
    Complaining of nothing,
    not even of her head, pulsing with pain

    All life's moments with her,
    seemed to revolve around just me
    I was her youngest, her baby,
    though all precious were her three

    What happened to mama--
    this just couldn't be
    She loved us unconditionally--
    a love God would set free

    She continued to give of herself,
    though her years were but few
    Her days were now numbered--
    she had little to do

    Everything right
    yet everything seemed wrong
    No longer would I hear her soft voice
    in melody or song

    Often she would sing at nighttime,
     a sweet lullaby
    Still, I listen for those melodies
    from those days now long gone by

    Yet young as I was
    and with memories but few
    I still think of mama
    and what she would do

    The pictures of mama
    now faded and old
    The only resemblance, a part of her,
    my treasures, I hold

    Oh, mama, I've missed you,
    you didn't say good bye
    You left me oh, so long ago,
    with thousands of tears to cry

    I remember looking both far and near,
    through a child's eyes,
    Looking for some comfort
    and hoping not to die

    Trying to find the answers
    to questions all unknown,
    Why my heart was hurting 
    and why my eyes filled with tears

    Couldn't understand why you left me,
    nor why I felt these fears
    I only knew I missed you
    with the love only a child knew

    My heart felt so very heavy then,
     it was hard to let you go

    Life has gone on as expected,
    the way God meant it to be
    Now a family of my own
     with children
    and a dozen grandbabies

    My grandbabies call me Gramma,
    what a joyful sound to hear
    I pray you've met the four great grandbabies,
    who left us during these past five years

    They are waiting for all of us in Heaven,
    a place I long to be
    When my time on Earth is over,
    and Almighty God calls out to me

    Most times I am happy
     but sometimes I'm just blue
    Other moments bring on sadness
     when I think of all of you

    You are my Mother always.
     In heaven one day, I hope to see
    You cradling all my children
    as a Great Gramma ought to be

    Years have come and gone now
    since those days of long gone by
    But the memories of you linger
     and those will never die

    I'm happy for these memories,
    always in my mind and heart
    One day we will all be together,
    forever, and never more will part

    Love from,
    Your daughter

    March 22, 2009,
     the 55th Anniversary of your Death
    NOV. 16, 2008 - GILDA'S CLUB GR

    Gilda's Club, U-M expand
    help for kids


    Grief program, study aimed at youth

    Last Edited: Sunday, 16 Nov 2008, 11:32 PM EST
    Created On: Sunday, 16 Nov 2008, 12:43 PM EST

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Gilda's Club Grand Rapids , the organization that's revolutionized how families cope with cancer, is starting a new program exclusively for children who've lost a loved one.

    The new program, to be officially announced Monday, will help kids cope with their loss, even if it's not from cancer. The announcement will also lay the framework for a groundbreaking University of Michigan study.

    Two lives already being touched by the program are Tyler and Sam Konetzka of Dutton. On Good Friday 2007, their family was involved in a car wreck as they were driving to church in Grand Traverse County. There were seven family members in the minivan.

    "We hit the corner of a tow truck, and the whole entire side of the van got torn open like a can opener," Tyler, 10, told 24 Hour News 8. His 11-year-old brother Sam said he remembers there were sirens all over the road.

    "Then I looked back," Tyler said, "and I could see that they were dead." Those were his brothers, Dakotah, 12 and Austin, 11.

    On their living room couch, Tyler and Sam share photos of the four brothers together. This painful journey took them to an unlikely place -- Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

    "We know that when children are able to have similar experiences to those around them, it helps them feel a little better, a little less different maybe," said Scott Hawkins of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

    For the Konetzkas, and so many other children, the children's grief program at Gilda's Club is a once a week chance to come together, share a meal, and share their story.

    Research shows one out of eight children will lose a parent before reaching 18. And according to experts, that sometimes causes changes in a child's brain with devastating results. Later in life, there can be a higher chance of drug and alcohol abuse, and even divorce.

    They are risk factors a University of Michigan researcher plans to study in a three-year partnership with Gilda's Club. The "Circle Project" will enroll 100 children and will attempt to answer three questions: How do children grieve after losing a parent? Are certain children more likely to develop problems after such a loss? And, what coping strategies help grieving children best?

    For months, Gilda's Club has been quietly working with grieving children. The free program is now going public along with their fund raising efforts. So far, they've raised $600,000 but need another $400,000 to keep helping kids like Tyler and Sam Konetzka.

    With the help of Gilda's Club, the boys said they are learning to live happily again. And that's a lesson that will last a lifetime.

    To learn more about the children's grief program at Gilda's Club, or would like to enroll in the University of Michigan study, call 616-453-8300. Both are free

    Just Think of Them...

    Don't think of them as gone away-
    their journey's just begun
    life holds so many facets-
    this earth is only one.

    Just think of them as resting
    from the sorrows and the tears
    in a place of warmth and comfort
    where there are no days and years

    Think how they must be wishing
    that we could know today
    how nothing but our sadness
    can really pass away.

    And think of them as living
    in the hearts of those they touched...
    for nothing loved is ever lost-
    and they were loved so much.

    The Elephant In The Room By Terry Kettering

    There’s an elephant in the room.

    It is large and squatting,
    so it is hard to get around it.

    Yet we squeeze by with,
    “How are you?” and, “I’m fine,”
    and a thousand
    other forms of trivial chatter.

    We talk about the weather.
    We talk about work.
    We talk about everything else—
    except the elephant in the room.

    There’s an elephant in the room.
    We all know it is there.
    We are thinking about the elephant
    as we talk together.

    It is constantly on our minds.
    For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
    It has hurt us all, but we do not talk about
    the elephant in the room.

    Oh, please, say their names.
    Oh, please, say "Dakotah, Austin and Gianna" again.
    Oh, please, let’s talk about
    the elephant in the room.

    For if we talk about their deaths,
    Perhaps we can talk about their lives.
    Can I say "Dakotah, Austin and Gianna" to you
    and not have you look away?
    For if I cannot,
    then you are leaving me alone
    in a room…with an elephant.

    Terry Kettering wrote the original poem "The Elephant in The Room" in memory of "Barbara".  A few words have been changed to apply to this website. The meaning stays the same.
    May 20, 2008 - CROSS CREEK


    Dear Friends at Cross Creek
    Just a few things to tell you that we didn't get to say
    Before God called us to our new Home that day.

    Remember all of the fun times and sad times too,
    They are part of life's memories---we have all been through.

    We loved being kids--what more can we say
    Some of our happiest memories were with you each day.
    Singing, Running and Football at play.
    Made each day at Cross Creek fun---in every way.

    Some mischief gotten into--Taking detentions too.
    Classroom memories, with our friends and teachers,
    became great memories while in school.

    You know we are in a better place.
    Through time, distance and space---
    Shared memories together then---
    Now never to be erased.

    Now, there is no time to sit back, to be tearful and blue.
    You have much living and many years of growing to do

    ENJOY EVERY MOMENT---Live, Laugh, Sing, Run and Play
    Do everything as if we never left that day.
    We would want it that way.

    As you set for yourself---New goals each year
    Follow your dreams---Have no fear
    We will be cheering you on from a distance---
    yet still, be very near

    When you miss us---Look up---Don't be distressed.
    We are praying for all of you
    and for your continued success.

    When it comes to friends like you
    Always be the Best person you can be--

    Please recall our shared memories once in awhile
    THINK OF US at times---Show us your SMILES
    That is what friends do.

    Yes, We are in a better place.
    It's called Heaven.
    Put a SMILE on your face.

    Don't cry.   Don't feel sad.
    Send big SMILES our way,
    BE GLAD.

    So when you see a SMILEY FACE,

    We want to see you once again.
    We love all of you....OUR DEAR FRIENDS

    Remember to keep God in your heart
    and to keep His GOLDEN RULE
    "Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated"
    He loves you too.

    Miles of SMILES sent your way...
    Dakotah and Austin
    (This letter was sent via cyberspace.)
    The way it was meant to be.

    ~ † † ~
    April 6, 2007
    Austin and Dakotah Konetzka’s Memorial
    Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 1:45 PM

    Order of Presentation
    1st – PowerPoint with scenes of 50 states
     Middle School Choir sing a medley of USA songs

    2nd -
    Citizenship Speaker (soldier who served in Iraq) –

    3rd - Speakers:
    Mr. Nieuwkoop (principal) – Talk about dedication Courtyard and Memorial Sports Field Sign

    Rebecca Hilbrands –5th Grade Teacher
    Austin was not only a great student, but an exceptional young man.  He had a way of making a day of teaching and learning much more.  He was able to make pretty much anything into a joke.  He had a smile that could charm anyone.  There were times that he would try to use that charm to get out of something and it usually didn’t work.  Even at those times he was ready to admit he was wrong.  Austin was always ready to help others which helped him become a great leader that many people recognized.  He had a compassionate heart which made me realize that he was perfect for a young first grader who needed a very understanding and compassionate person to read with him.
    Austin has left behind a legacy.  It is a legacy that life can be enjoyed to the fullest each and every day, that it is o.k. to laugh, and o.k. to make other people feel special!

    Lisa Campbell – 6th Grade Teacher
    We all have memories of
    Dakotah.  Some of mine include his smile, especially when he was cheering his classmates when they tried to do the zip line.  Dakotah could whistle like no other.  If I ever needed to get the class’s attention, Dakotah was my go to guy. What memories do you have of Dakotah?  Do you remember him doing the Blue Monkey’s Eyebrow cheer during team week?  Do you remember how Dakotah would come over during Red Rover Red Rover - even if his name wasn’t called?  Do you remember how smart Dakotah actual was or how he loved to draw?  These are things that we cherish about him.
            Student Speakers:
                For Austin -    
                                Brandon Baker  
                                Caroline Cook
                For Dakotah -    
                                Brittney Robach
                                Bailey Rietman
    LETTER - Dear Friend  
    (from Dakotah and Austin)
                   Read by Samuel and Tyler

    4th –
    Mr. Stolz -6th Grade Teacher
     DVD memories of Dakotah and Austin

    5th –
    Balloon Releasers:
    The 6th and 7th grades will go outside to observe the release, while the remaining classes are dismissed to their classrooms

    Red Hearts in Memory of Siblings
    Sam and Tyler Konetzka for brothers, Dakotah and Austin
    Trisha Jonker – for Melissa

    Austin’s Friends - Yellow Smilies wearing Blue Sunglasses
    Brandon Baker
    Carter Jones
    Khoa Nguyen
    Kameron Scott
    Dominic Saladino
    Rachel Nederhoed

    Dakotah’s Friends - Yellow SMILIES
    David Pham
    Jake Dillon
    Bailey Rietman
    Andre’ Pelletier
    Gretchen Pyscher
    Brittney Robach
    Kelly Doctor

    Thank you from the Konetzka and Woldhuis families for honoring Dakotah and Austin with this Special Dedication and Memorial at Cross Creek.  The SMILEY FACES signify the FUN TIMES we all had with whenever you see a Smiley Face...THINK of DAKOTAH and AUSTIN...REMEMBER to SMILE and just know (BELIEVE) they are sending Miles of Smiles back to you everyday. Thank you again.
    April 14, 2007 - Cross Creek Teachers' Tributes
    Written for Dakotah Konetzka's Memorial Service on April 14 2007
    by his sixth grade teacher Lisa Campbell.
    You couldn't help but like Dakotah.  He had that twinkle in his eye - you didn't know if he was up to mischief or just playing with you.  I often thought of Dakotah and my own dad had some things in common:  I consider that a compliment.   Both of them seemed to get in trouble as boys but often for things that actually made us laugh or just shake our heads in wonder.  Stinker.  Naughty.  Trickster.  I've heard those words describe Dakotah but never were they said with malice.  They are terms of endearment.

    All told Dakotah was a fun-loving kid.  He made us laugh.  Whether it was tripping while holding his pizza and still eating it off the floor or dressing up like a girl for Colonial days in fifth grade and hamming it up.  Dakotah could make us all laugh.  I loved that about him.

    But he was more than that.  So many of his friends mentioned how he would really listen to them and help them through rough patches.  He was a did who really cared about others.

    I think about his school year so far and I have all these pictures that run through my mind.  I see Dakotah sitting with me on a picnic table at camp cheering on his classmates while they climbed the rock wall or tried the zip line for the first time.  He made everyone laugh during our homeroom time when the kids tried to find out the famous character taped to their backs.  Can you picture him during team week?  Do you remember him doing the Blue Monkey's Eyebrow cheer?  I see him writing his poetry.  Boy was he talented.

    Dakotah was pretty smart.  I think he was smarter than even he realized.  I often wondered as his teacher what was Dakotah going to do with his intelligence.   He had so much to offer.  I appreciated his artistic ability too.  Dakotah love to draw.  Sometimes even passing his creation to his classmates hoping his teacher wouldn't catch him.

    Dakotah was the life of the party.  He was often the one who started the party.  At recess he was right in there being as competitive as ever whether it was football or red rover red rover.  Kids do you remember how Dakotah would come over even if his name wasn't called?  See we can admit that Dakotah was a stinker but we do so with some fond memories and a smile on our faces at the thought of him.

    We like him.   We liked being around him.  Did you know that it wasn't uncommon for Dakotah to have a bunch of girls following him around.  It makes me wonder what kind of entourage he has now.  Is he still making people laugh?  John Taylor wrote "While we are mourning the loss of our friend others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil."  I kind of like that thought.  Dakotah - leaving one party to live it up at the next one.

    I want to leave you all with this thought.  God liked Dakotah too Meibe He was anxious to have Dakotah home.  Consider this:  Max Lucado wrote
    "Your heavenly Father is
    Very fond of you.
    And only wants to share
    His love with you."

     1Kings 10:9 says
    "Bless be the Lord your God
    Who has delighted in you…."

    Untethered by time
    God see us all
    Vagabonds and ragamuffins all
    He saw us before we were born
    And He loves what He sees
    Flooded by emotion
    Overcome with pride
    The Star maker turns to us
    One by one and says
    'You are my child.
    I love you dearly."
    April 14, 2007 - Cross Creek Teacher's Tribute
    Written for Austin Konetzka's Memorial Service on April 14 2007
    by his fifth grade teacher Mrs Hillbrands :)

    I remember the first day of school when you stepped into our class line and we introduced ourselves for the first time.  I already knew Dakotah from last year and how much I enjoyed him at "Shake Out".  You had such a charming smile and were so respectful.

     You were so eager to learn and be sure you were doing things right.  That was so nice for a teacher to have a student like that.  Most of all I appreciated how you respected me enough to listen to what I said.  I can still hear you saying "Yessss!" Or when I said over and over "Did you get that blue and white form?"  only because it made you laugh.  Oh how I loved to hear and see you laugh! 

    Chemistry will never be the same since I don't have you sitting right there responding to all my questions.  You were always eager to learn new things.  I will miss you even though I was your teacher who tried to keep you in line.  You were an exceptional young man with talent love compassion understanding respect and a charming smile that captured peoples' attention. 
    APRIL 9, 2008 - "A SMILE"
    A SMILE says so much
    Gramma and Grampa you made us smile
    Youth, best time of our life
    We shared together
    Talking about things we like to do
    Wasn't all talk, we actually did them
    What we wanted to be when we grew up
    Sorry we can't be there for that.
    Guess God needed us up here
    A few special people here, sure happy to see us
    Thanks for this page
    We always knew how much you loved us
    Guess everyone else will know now too!
    We know we'll always be in your heart
    It's so beautiful up here
    No homework either!
    Love - From your two special Big Guys

    by Gloria
    April 9, 2008
    April 6, 2008

    Some memories fade,
    Time passes away
    Turning minutes into days
    then years

       On April 6, 2008,
    Dakotah and Austin's one year death-date,
           my heart became filled with joy
    no pain

    The heartache deep
    within me changed,
    I cannot quite explain

    A peaceful feeling
    surrounded me
    the heaviness was gone

       My soul found serenity today,
    which nothing can take away

          Almighty God is ever near,
         Knowing this,
         we have nothing to fear
       He has a plan for all

    A year ago, He took my boys,
    they walked through Heaven's Door,
    Remaining there,
    forever more

       Dakotah and Austin now wrapped
     in God's loving arms,
      no fears
      no tears

    Happy Forever and Always Remembered
    Their souls, now free
    The way God meant them to be

      Today I did not weep
    I felt the Peace of God

     Lord God,
     teach me
    to embrace my grief
    and not fight it,
     so that I may experience
    the true healing
    that comes from You.

    My love to you both,
    Gramma K
    The Day God Took You Home

    You never said you were leaving

    You never said goodbye
    You were gone before we knew it,
    And only God knew why
    A million times we needed you,
    A million times we've cried
    If love alone could have saved you,
    You never would have died
    In life we loved you dearly
    In death we love you still
    In our hearts you hold a place,
    That no one could ever fill
    It broke our hearts to lose you,
    But you didn't go alone
    For part of us went with you,
    The day God took you home.
    Remembering - One Year Today
    Remembering Dakotah and Austin -
    Love, Aunt JO
    A MOTHER'S GRIEF by gloria
    A MOTHER'S GRIEF (poem)

        What a beautiful day!
        Happiness inside the van
        Traveling the road
        Headed North to our property

        How little time we spent
        Thinking what if
        Guess that's a good thing
        Not dwelling on the negative

        Yet, sometimes those two words
        Make us appreciate what we have
        Allowing us to stop and smell the roses
        Taking time for the extra hug
        Saying the words, I love you

        Nothing is more precious
        Than my children
        To be without one
        Beyond my comprehension
        The loss of both, emptied me

        Oh, God, the horrible accident
        That ripped my boys from me
        Why couldn't it have been me instead
        They never had a chance to grow up
        They needed more time

        So many smiles and laughs
        They filled my days
        The house was energized
        When they were there
        Some days just to quiet now

        The moment in time
        Just that brief second
        Changing our lives forever
        When will my grief stop

        I see their faces
        In my minds eye
        What if that starts to fade
        It's a fear I carry
        Weighs heavy on my heart

        I know they're in good hands
        God's hands , loving and good
        In a beautiful home, heaven
        Waiting to see , their earthly family
        Seems so far off, I wish to be with them

        I know I was a good Mom
        They felt loved, had those hugs
        But, I wish with all my heart
        I could hold them one more time
        Just one more time say I love you

        The caskets shouldn't be their bed
        The lid and earth, their cover
        I know they aren't there
        Just thoughts, can't help but think

        The pain is so intense
        Can't begin to describe
        My heart is broken
        My tears seem unending
        Yet, I smile thinking of them

        The emotions so mixed
        Always turning, in uncertain directions
        Not knowing how I'll be
        from one minute to the next
        Trying to stay in control

        Those family members remaining
        I love dearly, treasure every day
        Don't want to minimize their importance
        They fulfill me and make life
        Well worth living

        But you see, there's one corner
        Deep in my heart
        That will belong only to my boys
        A spot I go to, inside myself
        To be with them again

        Time will go on
        I know I'll think about
        What might have been for them
        What interests they would have had
        First dates, graduation, mile stones

        Their wedding day, never to be
        The children they'll never have
        All these things, I'll never know
        I can only imagine, trying to comfort self

        My boys, given to me to nourish
        To love, laugh with, cry with!
        To enjoy for a season
        I grieve with smiles and tears

        Tears for those things we'll never share
        Smile for all those times and things we did!
        by gloria

        Love you Dar!
    APRIL 10, 2007
    Poem for the Grieving

    Do not stand at our graves and weep.

    We are not there.  We do not sleep.
    We are a thousand winds that blow.
    We are the diamond glints on snow.
    We are the snow on the mountain's rim,
    We are the laughter in children's eyes,
    We are the sand at the water's edge, 

    We are the sunlight on ripened grain, 

    We are the gentle Autumn rain,
    When you awaken in the morning's hush,
    We are the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    We are the soft star-shine at night.
    Do not stand at our graves and cry.
    We are not there.  We did not die.
    MAY, 2007 - My Brothers Dying - By Tyler K
    My Brothers Dying - By Tyler K. On Good Friday, my brothers died when we were going to church. There was black ice on the road and the van that my Grandpa was driving slipped. There was a tow truck in the middle of the road that was trying to get a car out of the ditch. It was a very loud noise and a very scary moment. My third brother had a cut lip and a bloody nose. My first and second brothers, Dakotah and Austin, died. They looked like they were sleeping, but their eyes were open. My aunt flew out of the car because her seat belt snapped; and, she had twelve injured ribs. I had a cut head and lip; plus, they had to put staples in my head. My Grandpa was okay. My Grandma had four injured rib and was knocked out. My Grandma and Grandpa were so sad, we all were; so, I wanted to cheer them up. I spent my time in the hospital feeding my aunt because she couldn't, so I did. I wanted to cheer up my family. My brother, Sam, who was also in the car, was sad because our brothers died. I cheered him up by sitting with him while he was in the hospital. We watched T.V. together and ate cafeteria food. I ate tuna fish and not meat because it was Good Friday. I tried to keep good thoughts in and the bad thoughts out. My Grandpa says that I'm keeping the bad thoughts like an egg. I'm not saying the bad things because they're covered up. But, if I crack the shell then I spread it, like egg yolk spread all over a table. I want to remember the good times. I've shown caring by helping my family when they were sad. I show gratitude every day, by having God in my life and having my brothers, Dakotah and Austin, in a better place. I show perseverance by getting through this difficult situation. I will never forget that moment. ~~~ Written for my Grandpa and Grandma K. (Ms Walter's Class - 3rd Grade, May, 2007)
    News Articles


    Good Friday crash killed two young boys

    photo Dakotah Konetzka
    photo Austin Konetzka

    TRAVERSE CITY — Brothers Dakotah and Austin Konetzka were travelling with their grandparents to a Good Friday service in the tiny town of Mancelona when the trip turned tragic.

    Dakotah, 12, and Austin, 11, were killed in a Friday afternoon crash on icy, snowy Easter weekend roads. The boys will be remembered Tuesday at a funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where the Konetzka family was travelling to observe the holy day marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

    "It was a hard Easter this morning,” said the boys' mother, Niki Konetzka, on Sunday.

    Seven family members from Caledonia were in a van en route to the church service in Mancelona, where the Konetzkas spend much of the summer. The boys' grandfather Michael Konetzka, was driving the van on U.S. 131 near Fife Lake when it collided with a wrecker that had stopped to help another car out of a ditch.

    Dakotah and Austin were killed in the crash. Their brothers, Samuel, 10, and Tyler, 8; aunt Dawn Marie Konetzka and grandmother Darleen Konetzka were treated for injuries. Michael Konetzka was not seriously hurt.

    Mother Niki Konetzka did not make the trip and learned about her sons' death from her father, Michael Konetzka.

    "My dad called, and I had just heard between screams that the boys were dead,” said Niki in a telephone interview from Caledonia.

    The boys have two other brothers who were not in the van, said Niki. Dakotah and Austin lived with their grandparents, who were the boys' guardians, and Niki lives nearby.

    Niki said Dakotah and Austin, separated in age by less than a year, were much loved. Austin liked football; Dakotah, hockey and running. Both were "very smart in school,” their mother said.

    The family was making the northern trek because the priest at their downstate church was delivering the Latin Mass in Mancelona, Niki said. The Konetzkas also have close connections to the Antrim County spot.

    "We have property, and we spend every summer up there ...,” said Niki. "The boys spend countless, endless hours on their dirt bikes with me.”

    A funeral service for Dakotah and Austin is to take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The brothers will be laid to rest in Bellaire Township in Fairview Cemetery.

    Obituary - KONETZKA
    KONETZKA - Dakotah and Austin, ages 12 and 11 respectively, from Dutton, Michigan, are resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father after being involved in a fatal auto accident on Good Friday on their way to Mancelona, MI.
    Both brothers were born in Grand Rapids: Dakotah was born on March 18, 1995 and Austin was born on February 11, 1996. The two boys attended Cross Creek Charter Academy where Dakotah was a sixth grader and Austin was a fifth grader. They both enjoyed tag football, dirt bikes, fishing, camping, Yugioh, and playing games with their best friends on the internet.
    April 6, 2007 - †† - Good Friday 1:30 pm
    Dakotah passed away on April 06, 2007 at the age of 12.
    Austin passed away the same day, same time on April 06, 2007 at the age of 11. 
    2005-Letter to Santa
    November, 2005

    Dear Santa,

      You should ask kids if they actually believe in you.
    Do you actually eat the cookies the kids leave for
    you on Christmas Eve?  My three younger brothers,
    Tyler, Sam and Austin, believe in you but I don't.  
    Nothing personal...I'm almost eleven and know the
    truth about you.  I am just expressing my true
    feelings...finally they are out in the open.  

    I will see my parents, not you, putting the presents
    under the tree.  I am told I will get coal in my this true?  Waiting to hear if you
    exist.  Are you for real?  I still don't think you
    are real.

    Smelly socks need to be washed...can't use them for

    Merry Christmas from Dakotah

    December, 2005

    Dear Master Dakotah,

    No matter what you are still special to me.
    You are still the same little boy from seven years ago
    that waited anxiously for Santa to come with presents
    and lots of goodies. The biggest change in you is that
    you are older now and a bit more wiser to the world. 
    In your heart's heart within the depths of your soul
    you will always have a child's glow when it comes to
    opening your gifts during the Christmas season. 
    Things aren't always what they seem and Dreams don't
    always have to portray the truth. Life is for living
    and love is for the giving. We love to give to the
    living to bring life to the JOYfulness within.  Be
    happy. Be content.  You don't have to struggle with
    the facts of my existence just believe in yourself and
    let your JOY show everyday.    JOY=Jesus, Others,

    The JOY of Christmas is what is within the heart. 
    Santa and his many  helpers are a big part of the fun
    of the season.  We help to bring that special JOY and
    HOPE to the hearts of those who wish to believe. 
    Being naughty is not one of the right choices to be
    making at this time of year.  Listening, Obeying and
    Respecting the Rights of Others takes TOP PRIORITY.

    Remember, the real REASON for the SEASON and that JOY
    within YOUR HEART will grow.  JESUS is the REASON for
    the SEASON.

    Have a MARY CHRIST MASS...

    LOVE from your friends at the NORTH POLE EXPRESS.

    PS>>>  Please....You keep the stinky socks and put
    them in the laundry.
    To answer your letter (below) that was sent earlier in
    the week.  There is no need to ask children if they
    believe in Santa.  They know the truth in their Joyful
    hearts and allow the excitement to grow within.  

    You don't have to believe in me.  You have a free will
    ...My question to you....Do you believe in yourself
    and put forth the Best effort to do your very BEST in
    all you do.  What do you Believe in?  What do you
    believe to be the truth?  As for coal in your
    stockings....Let me think about that one....I believe
    that was part of the Christmas story told to children
    long ago in hopes that they would be good and be the
    very best they could be.  Coal is not a necessary
    stocking stuffer...My favorite is lots of LOVE
    straight from my HEARTY heart.  xoxoxoxoxo


    Gianna Estelle, the baby sister passed  in Grand Rapids, Michigan away on March 19, 2003.
    Gianna's Moments in Time...
    •2002_GIANNA-lower rose border
    Austin Robert_Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 1996.

    Dakotah Pryce_Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan .

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