Born: 25 May 1878 at Kollum, Friesland
Died: 1962 at Port Alberni, BC, Canada

Father: Keimpe DILLEMA (1841-187?)
Mother: Antje VANDERKAM (1838-1930)

Spouse: Jantje WESTRA (1875-1965)


  • Janke (1906-1971)

    At right, Ale and Jantje in 1928 (25th wedding anniversary) ===>>

  • Ale had 4 siblings (all boys?). His father died very young. So there were 5 children and no welfare, so they were very poor. The oldest child had to stay home from school and look after the children. Ale's mother was forced to work outside the home washing clothes by hand for the "wealthy" people on washboards. When she came home from work, there was no food in the house and the kids were sometimes put to bed with only a piece of turnip (cow feed in Holland at that time).

    For his work, Ale had a freight ship. He transported goods between Kollum and Dokkum. When Seibe and Janke were married, Siebe and Ale worked together. After Ale retired, Siebe continued with it. Later Siebe got into truck deliveries instead of boat. He transported goods between Kollum and Sneek in addition.

    While working on the ship as a sailor, Ale had had an accident. He had fallen through a hatch into the hull of the ship. In those days, the methods for dealing with broken legs were primitive, so he always walked with one stiff leg after that. His granddaughter remembers him always walking this way.

    Ale's mother Antje was still alive when Siebe and Janke were married around 1930. She's in a picture in a Frisian costume which can be seen at her page on this site.

    Ale and Jantje were married 23 May 1903 at Kollum, Friesland. His grandson Nick remembered that when Ale's daughter was delivering Nick's younger sister at home (like always), Ale would sing hymns to try to drown out the screams of labor pains, singing louder as the screams became louder.

    There was a split in the Hervormde kerk (Reformed Church). We think this was the Doleantie (controversy over which ministers could preach, orthodoxy vs. ecumenism, or conservative vs. liberal). This was in 1866. The Gerevormeerde kerk (Re-reformed) came out of the one above. Ale decided to go with the Re-reformed church, which was more traditional, conservative, biblical, Calvinistic. The Hervormde kerk was the state church at that time, so the new one was definitely not associated with the state. If he had stayed in the other church, it would have made a big difference in later generations of the family.

    During WWII, Ale and his wife moved in with his daughter in Kollum. This was because the Germans were limiting the amount of fuel oil available for heating and by doubling up, everyone could enjoy a warmer home. Their house was only a few streets away from their daughter's.

    In 1953, the Port Alberni newspaper published the following article:

    Golden Wedding Celebrated By Couple Wed in Holland

    Married in Kollum, The Netherlands, on May 24, 1903, Mr. and Mrs. A. Dillema who make their home with their son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. S. Hoekstra, 200 8th Ave. S., celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Saturday (5/24/53).

    Both Mr. and Mrs. Dillema who are 80 and 82 respectively are in good health, and came to Canada 5 years ago. Mr. Dillema was a freight operator in Holland, from the days when horses were used to tow the boats along the canals to the present time when huge trucks are in operation. He likes his pipe and the occasional glass of wine.

    Their 4 grandchildren and two great grandchildren were among the nearly one hundred guests who gathered to celebrate the happy occasion.

    Source: Family papers and memories