A star has joined the night sky. Stella Almblade slipped peacefully away to be with Ralph in heaven on April 10th, 2023 at New Perspectives, Silvis, Illinois at the age of 106. Her story began as the first daughter born to Belgium immigrants Gustaaf and Celina (Van Quathem) Vande Keere on January 17, 1917 (always an easy birthdate to remember; 1/17/17). She was preceded in death by her husband Ralph, brother Camiel Vande Keere and two sisters: Martha DeBruyckere and Rachael Livengood. She married late in life to a wonderful Swede, Ralph Almblade on August 3, 1948. (He passed Feb. 25, 1999). They didn't waste any time having 5 children of their own. She is survived by these children and their spouses: Mary Jane Duke, Mark (Jeanne) Almblade, Gary (Joanne) Almblade of East Moline, Marty (Mark) Gerlach of Sherrard and Dan (Elaine) Almblade of Scottsdale, AZ.
She grew up attending St. Mary's School and graduating from United Township High School in East Moline. She was employed in the family business, the former DeKeere's Food Market in East Moline until it closed in 1962. To ask her about it, she always said she “did the books”.She was a lifelong member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, East Moline. She was a homemaker and her family was always her first priority. She enjoyed reading and playing bridge. Mom was most happy having a kitty on her lap, and a few abandoned cats found a loving home with her.
Surviving also are her grandchildren: Bill and Brian Duke, Matthew and Michael Almblade, Janie Almblade-Wang and James Almblade, Jeremy Gerlach and Alicia Beadel, and the Arizona clan: Nick, Stella, Roxanne and Suzanne Almblade; and her great-grandchildren: Greta, Harrison and Martin Duke, Mark, Stella and Anna Almblade Mogas (Spain), Keagan and Parker Gerlach, Jakob Beadel, Avery and Asher Almblade (Arizona). She had 3 step grandchildren and 7 step great grandchildren.
She was a special aunt to Carol Mehleck, Dona Knapper, Diane DeBruyckere, and Lynn Livengood. She will be dearly missed by a wonderful friend, Tycene Thompson.
Her other great pleasures in life were eating fried chicken, chocolates, especially Fannie May Pixies, drinking hot coffee and baking great desserts. She will be remembered for being a loving mother, wife and grandmother; but most of all, for just being "Stella''; a matriarch of the family to the end.
Funeral services will be 10 am Thursday, April 13, 2023, at St. Anne Catholic Church, East Moline. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, East Moline. Visitation will be 4-7 pm Wednesday at the Van Hoe Funeral Home, East Moline, where a rosary will be recited at 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to a local humane society or Saint Anne church in East Moline.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.vanhoe.com
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