Remembering beloved Pella pastry chef Howard Jaarsma

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PELLA – The known and loved Jaarsma Bakery pastry chef, Howard Jaarsma, passed away on September 17. He was 88. His loved ones are reflecting on some of their favorite memories of him. 


Howard’s children say he loved his bakery more than anything. His whole life he put his heart and soul into creating new pastries. They say his passion for learning and challenging himself is what made the bakery so successful.

“A typical bakery has six to seven items at this time of the day but there are 200-300 here for sale,” said Howard’s son, Mike Jaarsma. “And his vision was for the bakery was the first customer and the last customer have lots of product. Overwhelm people with the variety that you have.”

Howard and his brother Ralph owned and operated the bakery for decades. Ralph ran the operational and development side of the business, while Howard was in the kitchen creating new pastries. 
Howard’s children will carry on his legacy forever. His philosophy was “They don’t sell calories, they sell happiness.”

“He wanted to make the bakery very enjoyable place to come,” said Howard’s daughter, Diane Jaarsma. “He wanted to make the bakery one of the best places he could make it be.”

Ralph’s daughter and her husband are running Jaarsma Bakery. They are the fourth generation of Jaarsma’s to run the business. 

The family is asking that all memorial contributions in Howard Jaarsma’s name be sent to Pella Dollars for Scholars or the Pella Historical Society.

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