Diekema was born in Holland, Michigan where he attended the common schools and graduated from Hope College in 1881. In 1883, he graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Holland.
Diekema became a city attorney and a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives serving from 1885 to 1891 from Ottawa County 1st District, serving as speaker from 1889 to 1890. He became mayor of Holland in 1895 and chairman of the Michigan Republican Party ten consecutive years from 1900 to 1910. He was a delegate to the 1896 Republican National Convention and a member of the Spanish Treaty Claims Commission from 1901 until he resigned in 1907.
He was elected April 27, 1907, as a Republican from Michigan's 5th congressional district to the Sixtieth Congress, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William Alden Smith. He was subsequently re-elected to the Sixty-first Congress, serving from March 17, 1908 to March 3, 1911. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1910 to the Sixty-second Congress and resumed the practice of law in Holland, Michigan.
He became manager of the Republican Speakersí Bureau in Chicago in 1912 and a candidate in the primary for Governor of Michigan in 1916. He was a delegate to the 1924 Republican National Convention from Michigan. After seventeen years he was re-elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, serving from 1927 to 1929, a record total of twelve years.
Later he was appointed United States Minister to the Netherlands by President Herbert Hoover on August 20, 1929, and served until his death in The Hague, Netherlands. He was interred in Pilgrim Home Cemetery, Holland, Michigan.
Mr. Diekema and his wife, were long-time friends of George Getz and spent time at his Lakewood Farm in the summers.
Created: 27 April 2007