DECEMBER 2009 Obituaries
Clarence E. Bobb '50 (11/1/09)
Marion Pless '64 Burger (9/26/09)
Richard V. Dievendorf '44 (9/25/09)
Kathryn Mae Fredricks '34 (11/4/09)
H. Sidney Heersma '30 (10/11/09)
Kenneth J. Heuvelman '52 (10/28/09)
Shirley Knol '49 Leslie (8/26/09)
John C. Russell '65 (9/9/09)
Carol Buseman '53 Shay (8/13/09)
Helen Wagner '48 Spicuzza (10/21/09)
Charles P. Truby '61 (10/8/09)
Benjamin R. Van Slooten '51 (8/8/09)
Jennie DeVries '36 Venhuizen (10/26/09)
Clarence E. Bobb ’50 of Cedar Springs, Mich., died on Sunday, Nov. 1,
2009. He was 89.
He was born May 29, 1920, in Detroit, Mich., the son of John and Selena (Dyk)
Bobb. He grew up in Genesee, Mich., where he attended school until the 10th grade.
He left school to help his invalid father run the family auto service station.
He was a veteran who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Asiatic Pacific
Theatre in the 9th Engine Overhaul Squadron as a sergeant.
When he left the service, he finished high school at Holland (Mich.) High School
and attended Hope on the GI Bill of Rights.
After graduating from Hope, he went to work for the U.S. Government in the Defense
Logistics Agency, where he served until he retired at age 81.
He was a member of the Cedar Springs Free Methodist Church and NARFE.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Martha Bobb; his children, Paul Bobb,
Carolyn (Ted) Spears, Rhoda (Eric) Kreuzer, Clare Bobb, Joe Bobb, and Susan (Brian)
Bishop; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Marion Pless ’64 Burger of Fishkill, N.Y., died suddenly on Saturday,
Sept. 26, 2009. She was 67.
She was born Sept. 24, 1942, in New York City, the daughter of Andrew Pless
and the late Marion Lukes Pless.
After attending Hope, she graduated from American University in Washington,
D.C., with a degree in political science. She earned a master’s degree
in psychology/comparative religions.
She was employed as an administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency
in New York City until her retirement.
She was a member of Marble Collegiate Church and she attended Unity Church,
both in Manhattan.
She enjoyed helping others and spent much time helping the homeless, and she
volunteered every Thanksgiving at a soup kitchen in Manhattan. She especially
loved Manhattan, animals and wildlife.
She was the former daughter-in-law of Chief Justice Warren Burger of the Supreme
Court of the United States.
Survivors include her father, Andrew Pless of Cold Spring, N.Y.; her sister,
Jane VanBeek of Cold Spring; a nephew, Ryan VanBeek, and his fiancé,
Donna Mastromonaco, of Newburgh, N.Y.; a niece, Corinne VanBeek of Manhattan;
and an aunt, Marie Lukes of Florida.
Richard V. Dievendorf ’44 of Mt. Dora, Fla., died on Friday, Sept.
25, 2009, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. He was 88.
He was born in Fultonville, N.Y., to Lawrence and Sylvia (Martin) Dievendorf
on Dec. 27, 1920.
He was a veteran who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
He then returned to Hope and graduated in 1946.
He was a devoted employee of the Keeler Brass Company in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
for 36 years.
He enjoyed golfing, jazz music, dancing, reading and the joy of lifelong learning.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Eustis, Fla., and a former
member of East Congregational Church in Grand Rapids. He volunteered with the
West Michigan Gleaners and served as a past member of the Pilgrim Manor board
of directors. He was very generous in his support of these and other worthy
charities and organizations.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine Den Herder ’44 Dievendorf,
and his sister, Rose.
Survivors include three sons, David ’70 (Nancy) Dievendorf, Robert (Kathleen)
Dievendorf, and Mark (Mary Jo) Dievendorf; nine grandchildren; several great-grandchildren;
one great-great-grandchild; and his special friend, Veronica Sayers of Mt.
Kathryn Mae Fredricks ’34 of Holland, Mich., died on Wednesday, Nov.
4, 2009. She was 97.
During her career, she worked in the dental office of John Sterenberg D.D.S.
and later in the office Holland Christian School. After she retired, she worked
for many years as a teaching assistant in community education, teaching English
as a second language to people from many countries.
She was a member of the 14th Street Christian Reformed Church and found many
opportunities to serve, including with the Young Calvinist Federation, as a
Sunday school teacher, and as piano player for the New Richmond and West Olive
chapels. She celebrated her 70th birthday while working in Peru with Wycliffe
Survivors include her sister, Juliana Rypma, and sister-in-law, Sue Fredricks.
H. Sidney Heersma ’30 of Kalamazoo, Mich., died on Sunday, Oct. 11,
2009. He was 100.
He was born on July 11, 1909, in Chicago, Ill., the oldest of five children
of Harry and Susie (Boersma) Heersma. He attended public elementary schools
in Chicago and Oak Lawn, Ill., and Englewood High School in Chicago by commuter
He received his M.D. from Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago
after a one-year internship at the Evangelical Hospital in Chicago in 1935.
After residencies in pediatrics at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago, he established
the first pediatrics practice in Kalamazoo on Dec. 1, 1937. He spent the next
61 years treating and advocating for children, particularly those with special
He and Ellen Marie Westerveld were married on June 21, 1934. She preceded him
in death in March 2001.
He was a member and former elder and consistory member of Bethany Reformed
Church of Kalamazoo, and had served as president and board member of the church’s
Friendship House, renamed Heersma-Schrock Friendship House in July 2009 in
honor of Dr. Heersma and his daughter.
He was very active in the community while practicing medicine. He was on the
medical staff of both Bronson and Borgess hospitals, was a member of the Kalamazoo
Academy of Medicine and the Michigan State Medical Society, and was a member
and past president of the Western Michigan Pediatric Society. He had a special
interest in the handicapped and was a member of the American Academy for Cerebral
Palsy and Developmental Medicine. He was pediatrician for St. Agnes Foundling
Home for 33 years; he served the Major Disease Clinic for more than 30 years
in the area of physically and mentally handicapped children. His last practice
was at the MSU-Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies in an attention-deficit-disorder-hyperactivity
clinic for children. He was honored for these and other community efforts and
many board memberships and presidencies, such as the Child Guidance Clinic,
County Mental Health board, Pine Rest Christian Counseling Center, McKercher
Workshop and Crippled Children’s Society, and the Association for Retarded
Citizens. The Bronson Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was named after
him in 1978. In 1991 Hope honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and
in 1996, he received the E. Earl Wright Community Achievement Award from the
Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
From January 1997 until March 2001, his time was occupied with caring for his
He enjoyed sports in his earlier years, especially tennis and badminton. In
January 2002 he was an Olympic Torch-bearer. In his later years, he enjoyed
playing bridge and fishing, and he especially enjoyed meeting with former patients
and parents whom he got to know in his 60 years of practice in Kalamazoo.
Dr. Heersma established the Heersma-Schrock Family Scholarship Fund at Hope.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Claudia
Schrock, last January; and siblings, Gerald Heersma ’34 and Teresa Giese.
Survivors include his son, James Sidney Heersma of Bloomington, Ind.; four
granddaughters, including Frances Schrock ’89 Traisman and Abigail Schrock ’93;
six great-grandchildren; and his siblings, Ruth Polk of Phoenix, Ariz., and
James ’46 (Dottie) Heersma of Blue River, Wis.
Kenneth J. Heuvelman ’52 of Allendale, Mich., died on Wednesday, Oct.
28, 2009. He was 80.
He was a veteran of the Korean conflict, serving in the Central Intelligence
Corps of the U.S. Army.
After graduating from Hope, he earned a specialist degree in special education
at Western Michigan University.
He was a caring, compassionate family man.
His lifelong career in teaching and administration included serving as assistant
superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, director of
special education. He was instrumental in the start of the Ottawa Area Intermediate
He was a charter member of the Allendale Lions Club, 1964. He actively gave
of his time and talents in the churches he attended, most recently at Fellowship
He was an outdoor enthusiast who especially enjoyed fishing on Lake Michigan.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Carol Vanden Brink Heuvelman; his children,
Jack (Judy) Heuvelman of Knoxville, Tenn., and Jill (Craig) Bowles of San Diego,
Calif.; five grandchildren; his siblings, Henry (Florence) Heuvelman and Marcia
(Nelson) DeJonge; and his sisters- and brother-in-law, Joan (Bill) Sturrus
and Shirley Vanden Brink.
Shirley Knol ’49 Leslie of Leesburg, Fla., died on Wednesday, Aug.
26, 2009. She was 81.
She was born in Oak Park, Ill., and moved to Leesburg from Cincinnati, Ohio,
She was a member of the New Hope Presbyterian Church of Eustis, Fla.
Survivors include her husband of 60 years, Craig Leslie ’51; her children,
Dwight ’72 (Beth) Leslie of Lakeland, Fla., Nancy (Rick) Atchison of
Ottawa, Ontario, Bill (Betsy) Leslie of Cincinnati, and Linda Leslie ’82
of Cincinnati; and six grandchildren.
John C. Russell ’65 of Indianapolis, Ind., died on Wednesday, Sept.
9, 2009. He was 65.
He was born Oct. 9, 1943, to John T. and Gertrude (Nauta) Russell. He was a
graduate of Arsenal Technical High School.
He was first employed in the construction industry with P.R. Duke, and later
became owner/operator of Beckman Corporation for more than 10 years.
He was a member of Eastgate Christian Church, where he was chairman of the
elders. He loved to sing in the church choir, and he was part of a male singing
group called “Air Males.”
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Donna (Eaton) Russell; his children,
Jon. T. (Chanin) Russell, Lisa (Edward) Pluckebaum, and Julie (Mitchell) Robinson;
his sister, Roberta Russell ’62 Ponis; and six grandchildren.
Carol Buseman ’53 Shay of Fruitland, Mich., died on Thursday, Aug.
13, 2009. She was 78.
She was born July 3, 1931, and raised in Hawthorne, N.J.
She served with her husband, Mervyn Shay ’51, in his ministry with the
United Methodist Church. He preceded her in death in 2004.
She was a longtime member of the Fruitland United Methodist Church, where she
received as much joy as she gave. She played piano for the Payette United Church
of Christ and sang in many choirs. Sharing her music and her faith in God sustained
her in life. She had the privilege of bringing many talents to the Church Women
United, including serving a term as president.
Survivors include her sister, Evelyn (Jake) Schaad of The Villas, N.J.; her
daughter, Kathryn Shay of Vancouver, Wash.; sons, Nathan (Carol) Shay of Boise,
Idaho, and Jerry (Donna) Shay of Salem, Ore.; and five grandchildren.
Helen Wagner ’48 Spicuzza of Mason, Mich., died on Wednesday, Oct.
21, 2009. She was 83.
She was born April 25, 1926, in Reserve, Wis., to Charles and Irene (Scotsma)
She was a resident of Mason for more than 50 years. She taught at Mason Middle
School for 33 years and was supervisor of teachers for eight years at Michigan
She loved travel, gardening and playing bridge.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Gerald VanSingel ’49 and Joseph
Survivors include her two sons, Dirk (Barb) VanSingel of Mason, Mich., and
Chris ’77 (Kathy) VanSingel of Florida; three grandchildren; and three
Charles P. Truby ’61 of Wilmington, N.C., died on Thursday, Oct. 8,
2009. He was 72.
He was born in Chicago, Ill., on June 28, 1937, to Vincent Truby and Katherine
He received his doctorate degree in microbiology and chemistry from the University
of Houston and a master’s degree in microbiology and biochemistry from
Arizona State University.
He served in executive vice president, vice president and director positions
with STERIS-Isomedix Services, American Home Product’s Sherwood Davis & Geck,
Becton Dickinson & Company, and the NASA Apollo program. He was a Malcolm
Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner and a Senior Examiner with the Missouri
Quality Award. He was a senior member of American Society for Quality and Emeritus
member of the American Society for Microbiology.
He was president of Porter’s Neck Homeowner’s Association and served
on the boards of Chamber Music of Wilmington, the Arboretum Foundation, Friends
of Oakdale Cemetery, and the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Nancy Truby; three children, Chuck
(Deanna) Truby of Greensboro, N.C., Lauren (Mike) Vollmin of Wilmington, and
Tim (Tracey) Truby of Cincinnati, Ohio; six grandchildren; and two sisters,
Katherine Ewoldt of Banning, Calif., and Sandi (David) Perillo of St. Petersburg,
Benjamin R. Van Slooten ’51 of West Olive, Mich., died on Saturday,
Aug. 8, 2009. He was 84.
He was a veteran of World War II who served in Europe.
After the war he attended Hope and also the University of Michigan, where he
earned an MBA.
He was the controller for Reynolds Metal Company in Wyoming, Mich., and in
his retirement continued to work each tax season, including this year, preparing
income tax returns.
He loved the outdoors. He was a longtime member of First Reformed Church of
Zeeland, Mich. He was an avid fan of his grandchildren’s activities and
was known to critique the referees in making the correct calls.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Marian Van Slooten; his son, Benjamin
Van Slooten III of Holland, Mich.; his daughter, Ruth Van Slooten ’80
(Mark) Howard of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and two grandchildren, including Scott
Howard ’12. He is also survived by his brothers- and sisters-in-law,
Gene Goorman of Grand Haven, Mich., Alma Boeve of Holland, Mich., Gladys (Jay)
Dykhuis of East Saugatuck, Mich., Beatrice Boeve of Zeeland, Evelyn Lenters
of Holland, Harvey (Donna) Helder of Holland and Carolyn (Mike) Vander Ploeg.
Jennie DeVries ’36 Venhuizen of Fulton, Ill., died on Monday, Oct.
26, 2009. She was 94.
She was born Dec. 28, 1914, in Newton Township, Ill., to Jacob and Eva (Strating)
DeVries. She was a 1932 graduate of Erie (Ill.) Community High School.
She taught for five years in a one-room country school, and most recently taught
for 16 years at the Fulton Elementary School.
She was a member of Trinity Reformed Church in Fulton, and of the church’s
Hannah Mission and Priscilla Society. She also served as a Sunday school teacher
and Bible study group leader. She was recently recognized as the oldest member
of Trinity Reformed Church.
She enjoyed all needlework, including knitting, crocheting and cross stitch.
She was an avid reader and enjoyed watching TV game shows.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Jacob Venhuizen, in 2004;
one son, Robert G. Venhuizen; one daughter, Lois Van Zee; and two siblings,
Marie VanZuiden and Herman DeVries.
Survivors include two sons, Stanley (Maryellen) Venhuizen of Fulton and Gary
(Barbara) Venhuizen of Lindale, Texas; one son-in-law, Terry Van Zee of Boulder,
Colo.; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and her siblings, Ella
Mae (Alfred) Norman of Fulton and John ’41 (Ruth) DeVries of Palo Alto,