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August 2012 Obituaries


Alfred Arwe '51 (11/08/12)

Howard Ball '51 (6/2/12)

Frederick Birdsall '57 (6/9/12)

William Bloemendaal '54 (5/30/12)

John "Stan" Christofferson '79 (5/18/12)

Richard Clark '62 (5/19/12)

Myron "Mike" Denekas '55 (5/25/12)

Martin Holstege '40 (4/29/12)

Janet Young '78 Kiel (7/6/12)

Victor Kleinheksel '51 (5/11/12)

Paul Kleis '48 (6/26/12)

Norma Lemmer '44 Koeppe (6/30/12)

Peter Kraak '50 (5/13/12)

Barbara Michalak '71 Murphy (5/2/12)

Richard "Dick" Norgrove '51 (6/5/12)

Bernard Ridder '63 (5/26/12)

Michael Ringelberg '77 (5/15/12)

Melvin Shy '57 (3/13/12)

Edwin "Bud" VanDeWege '51 (7/2/12)

Marlene Hartgerink '58 Veldheer (6/7/12)

Julia Voss '43 Wall (4/8/12)

Betty Venhuizen '49 Weber (6/14/12)

 

Alfred Arwe ’51 of Bradenton, Fla., died on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. He was 84.

Al was born in New Jersey and spent his elementary and secondary schooling years there. In 1946, he went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan and majored in biology with emphasis on microbiology and biochemistry. He earned a BA degree and secured a seat in the University of McGill Medical School, but before he enter, in 1951, was drafted into the US Army Chemical Corps during the Korean war and was assigned to the First Army, Biological Warfare Division, He was discharged in 1954, a Sergeant, with commendation from the Secretary of Defense.

He returned to New Jersey and was employed in the Morristown Memorial Hospital as an assistant to the pathologist; in 1955 he was appointed as a Supervisor of Research Laboratory Services At Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Company. Four years later, Al started his journey through a list of pharmaceutical companies, Sterling Drug, Merck, Richardson-Merrill, as Medical Research Administrator, and at the Beatrice Food Company’s pharmaceutical division as the Director of Drug Regulatory Affairs.

In 1972, Al joined the National College of Chiropractic, Lombard, Ill., as a Director of Financial Affairs/ Student Loans. While there he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree and a BS in human biology, became licensed to practice in Illinois an d in 1977 moved to Bradenton, Fla., became licensed to practice here and married Shirley Stivers who had lived near him in Lake Hopatcong, NJ but had never before known each other.

Al met Shirley at a karate school picnic party on Coquina Beach and it has been “a 25-year honeymoon!”  He conducted his chiropractic practice in Bradenton with Shirley as office manager.  Al was elected as President of Southwest Florida Chiropractic Society, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Chiropractic Association. During that period he was a volunteer of the manatee County Sheriff’s reserve and earned the rank of Lieutenant. In 1986, he closed his practice (to the dismay of 1000 patients), attended and graduated from the Police Academy, went to work full time as road patrol deputy sheriff for Sheriff Charlie Wells.  The last two years of ten as a deputy, he was a bailiff in the manatee County Courthouse. From there retired in 1996 giving Shirley and he time for extensive travels and volunteerism at the Manatee Memorial Hospital and SRQ.

Howard Ball ’51, the former editor of Suburban Trends as well as a columnist and member of the Pompton Lakes and West Milford fire departments, died Saturday, June 2, at the New Jersey Firemen's Home in Boonton.

Mr. Ball was also chaplain for the Passaic County Fire Academy, as well as for the Riverdale, Bloomingdale, West Milford, and other fire departments. Born July 3, 1929 in Haskell, he lived most of his life in Pompton Lakes. Mr. Ball, an award-winning community newspaperman, was the long-time executive editor and a much-beloved columnist for the Suburban Trends newspaper. Generations of readers in northern Passaic and Morris counties relied upon the work of Mr. Ball and his staff as their primary source for news and information about the daily events, large and small, in their hometowns.

In his popular "Bits & Pieces" column, he lovingly shared his personal stories about families, friends and neighbors, often noting the birthdays of the waitresses at his favorite eateries, the retirements of school lunch ladies, the kid down the block who did a good deed, etc. Mr. Ball's influence and contributions to the communities served by Suburban Trends were extensive and the newspaper is actively working on obituary that reflects these contributions. “Staff members, local firefighters, and the community in general are saddened by the news," Suburban Trends Editor Matt Fagan said Sunday. "I know from experience how well loved and respected Howard was. Nary a month would go by without someone calling the newspaper who would, before hanging up, send his or her regards to Howard."

A dedicated civic and religious leader North Jersey throughout his life, Mr. Ball, was a past president and engine captain of the Pompton Lakes Fire Department, as well as a volunteer firefighter with the Greenwood Forest Fire Company in West Milford. In his retirement, he served as chaplain for the Pompton Lakes Fire Department, Riverdale Fire Department, Bloomingdale Fire Department, West Milford Company 4 "Macopin Blacksheep," Riverdale Police Department, Passaic County Fire Academy and Passaic County Mutual Aid Society.

Mr. Ball also served as executive director of the Upper Passaic County Community Action program where pioneered the Meals-on-Wheels and the Congregate Feeding programs, as well as an Assembly of God minister who led congregations in both Butler and Edgewater, and he was past president of the Butler Rotary Club and Tri-Boro Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and could trace his ancestry to minutemen who fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord.A Lifetime Award recipient from the Pompton Lakes Republican Club, confidant and advisor to a diverse range of political leaders including U.S. Representatives Robert A. Roe, a Democrat and Dean Gallo, a Republican.

A member of numerous other political and volunteer organizations, Mr. Ball also was 25-year member of the local U.S. Congressional selection committee for the national service academies, and former master sergeant with the Michigan National Guard.Mr. Ball was a 1947 graduate of Pompton Lakes High School, where he was president of the Cardinals Marching Band and Outstanding Senior Boy. A 1951 graduate of Western Michigan University, he was a member of the Beta Beta Beta fraternity and mentor for the freshman class. While at Western Michigan, he built a built a bootleg radio station in his dorm room, which launched his life-long passion for radio, including turns as "Jeff Lane on the Street of Dreams" at WKMI in Kalamazoo, MI; "Coffee Time With Uncle Howie," broadcast from Lakeview Lanes in West Milford; and various news and entertainment spots on radio stations including WTTM, WCTC, WKER, WNNJ and WGHT.

Mr. Ball was the son of Howard L. Ball, Sr. a textile worker and union local vice president in Pompton Lakes, and Harriet V (Stephens) Ball, both predeceased.He is survived by his five children, Guy D. Ball, Mark Griffith, Diane (Grant) Mone, Patricia Mitchell (Ball) Stephanie Bassler, (Ball), 11 Grandchildren Nicholas, Alexander, Daniel, Debbie, Michael, Erich, Stephen, Kelly, Kim, Thomas and Sara. He had 10 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.


Fredrick Raymond Birdsall ’57, resident of Freedom Village, died June 9, 2012, after a short illness.

He was born December 27, 1929, in Cooperstown, NY, to Raymon Birdsall and Lois Smith Birdsall. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Holland.

Fred graduated from high school in Afton, NY, and attended Ridley Business School in Binghamton, NY before entering the U.S. Army where he served as a Courts and Boards Recorder. He graduated from Hope College in 1957, and later attended McCormick Seminary and Roosevelt University in Chicago where he prepared to earn his CPA license. He was married in 1957 to Sammie Jane Pas. The family moved from Evanston, IL to the Holland area in 1972 where he practiced public accounting for many years before joining a former client, Johnstone Comfort Control as controller and financial officer.

He was a lover of classical music and was known for his wonderful off-beat sense of humor.

In addition to his wife,  Sammie Pas ’56 Birdsall, he is survived by their son, Timothy James from Marshfield, WI; daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Steve Greenway of Greenville; grandsons, Patrick Greenway of Greenville and Matthew Greenway of Sandusky, Ohio; brother, David Birdsall of Richfield Springs, NY; sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Ray Decker of Ann Arbor; sister and brother-in-law, Lois Mae and Paul Oswald of Conklin, NY; brother-in-law, Jaime Quinones of Albuquerque, NM; sister-in-law, Polly Schnieder of Ann Arbor; many dear nephews and nieces.

William Frederick Bloemendaal '54, age 80, of Holland, died Wednesday, May 30, 2012, at Holland Hospital surrounded by family. Bill courageously battled complications following heart surgery in February.

Bill was born in Zeeland to Dr. Dirk C. and Lillian Bloemendaal. He was the second of six siblings. Bill earned his pilot’s license at the age of 16. Bill had said, “If I cannot walk, I can always fly.” He graduated from prep school at Wayland Academy in Beaverdam, WI, Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL, and he earned his master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and Claremont College in California.

Bill was a teacher at West Ottawa Schools for 39 years and served on the district’s board of education for 20 years until resigning in the fall of 2011. Bill loved teaching and challenging students. Following his retirement, he continued his craft by teaching many classes in the HASP program.

Bill loved his community. Throughout the years, Bill sought employment in other places even moving his family to Hawaii. He always returned to his community and his beloved Holland. He loved being able to tell his students that he had their parents or even grandparents as a students. Bill was a mentor for many students, even during his retirement.

While at West Ottawa, Bill started the Icon (the school year book) and the West Ottawan (the school newspaper). Bill taught a wide range of classes and subjects and was involved in many school activities at West Ottawa.Bill was the owner and publisher of “Ottawa Observer,” a local newspaper as well as the first Tulip Time souvenir magazine called “Tulip Time.”

He was a devoted member of HASP, where he taught many classes, was the curriculum director and a past president. He was always the academic. He was an extensive reader, and some may call him a book-a-holic. He loved to travel and loved the theater. He especially enjoyed going to Stratford to see the Shakespearean plays. Many of us recall him quoting Shakespeare to his students and reciting sonnets to Audrey.

Bill met his wife of 59 years, Audrey Stachel at Lake Forest College in IL. Their relationship was like two peas in a pod. In the 59 years, they never did anything apart. Few know this, but Bill and Audrey became engaged on their first date. Their relationship was epic.

Besides his wife, Bill is survived by his children, William F. Bloemendaal of Grand Rapids, Julie and Juan Mascorro of Holland, Jamie Bloemendaal and Michele of Manitou Beach, Emily and Frank Smiddy of Ludington; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; sisters, Barbara Dickman of Zeeland, Elizabeth and John Walters of Rockford, Mary and Ira Ferguson of Holland; brother, John and Jean Bloemendaal of Maine; sister-in-law, Keri Bloemendaal of Zeeland; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.  

John Stanley Christofferson ’79 of Greer, S.C., died Friday May 18, 2012 after a brave and stubborn battle with cancer. He was 54.

"Stan The Man" passed peacefully at his home with his family and friends.His greatest happiness while housebound with cancer was getting to know his grandchildren.

All who knew him will remember his infectious smile, warm personality, and generous spirit. His legacy will live through The Great Bay Oyster House, which he started with his family. He worked tirelessly at his "passion" to revitalize downtown Greer.

He was preceded in death by his father, James, and his sister, Patty.

He leaves behind his mother, Jean; brother, Scott; wife of 34 years, Diane; daughter Katie and son-in-law Shaun; son, Alex and daughter-in-law Kristin; and three grandchildren, Olivia, Harper and Micah.

 

Richard Clarke ’62 of Grand Rapids and good Hart Michigan, died on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  He was 72. 

Richard was the son of James H. and Imogene T. Clarke of Harbor Springs.

He is survived by his wife, Kay, children Kim Clarke, Christy Walker (Troy) and Jeffrey (Jennifer) Clarke all of Grand Rapids. He was “Gramps” to four grandchildren, Zachary Palm, Isabel and Ian Walker and Ellie Clarke, He is also survived by brothers, James T. Clarke (Patricia) of park City Utah and Good Hart and Robert W. (Susan) Clarke of Harbor Springs. 

He was President of Shield Insurance of Spartan Stores for many years. He was a long time member and past president of Blythefield Country Club.

Myron Norman "Mike" Denekas ’55, of St. Joseph passed away on May 25, 2012. He was 78.

Mike was born on August 7, 1933 in Dumont, IA to Clarence and Bertha (Myers) Denekas.

Raised in the small farming communities of Kings, IL and Oregon, IL, Mike graduated from Oregon (IL) Community High School in 1951 and went on to graduate from Hope College in Holland, MI in 1955 with a major in English and minors in History, Social Studies and Greek. Mike later proceeded to obtain his Masters Degree in Education from Western Michigan University.

Mike served in the United States Army from 1957-1959, stationed primarily at Fort Richardson, Alaska.In 1960 Mike married the former Marlene Joostberns in Hamilton, Michigan. Upon moving to St. Joseph that same year, Mike began a teaching career with St. Joseph Public Schools in the Social Studies department that would continue for 35 years until his retirement in 1995. Starting in what was then St. Joseph Junior High School (later Milton Junior High School), Mike moved to the new Upton Junior High School in 1968 and then ultimately to St. Joseph High School in 1975.

Well known for decades by many St. Joe students and his colleagues, Mike was involved in a host of school activities including as football coach, athletic director and advisor to the Student Senate. For many years Mike took great satisfaction in organizing an annual trip for St. Joe High freshman to Washington, D.C.As President of the North Lincoln baseball association in the mid 1970s, Mike was instrumental in founding and organizing the annual all-star youth baseball tournament at Eaton Park

Mike was a devoted member and leader at the Fairplain Presbyterian Church for many years, which included service on the Church Session, as a teacher and on numerous committees.Mike is survived by his wife Marlene Denekas; his daughter Lori Denekas ’83 (Charles) Betz of Bismarck, ND; his three sons Mark (Heather) Denekas of St. Joseph, Craig (Betsy Pelikan) Denekas of Portland, ME, and Andrew (Francesann) Denekas of Elmhurst, IL; and nine grandchildren

Martin Holstege ’40 of Roseville, Calif., died on Sunday, April 29, 2012. He was 94.

He was a math instructor in various schools, but spent most of his teaching career in Cerritos College in Cerritos, Calif. While teaching, he co-authored five college math books.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Gertrude Holstege; four children; 12 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

Janet Young ’78 Kiel of Zeeland, Mich., died on Friday, July 6, 2012.

  She dedicated her life to God’s glory, her family and the students at Hudsonville Public School, where she taught for 33 years.  She served faithfully, loved freely and found her strength in the joy of the Lord.

Survivors include her husband, Daniel Kiel ’77, daughters, Megan Kiel and Katie Kiel ’07 (Joseph ’06) Pitcher; one grandson; sister, Pam Lorenz; brother William Young; and her father and mother-in-law, Wayne (Donna) Kiel ’63.

 

Victor W. Kleinheksel '51 of Holland, Mich., died Friday, May 11, 2012, at Appledorn Living Center. He was 82.

Born in Holland, Victor graduated from Holland High School class of 1947. In 1951, he graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in mortuary science. He was owner and operator of Dykstra Funeral Homes along with his father, Julius, and brother, Carrow Kleinheksel, until his retirement in 2009.

Victor was a life-time member of First Reformed Church, where he served as a deacon, elder and member of the bell choir. For 60 years, he was a member of the American Legion Band and was known for playing taps at Holland’s Memorial Day Service as well as playing taps for many veteran funeral services. Victor was a member of the Holland Lions Club, where he served as past president and former member of the Holland Exchange Club.

An avid sports fan and supporter of Hope College,  he also attended sporting and musical events for his children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dorothy E. (Bos) Kleinheksel; and children, Conrad and Barb Kleinheksel of Zeeland, Craig and Dar Kleinheksel of Holland, Julie and Brian Weeldreyer of Zeeland; grandchildren, Chad  ’00 and Nikki Kleinheksel, Charlie ‘03 and Abbey Timmer ’04 Kleinheksel, Chip ’06  and Elizabeth Gibson ’06 Kleinheksel , Cari Kleinheksel ’04 and Brendan Lyons, Katie Kleinheksel, Cort and Maggie Kleinheksel, Stephanie Cotter ’10, Ryan Cotter ’11, Nathan Weeldreyer and Matthew Weeldreyer. He also is survived by five great-grandchildren; brother, Randall and Sheryl Kleinheksel of Holland; sister-in-law, Eleanor Kleinheksel of Holland and brother-in-law, Bob and Karen Boss of Vicksburg; as well as nieces and nephews.

 

Paul Kleis '48 of Kalamazoo, Mich., died on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.  He was 85.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He later worked for Swift and Co. as well as Saga Corp.

He was a member of First and Second Reformed Church where he served as deacon. "Paul enjoyed riding horses, golf, and doing volunteer work for several different organizations," reads his obituary on MLive and in Sunday's Kalamazoo Gazette. "He especially enjoyed the Air Zoo, Habitat for Humanity, and SCORE."

He was a recipient of the Star Award given to volunteers.

Kleis is survived by his wife, Lois Rameau ’50 Kleis, and five children, Tim (Judy) Kleis, Mark Kleis, Rebecca (John) Wruble, Julie (Keith) Bramer, Thomas (Michelle) Kleis; five grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sisters and brother, Myra Kleis ’45 Berry, Rev. Dr. Carl Kleis ’54, Glennyce  Kleis ’56 (Ivan) Moerman; and several nieces and nephews.

 

Norma Lemmer ’44 Koeppe of Stillwater, Okla., died on Saturday, June 30, 2012.  She was 89. She died at the Stillwater Medical Center following complications from emergency colon surgery.

She left this earth giving one last gift to the nursing staff that shared the challenges of her care. That gift was one of patience and dignity, with a smile of encouragement, knowing that many were seeing first-hand what had only been on the pages of a textbook some months before.

Norma was born November 15, 1922 in Kalamazoo, MI to Cornelius Lemmer and Cornelia VanderSalm Lemmer. She graduated in January, 1940 from Kalamazoo Central High School and in 1944 from Hope College, Holland, MI.

At Hope College, she was an Elementary Education and English Major and a driving force on campus. She was President of her sorority, Sigma Sigma, toured with the Chapel Choir and sang in the Girls Glee club. She also received an athletic Letter in 2007 for her achievements in Tennis, Volleyball and Horseback Riding, an honor not permitted in the 1940's for women. While on campus, she lived at Voorhees Hall and was often referred to as "the best dressed girl on campus". She was "a catch".

After college, she took post-grad studies at the University of Michigan and began a teaching career in Zeeland, MI and later at Roosevelt School in Kalamazoo. She taught 1st and 3rd grades. In 1947, she married her classmate from Hope College, Roger Erdman Koeppe. They moved to Urbana, IL, where he was studying for his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Illinois and she continued her teaching career at Lincoln School.

In 1949, their son, Roger E. Koeppe, II, was born. In 1950, they became House Parents to ten young boys, ages 6-10, at the Cunningham Children's Home. They remained in Urbana until 1951 and then moved to Memphis, TN where Roger began his teaching and research career at the University of Tennessee Medical School. They lived in Memphis until 1959 and added three more children to their home: Mary Elizabeth, 1953, Sarah Cornelia, 1955, and Edwin Cornelius, 1957.

In 1959, Oklahoma State University's Biochemistry Department beckoned them to Stillwater, OK, and this became the place they called home. Shortly after their arrival in Stillwater, their fifth child, Peter VanderSalm Koeppe was born in January of 1960. Norma had a special optimistic take on life. "No" was not a word she used frequently; "we'll see" was her preference. She dedicated her talents to her family and friends and community.

Although her teaching no longer was attached to a paycheck, she raised her five children and became a special mom to many more. As a child, she had been raised at First Reformed Church of Kalamazoo. In Stillwater, she and her husband, Roger , became very active participants at First Presbyterian Church. She continued until very recently being active with her church Circle and Church Women United, and served whenever called. After her children left home, she worked for years managing her neighborhood polling location on election days, became the bookkeeper for Murphy's Department Store and gave her support financially and as an audience member at the Town & Gown Theatre, Tulsa Opera, Allied Arts, OSU Theatre and many, many more cultural events.

She served as President of Lahoma on OSU's campus from 1970-71 and as First Lady of the Department of Biochemistry for more than 27 years, hosting picnics, Christmas teas, many a visiting lecturer and graduate students from around the world. She and Roger were avid bridge players and shared this with other couples, and until late May she enjoyed meeting regularly with her dear, dear friends of fun and fashion, the Wednesday Ladies Bridge Group. They were such an important part of her life. Norma and Roger were unique in their talent for consuming wisdom and inspirational in sharing it. Beginning in 1978, they began to travel the world to expand their horizons and knowledge. They visited every continent, with travels extending from The Arctic circle to Antarctica.

Whether sailing a tall-mast clipper ship, barging on a river, ballooning over Africa or catching a piranha on the Amazon their adventures were great. They knew no limits. Luxury was not the goal; what mattered were history and what the local people and culture had to offer. They shared a special bond as they stood above the horizon and knew where to look.

Norma L. Koeppe was pre-deceased by her parents, her brother, Dr. Richard Allen Lemmer of Bronson Hospital, Kalamazoo, in 1999, and her beloved husband of 62 years, Roger Koeppe ’44, in 2009.

She is survived by her five children, , Roger (Jessie) Koeppe, Mary Koeppe ’75 (Robert ’75) Luidens , Sarah Koeppe ’77 (David) Huddleston, Edwin (Donna) Koeppe, and Peter (Jane Boyd) Koeppe ’82, 11 grandchildren, including Karen Luidens ’09 (Stelios ’08) Alverez and Julia Koeppe ’01, seven great-grandchildren, three sisters-in-law, and one brother in-law. Norma and Roger's children are Roger, II of Fayetteville, AR, Mary of Altamont, NY, Sarah of Santa Fe, NM, Edwin of Stillwater, OK, and Peter of San Diego/San Jose, CA. Roger is professor of Chemistry /Biochemistry at the University of Arkansas; his wife, Jessie, is Director of the Library Resource Center for Fayetteville Public Schools. Mary Luidens is an Endocrinology physician on the faculty of Albany Medical College where she cares for patients, supervises medical students, residents, and fellows, and participates in some research studies; her husband, Robert, is Pastor of Altamont Reformed Church. Sarah continues to seek work as a Casting Director of film, television and theatre; her husband, David Huddleston, is a familiar character Actor with a face and voice known from Broadway to Hollywood. Edwin is owner of Engraving Excellence in Stillwater; his wife, Donna, is Vice President for Administration at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Peter is an Electrical Engineer and Senior Technical Staff member in Product Development and Data Storage Designer at IBM; his wife, Jane E. Boyd, is an Internal Medicine physician at San Diego Family Care, a non-profit community medical clinic. 

 

Peter J Kraak  ’50 (U.S. Army, Ret., LTC), age 83, son of Peter and Thelma (Lathrop) Kraak of Decatur, MI, entered his heavenly home May 13, 2012 at the VA Hospital at Coatesville, PA.

He was an alumnus of Hope College, Holland, MI (BA); Faith Theological Seminary, Wilmington, DE/Elkins Park, PA (Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology); and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY (Doctor of Ministry). Kraak was the founding pastor of the Claymont Bible Church, Claymont, DE (1953-58) before serving at the Dallasburg Baptist Church, Wheatley, KY (1959-61).

On active duty with the U.S. Army from 1961-81, his assignments included battalion, brigade, and post chaplaincies. He was stationed at Ft. Meade, MD, Schofield Barracks, HI, Hoechst, Germany, Ft. Hamilton, Brooklyn, NY, Camp Drum, NY, Wildflecken and Hanau, Germany, and Ft. Knox, KY.

Chaplain Kraak served two tours of duty in Vietnam (1966/67 and 1971/72), receiving a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 2005, he donated his field communion set to the Tropic Lightning Museum (25th Infantry Battalion), Schofield Barracks.

After retiring, he pastored the Bloomington Baptist Church, in Bloomington, IN (1981-92), where the Kraaks hosted many international students attending the Indiana University School of Music. He served as an Indiana State Police chaplain for 11 years. Returning to Delaware, Kraak was a chaplain at the Wilmington VA Medical Center (1994-2005). Whether as a military chaplain or a civilian minister, Peter Kraak pastored his many "flocks" with loving care, winning their enduring affection.Whatever he enjoyed doing, he did with zest.

He was a ferocious competitor at basketball (which he also coached in the Army), softball, and ping pong. His Hawaii garden was award-winning, and his vegetable gardens were prolific producers.Family and friends will remember his love, loyalty, compassion, and sense of humor. A man of faith and integrity, he was dedicated to proclaiming God's Holy Word.

Peter is survived by the family he cherished: Eleanor (Paul), his beloved wife of nearly 62 years; daughter Deborah (David); son Daniel (Wendy) and grandson Joshua; sister Beverly and brother David; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. His parents and siblings Agnes, Frank, and Milo ("Mike") preceded him to their heavenly home. Praise be to God!

Elsie Parsons Lamb,of Holland, passed away Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in the Resthaven Good Shepherd Home. She was 88.

Elsie was born on May 20, 1924, in Hudson, NY, to J. Rossman and Charlotte (Schrader) Parsons. She graduated from Hudson High School and Hope College and taught school for three years in Traverse City.

Elsie was a longtime member of Hope Church, where she served as a Sunday school teacher,  a deacon and elder, and as a member of the Sacred Dance group for 15 years. She helped form the Community Action House and Hope Church Day Care Center. 

Elsie was a great advocate of peace and helped form the Holland Peacemakers. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her son, Larry Lamb, in 1987. 

She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Bill Lamb ’46; her sons, Ross ’77 and Leesa Lamb, Fred and Denise Lamb; her grandchildren, Dexter Lamb, Maggie Lamb, Amy Lamb, Audrey Lamb, Kirsten Lamb, Taylor and Chris Visscher; her great-grandchildren, Brylan McConnell and Sophie Visscher; her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jack ’54 and Lois Lamb; several nieces and nephews.  

 

Kathleen Geary '86 Millius of Geneva, Ill., passed away early on May 23 with family at her side. She was 48.

She was raised in western Michigan and was crowned Junior Miss while at Zeeland high school. Kathleen graduated from Hope College in Holland, Mich., with a B.S. in psychology, and she was named outstanding senior in psychology. She performed in comedy and musical theater in high school and community theater productions, twice portraying a nun ("Sound of Music" and "Nunsense").

Kathleen and Mike were married on March 27, 1994, just before a Caribbean cruise honeymoon. She lived and worked in West Michigan, Tucson, Ariz., and Chicago suburbs in supply chain management for several manufacturing companies. These companies include BLD Products, Raytheon Aerospace and Elgin Sweeper/Federal Signal, respectively.

Kathleen enjoyed traveling and visited the Netherlands, both East and West Germany, France, Mexico, Canada and numerous Caribbean Islands. She was also an avid reader, and whenever her health permitted, she attended/hosted book club. She was also close friends with these ladies, and they were always willing to help out when needed.

She excelled at organization, home decorating and entertaining. Besides the holidays with friends and family, Kathleen loved the summers. Some of her greatest pleasures were camping at Holland State part with her family (mom and sisters); tending to her various gardens, sitting on the deck and walking in the park. She also loved her pet rabbit, Aubrey, and her beloved dog, Gracie. Her personality was infused with intelligence, wit, vibrancy and kindness. She loved life!

Kathleen was preceded in death by brother, Michael; and three grandparents.

She is survived by her best friend, Mike; sister, Amanda Geary; sister and brother-in-law, Trish and John Clark; nephew, Riley; mother, Renie Geary; father and stepmother, Dennis and Ronni Geary; and many close friends.

 

Barbara Michalak ’71 Murphy of Lakeland, Fla., died on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. She was 62.

Barbara was born November 24, 1949 in Berea, Ohio to Thadius and Rosalyn (Mohammed) Michalak and moved to Lakeland over 25 years ago from Illinois.

Barbara was a member of the United Methodist Temple and was active in its choir, Sunday school programs and served on its altar guild. Barbara will always be remembered for putting others needs before her own and enjoyed dog sitting and playing bridge.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Denny R. Murphy in 2010, her father, and brother, David Michalak. 

Survivors include her mother, Rosalyn (Carl) Bankovich of Parma, Ohio; her sister, Judith (George) Gagliardi of Orlando; her sisters-in-law, Kathy Barker of Harrisburg, Ill and Joyce (Ken) Bodi of Granite City, Ill; her brothers-in-law, William (Sam) Murphy of Mulberry and Mark (Lori) Murphy of Eldorado, Ill. and numerous nieces and nephews.

 

Richard "Dick" Norgrove ’51 of Caledonia, passed away Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at Oak Crest Manor in Holland. He was 86.

He served in the Army Air Force during World War II. He graduated from South High School and Hope College and received a Master's degree in education from Michigan State University.

He was a government/history teacher at Wyoming Rogers High School for more than 26 years. He was the varsity baseball coach for over 20 of those years where he won several conference, district, and regional championships. He was once called the "Dean" of baseball coaches. An avid sports enthusiast, he loved the Detroit Tigers and golfing.

He was a member of the "Michigan Sports Sages". For the past 3 years, he had been residing at Oak Crest Communities of Holland after suffering a massive stroke.

He was a husband for over 53 years to Barbara Greenlee Norgrove. She preceded him in death, along with his parents, Pearl and Arthur Norgrove, and a brother, Wallace Norgrove ’50.

He is survived by his three children, Daniel Norgrove of Odessa, Washington, Sally Norgrove ’82 (David ’80) Stevens of San Antonio, Texas, and Nancy Norgrove ’83 (John) Van Eenenaam of Holland; 6 grandchildren; 1 great granddaughter; brother, Jim Norgrove; several nieces and nephews.

Bernard L. Ridder '63 of Washington, died at home on May 26, 2012, with his wife Mary Ellen at his side. He was 81.

He was one of six children born to farmers Gesine and Friederich Ridder in Hardingen, Germany.Bernie became a furniture maker in Germany. In 1954, he married Friederike Sligt. They then immigrated to Holland, Mich. where he was employed by the Hermann Miller Company, and where four of their five children were born.

After Bernie graduated from Hope College, the family moved to New Brunswick, where he studied at the theological seminary and their fifth child was born. In 1966, Bernard and Friederike were proud to become citizens of the United States. After receiving his degree in divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary (Maine) in 1968, Bernie ministered to the congregation of the United Church of Christ in Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Bernie married Mary Ellen Donnelly in 1983. Together with his sons, Marty and Harvey, they owned and operated the Washington House Pub and Restaurant on Route 31 in Washington. They retired in 2004.

Bernard Ridder is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, and by his former wife, Friederike and their five children: Jerry, Frieda, Harvey, Philip and Martin and their spouses; his six grandchildren Greta, Kelda, Sean, Colleen, Kristina and Alexander; and by four of his remaining siblings in Germany.

Michael Ringelberg ’77 of Sparta, Mich., died on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.  He was 57. 

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Marie Ringelberg; daughter, Lani; sons, Mike and Shawn; grandson, Christopher; his mother, Nancy; sister, Julia; many aunts, uncles, cousins; and especially great childhood friends.

Melvin Shy ’57 of Tehachapi, Calif., died on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. He was 77. He was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Sept 30, 1934, and had been a resident of Tehachapi for the past 20 years.

Mel and his wife Dottie had spent the previous 20 years in Lancaster, where they owned and operated Sign of the Fish Bookstores in Lancaster and Palmdale.

Mel was a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned an M.B.A.  He went on to a career as a financial analyst at Lockheed, working in Burbank before moving to the Antelope Valley. He had been active in the Glendale Presbyterian Church, Lancaster Presbyterian Church, and the Bear Valley Church. He was an avid University of Michigan football fan and traveled many times back to Ann Arbor to the Big House to watch games with his brother and his sons.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Edith, and his youngest son, Douglas Shy.

Survivors include his brother, Ed; sister Ruth; and their families in Grand Rapids; his wife of 55 years, Dorothy Houser ’58 Shy; three children David (Karen) Wolfe; Dan (Karla) Shy and Deborah Shy ’85 (Paul) Petredes; and six grandchildren.

 

Edwin Jay VanDeWege ’57 of Holland, Mich., died on Monday, July 2, 2012.  He was 83.

Born March 29, 1929 in Holland, Michigan, son of James and Margaret VanDeWege. He is survived by the love of his life for 48 wonderful years, Hanky (Helene); and his three children and their spouses Shelley Barsoom (Daryl), Len VanDeWege (Arlene), and Bud VanDeWege, Jr. (Kathy).

He was also blessed with 10 grandchildren who brought him much pride and happiness: Darice, Kristin, Alex, and Marti Barsoom; Melissa, Jennifer, and Derek VanDeWege; and Kimberly, Kelsey, and Evelyn VanDeWege; along with 1 great-grandchild Eloise.

Bud was a versatile and accomplished three-sport athlete in Football, Basketball, and Track; highlighted by earning MHSAA All-State honors and the 1946 Class A State Championship in Basketball at Holland High School; followed by success at Hope College, leading the MIAA Conference in basketball scoring as a freshman in 1948.

He followed his life-long love of sports to Ann Arbor in 1964, when he came to work as the manager of the (George J.) Moe Sport Shops on North University and South State streets. He and Hanky realized their dream in 1971 when they bought the business and started a 39-year run establishing Moe's and Bud as two of Ann Arbor's most beloved local business icons, touching the lives of generations of University of Michigan students and fans. "Big Bud" had a loyal passion for all Michigan Athletics, following every sport he could.

He befriended countless athletes, coaches, and administrators through the years. With a special love for Wolverine Basketball, Football, Tennis, and Baseball, he and Hanky created a lifetime of friendships and memories tailgating, cheering, and supporting the Maize and Blue. His devotion to Michigan Athletics was officially recognized in 2010 when he was presented with an honorary varsity letter, joining the legions of Michigan "M" Men and Women with lifetime membership in the Letterwinners Club.

He was further recognized by his peers with the "Yellow Jacket" award from the Bob Ufer Quarterback Club for his service and devotion to the legendary athletic scholarship fundraising club. Among Bud's greatest pleasures in life came from golfing with Hanky, going to Las Vegas and local casinos with his friends and son Bud, daily breakfast at Frank's, lunch at Thano's, the Friday Club(s), poker with the guys, and sharing his backyard pool with family and friends. His legacy will be a life-long goal of making people happy with a generous and joyful heart; living-out his life's philosophy of making "today the most important day of your life."

Survivors include his wife, Helene VanDeWege; his three children, Shelley (Daryl) Barsoom, Len (Arlene) VanDeWege and Bud (Kathy)
VanDeWege Jr.; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. 

Marlene Hartgerink ’58 Veldheer of Holland, Mich., died on Thrusday, June 7, 2012.  She was 75. 

Marlene was a member of the North Holland Reformed Church ans was a teacher in Grandville Public Schools for many years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers and sisters-in-law, Donald (Francis) Veldheer, Esther Veldheer, Russell Veldheer, Randy Marlink, Wayne Veldheer and Roger Bartels.

Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Elmer Veldheer ’61; daughter, Kristine Veldheer ’84 and Jennifer Carlson; a  grandson;  brothers and sisters-in-law, Vernin Veldheer, Larry (Wilma) Veldheer, Lillian Veldheer, Ruth Marlink, Esther Veldheer, Glenn ( Marcia) Veldheer, June Veldheer ’62 (Jack ’61) Millard, and Kay (George) VanderKooi; and many nieces and nephews.

Julia Voss ’43 Wall of Rushville, Ill., died on Sunday, April 8, 2012.  She was 91. 

Betty Venhuizen ’49 Weber of Holland, Mich., died on Thursday, June 14, 2012. She was 87.

Betty was a lifelong resident of the Holland area. She was a member of Calvin Christian Reformed Church, the Senior Citizens Bible Study Group at Calvin Church and a member o the Scrabble Club at Evergreen Commons.

She retried as an elementary school teacher in 1983 after 24 years. Folowing retirement, she spent many years teaching Kids Hope and kid’s Bible clubs.

She was preceded in death by her husband Lawrence Weber ’51.   

Survivors include her children, Mary (Chuck) Duell, Ruth Bitterman, George (Diane) Weber; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and sister, Adrianna (Leon) Scholten; two nieces; and two cousins.