Archive for obituary

In memory of Brian Vredevoogd

A tribute to a dear friend, mentor, and colleague

Brian Vredevoogd

November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

By Audrey Markel, WMC colleague and friend

Brian Vredevoogd November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Created in the image of God-yet each unique-placed together in a mosaic masterpiece that serves as a broken reflection of who God is. What a gift to serve our Savior King alongside Brian Vredevoogd as he walked boldly as an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. Muskegon Christian Schools experienced Christ reflected through Brian in the most beautiful ways for 36 years.

Brian was admired for his faith and commitment to love and serve Jesus. Brian lived with a zeal for doing what was honoring to God in all that he was a part of as he loved the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and strength. What a wonderful homecoming celebration it must have been as he entered into the presence of Jesus!

Students were asked to share what specific “fruit” they saw in Mr. V’s life that encouraged them to grieve with HOPE (1 Thessalonians 4:13) and a confidence that he was now in the presence of Jesus.

Fun-loving Mr. V enjoying some time with his students.

“I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.”

I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.

I had the opportunity to read the responses of about 80 middle school students. Their responses moved me and humbled me. But…2,880. The number of students that Brian had the opportunity to impact in class. Brian took part in exponential disciple-making.

Mr. V helping a student with his locker combo.

6,480. The number of days spent in the classroom shepherding students to Jesus. I never saw him waste even one of these. Brian took seriously where he was going to spend eternity…but not just him…where WE would be spending eternity. He lived each day in response to the saving grace of Christ and with “eternity in his heart”.

Brian reflected the order and intentional love of God by the way he would purposefully prioritize each piece of his life with godly wisdom. 

Brian served the Lord through mentoring, befriending and leading colleagues. Brian saw the people that many of us walk past without noticing. Brain took great pride in the work that the Lord called him to. It was not about making sure that he was “on top” as an educator. It was about communicating with clarity the absolute truth and the authority that is found in scripture so that students would know God. Brian spent numerous extra hours after school helping new teachers get acquainted with WMC and middle schoolers. Brian was intentional about seeking people out and offering help. He longed to help anyone in whatever way he could-he wanted them to know Jesus. Brian was a true friend. He was selfless.

Brian honored God by shepherding students. He made it a point to attend games and extra-curricular events for each of his students. Brian was dependable. He went all out for spirit days with absolutely no shame.

In all of these things, I must simply say that God used Brian to show me much more of himself. I miss hearing about his weekend with Sue and the kids and grandkids. I miss sitting in his classroom as he would show hundreds of pictures of his incredible adventure trips with his best friend Sue. He loved photography and he loved traveling. He loved adventuring. His love for each of these things, his love for life, and ultimately the author and giver of life have impacted me for eternity. I am forever grateful for our dear friend Brain Vredevoogd who relentlessly shared the love of Christ by doing all things in love.

“…But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

To read Brian’s obituary CLICK HERE.

Remembering Our WMC Warriors

“My body and mind may fail, but God is my strength and my portion forever.”  -Psalms 73:26

This section is dedicated to members of the Warrior Nation who have passed on to eternal glory. 

Mrs. Donna E. Stevens

Mrs. Donna E. Stevens, age 91, passed into the loving arms of Jesus on Saturday, September 28, 2019, in Muskegon. Donna was born September 2, 1928, to James and Katherine (Fischer) Siplon in Muskegon, and was a lifelong resident. Donna grew up at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Muskegon, and she and her husband, Rich, were longtime members of First Reformed Church. She was currently a member of Calvin Christian Reformed Church of Norton Shores. On November 22, 1950, Donna married Richard J. Stevens, and he preceded her in death on April 11, 2011. Survivors include 4 children: Terrance J. (Beth) Stevens, Joni L. (Dan) Wagenmaker, Mark J. (Cindy) Stevens, Kathy A. (Rick) Wilkie; 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren, and one on the way; her in-laws: Les and Marva Stevens. Donna was also preceded in death by a granddaughter, and by a special uncle, Herman Fischer. Donna loved the Lord and enjoyed Bible studies, singing in the choir, picnics at Lake Michigan, walking in the mall with Rich, spending time with her family, baking, and knitting.

Brian D. Vredevoogd, age 57, passed away unexpectedly Saturday evening, October 26, 2019. Born in Zeeland to Clarence and Johanna Vredevoogd, Brian devoted his life to impacting the lives of middle schoolers. For 36 years he taught Bible and History at Muskegon Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School. He was a founding member and elder of Celebration Community Church. Brian loved to travel, dote on his grandkids, read voraciously, and extend hikes to fit in one more waterfall. He was married to his best friend for 37 years. CLICK HERE to read a “Tribute to a Dear Friend, Mentor, and Colleague.

Mr. William Malda

Mr. William Malda, age 96, went to be with his Heavenly Father, Saturday morning, November 9, 2019, at The Poppen Residence. Bill was born December 19, 1922, in Rothbury, MI; and has resided in the Muskegon area since 1948. Bill was a U.S. Army – World War II veteran; and was a Purple Heart recipient for wounds received at St. Lo, France. He served from January 1, 1943, through December 8, 1945. Upon his discharge, Bill became a masonry contractor with his brother Ben, from 1947 – 1987. On October 20, 1948, he married the former Cornelia “Connie” Rop; and she preceded him in death on March 1, 2010. Bill was a former member of First Christian Reformed Church; and now of Grace Christian Reformed Church.

Ottolena Van Andel (DeHorn) died on September 21, 2019, at her home after a long confinement. Ottolena was born in Muskegon on January 26, 1919, to Arie and Marie (VanBrulgel) DeHorn, and married John VanAndel in 1946. She and John owned and ran the VanAndel Hardware on Terrace Street in Muskegon, until his death in 1967. She then worked as an inventory clerk at Hardware Distributors, Inc. until retiring in 1997. She was a life-long member of the Christian Reformed Church, attending East Muskegon CRC until it closed, then attending Allen Avenue CRC. Ottolena liked working with her hands, doing ceramics, needlecraft, china painting, and making quilt tops. But most of all, Ottolena enjoyed spending time with her family-watching the grandkids and great-grandkids after school, attending sporting and musical events, and cooking Sunday dinners.

Pearl Vanderlaan

Pearl Vanderlaan

Reformed Church, and was a dedicated supporter of Muskegon Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School/Middle School. With her quiet spirit, she served the Lord in many very special ways. Pearl was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. On May 4, 1950, she married Arnold J. Vanderlaan, and he preceded her in death on January 8, 2018. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by her entire family.

If you have information of any other WMC alumni, staff, supporters, or friend who has passed, please email scottliggett@wmchs.net .