John Vande Kerk (1921 - 2013)

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John Vande Kerk

John E. Vande Kerk will be buried in Valley View Cemetery of Rock Valley with military honors, on Saturday, January 19, 2013, followed by a memorial service at 11 AM at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley with Rev. Gideon Wamala officiating. Visitation, with family present, will be held Friday, January 18, 2013 at Porter Funeral Home in Rock Valley from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Memorials may be sent to Hope Haven, 1800 19th St., Rock Valley, Iowa, 51247 ( Condolences may be left for the family at

John E. Vande Kerk passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at the age of 91. Beloved husband of Frances Smith Vande Kerk and the late Josephine Vander Weide, John was a kind and modest man of many talents and achievements, devoting his life to his family, God, and friends. John's happy and gentle personality endeared him to all who enjoyed his acquaintance. Believing in the future of Rock Valley, John headed or worked on committees to build the swimming pool, golf course, and many other projects. He also worked to establish Hegg Memorial Health Center and Hope Haven. He was an active member of Rotary International, the American Legion, and the V.F.W. He was also the founder of the Valley Male Chorus, in which he sang for many years. A native of Rock Valley, Iowa, John was a proud member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving at its location in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and later in Guam. John retired as Area Manager of the former Iowa Public Service Co., now MidAmerican Energy. John and Frances, a native St. Louisan, returned to St. Louis, Missouri in 2008, where they took up residence at The Gatesworth, and where John became a congregant of Central Presbyterian Church. John, along with Frances, was a singer and lifelong lover of classical music and grand opera, and also enjoyed many years of travel.

Left to cherish his memory are his children Mary (Bruce) Rowe of Lincoln, Nebraska, Ila (Ron) Klemm of St. Louis, Missouri, Jane (Robert) Reichart of Ontario, California, and Jim (Linda) Vande Kerk of Rock Valley; and his step-children Cindy (Dr. James) Piephoff of Chesterfield, Missouri, Christine (Doug) Becker of Coppell, Texas, F. James Smith of St. Louis, Missouri, and Thomas (Anne) Smith of Columbia, Missouri. John was a fun-loving grandfather and step-grandfather of sixteen, and great-grandfather and step-great-grandfather of six. John was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Goldie Vande Kerk, as well as seven siblings, and is survived by a dear brother and sister, in addition to his many nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

Published in The Argus Leader on Jan. 16, 2013
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