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Diana Van Kolken

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Diana Van Kolken Obituary
Diana Van Kolken, 70

In her 70th year, Diana Louise (Noe) Van Kolken was called home Friday, October 25, 2013, after a three-year battle against cancer.

She had owned and operated The Shaker Messenger store on River Avenue in Downtown Holland since 1989. During those years she served on several boards and commissions that dealt with the operation and promotion of the downtown area. She was instrumental in returning the annual Memorial Day Parade to the downtown area.

Throughout her years in the store she encouraged artists and artisans, many whose works she featured in the store. In recent years, the product line changed from Shaker to Michigan-made craft items and food and became the store's specialty. She was an advocate for Michigan producers, especially those from the Holland area.

Her passion for Shaker began in the late 1960's when she and her husband, Paul Van Kolken, lived in Albany, N.Y. where the American Shaker movement began and carried that interest to Michigan when the family returned to Holland in 1970.

They began a quarterly magazine called "The Shaker Messenger" that was published for 17 years and was devoted to the Shaker history and legacy, its villages and restorations and persons involved in research and preserving the Shaker craftsmanship.

She sold Shaker-style crafts at Janthrop's on Ottawa Beach Road and at folk art shows in several states from New York, to Illinois, Ohio and Georgia before opening the store in Holland where she again featured Shaker-style furniture and small crafts.

Her other passion was the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and she gave many programs in schools and to youth groups in the Holland area.

The early years at the Eastmanville one-room school fostered her love of history with teacher Mrs. Henning. She graduated from Coopersville High School and moved to Holland in 1961 with her family when her father, the late John Noe, accepted a position with the Holland Public Schools. She married in 1963, and moved with her husband, Paul, to Detroit in 1965, then to Grand Rapids and finally Albany.

She co-chaired a committee that planned Holland's observance of the nation's Bi-Centennial, served on the board of the Ottawa County March of Dimes and helped organize an early glass-recycling program in Holland.

She was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Holland where she served as an elder and a deacon. She was active in community theaters in Holland and Detroit and in her early years at summer theaters in the White Cloud area.

She is survived by friend, Phillip R. Sturdevant; former husband, Paul Van Kolken, both of Holland; daughters, Amy Banister (Martin) of Houston and Emily Wilson (Scott); and granddaughter, Allison Bridges, all of Interlochen; sisters, Deborah Schakel (Louis) of Holland, and Joanna Ludwig (Michael) of Grand Rapids.

Her parents John and Mary Noe of Holland predeceased her.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, October 29, at First Presbyterian Church, 659 State Street in Holland.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Holland Historical Trust, Windmill Restoration, Holland Area Arts Council or the First Presbyterian Church. The family thanks Hospice of Holland and its home care services.

Arrangements are by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Downtown Chapel. For an online registry, visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com.
Published in The Holland Sentinel on Oct. 27, 2013
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