Vanderkam, known as Hank to those who loved him, passed away on December 18, 2013 at Memorial Hermann Hospital, The Woodlands, with his wife and pastors by his side.
Hank was born June 24, 1944, in Grand Rapids Michigan, the first of five children to Henry and Elaine Vanderkam. He spent his summers working hard to earn money for his private education, which paid off when he graduated from Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, Michigan in 1962. Hank received his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Calvin College in 1966 and his Juris Doctorate from University of Iowa School of Law in 1969. Hank decided to take the certified public accountant (CPA) examination while he studied for the Bar examination, ultimately passing both with high marks. Upon graduation, Hank joined Touche & Ross in Buffalo, New York, where he practiced as a CPA/Attorney and became a partner and leader in the firm's tax practice.
In 1978, after moving from Buffalo to Houston, Texas, he worked as a CPA for Deloitte. He loved Texas and soon considered himself a true Houstonian.
Hank founded Vanderkam & McCary in 1985, which later became Vanderkam & Sanders, where he practiced tax, corporate and securities law until 2003. From 2003 until 2012, Hank practiced law through an independent practice (Vanderkam & Associates) while managing his sole proprietorship ventures. Blessed with a keen intellect and broad wealth of knowledge, Hank was a frequently published author, speaker, and expert witness in tax and financial matters. He generously shared his knowledge with law students, periodically serving as an Adjunct Professor of tax law at Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Hank grew up knowing and loving the Lord and as a young child he attended Christian private schools. As a youth, he was a member of the Christian Reform Church, where his father was the minister. Until his illness in 2012, Hank was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Houston. He enjoyed researching various hymns and sharing them with his fellowship class.
Hank loved children and always encouraged them to not only continue their education but shared his deep appreciation for learning and discourse with them. He was a board member at Yellowstone Academy, a private parochial school devoted to educating young boys and girls in vulnerable Houston communities. In 2012, Hank received a humanitarian award given from Wesley A.M.E. Church for his community services. He also worked with various church charities.
Hank was an avid reader and animal lover. He spent his free time with family, walking his dogs, golfing, traveling the world, and working on challenging crossword puzzles. He devoted himself to visiting his aging mother, whom he treasured and adored.
In 1994, Hank met the love of his life, his wife Sheila. Theirs was a long and committed courtship, as she originally lived in Los Angeles, California, and he in Houston. They finally bridged the divide and married on August 26, 2000.
Hank is survived by his loving family: wife Sheila, stepdaughters Victoria and Demetria, grandsons Tanner and Tate, mother Elaine, brothers James (Mary), David (Gwen), sisters Terri (Ken) Judy (Ray), nine nieces and nephews, and a host of grandnieces and grandnephews.
Hank was preceded in death by his father, Henry Vanderkam.
A memorial service will be held Saturday January 11, 2014 at,10:00am First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77004.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Dec. 29, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014