Eugene H. Vander "Gene" Heiden
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Eugene H. "Gene" Vander Heiden

Freedom - Eugene "Gene" H. Vander Heiden passed away peacefully at age 82, on March 31, 2021 at Brewster Village in Appleton, WI where he has been a resident for the past 13 months. He moved there in February 2020 to be close to his wife Joan, who sadly passed away one week later. One week after Joan's passing, covid closings/restrictions began and Brewster Village staff took care of Gene like a member of their family and for this we are forever thankful.

Gene was born at home in Denmark, WI on February 14th, 1939. He was the oldest son of Clayton and Rosella (Micke) Vander Heiden. Gene attended St. Nicholas Elementary school in Freedom, WI and later graduated from Freedom High School and Fox Valley Technical College. Gene joined the Wisconsin National Guard at age 18. He served his country with six years of guard duty and 18 months of active duty where he was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA as a medic. Upon returning home, Gene went to work for Kimberly Clark, Neenah. On October 9th, 1962 he was united in marriage to his sweetheart, Joan Mary (Kortz) Vander Heiden at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Freedom, WI and together they had fifty-seven years of love. A year later they purchased a dairy farm in the Township of Oneida and farmed there until 1991. During their farming years Gene received many awards for quality milk and conservation. Gene was a highly active farmer and served for many years on the Center Valley Coop Board, Manitowoc Milk Producers, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and the Wisconsin Financial Institutions Board. In 1991 Gene and Joan semi-retired and moved to Freedom, WI where they built a duplex, Gene took a job with Capital Credit Union and they lived there for 10 years before purchasing land in the Township of Kaukauna and building their retirement home/shop.

Gene and Joan enjoyed traveling the world, having visited many different countries and most states. They also enjoyed gardening, camping, winters in Florida, listening/dancing to polka music, Sunday afternoon car rides and most of all their family.

Gene is survived by his four sons and their families: David (Sheila), their children, Justin, Ryan, Brandon, and Sean of Chilton, WI; Daniel (Dawn), their children, Danielle, Derek, Devin and Dayna of Appleton, WI; Duane (Laurie), their children, Jennifer, Michael, Kevin and Brian of Kaukauna, WI; Dean (Linda), their children Summer, Christian and Gabriel of Appleton, WI; four great-grandchildren, Wynter, Raynee, Rydge and Irys Johnson. His sisters and brothers: Beatrice (Mel) Baeten of Appleton, WI; Merlin (deceased) (Delores) Vander Heiden of Depere, WI; Jerome (Kitty) Vander Heiden of Green Bay, WI; Carol (Greg) Verstegen of Appleton, WI; Lois (Gary) Mignon of Crandon, WI, Joan's Family: Mary (Joe) Lom of Appleton, WI; Helen (Chris) Hendricks, Appleton, WI; Roy (Sue) Kortz of Waupaca, WI; Jim (Linda) Kortz of Kaukauna, WI; Lee (Carol) Kortz of Cincinnati, OH; Mark (Jan) Kortz of Kaukauna, WI; Carol (John) (deceased)Pilgrim of Oconomowoc, WI. Godchildren: Ann Laatsch and Dale Baeten.

Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Joan, parents, Clayton and Rosella Vander Heiden and his parents in law, Kirby and Catherine Kortz, a brother, Merlin Vander Heiden and two brothers in law, William Kortz and John Pilgrim.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 8, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Verkuilen-Van Deurzen Family Funeral Home FREEDOM LOCATION, N3972 Columbia Ave. Visitation will continue on Friday morning at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, W2037 County Road S, Freedom, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. For online condolences, please visit

Gene's family would like to THANK all the staff at Brewster Village and Theda Care Hospice for all the wonderful care and support you gave dad, mom and the family over the years! THANK YOU!

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Apr. 1 to Apr. 2, 2021.
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April 2, 2021
We would like to express our deepest Sympathy in the loss your dad. Our prayers are with the whole Vander Heiden family.
Dave & Sandie Nackers
April 1, 2021
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April 1, 2021
On behalf of JCI, I offer my sympathies for your loss.
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