On Sunday, October 12, Dr. Everett Van De Voort and his family donated photographs taken during his service in WWII to the current Commander of his former squadron, the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron of the United States Air Force. Lt. Colonel Jeremy Zadel will be receiving the photographs. Van De Voort is a long time resident of Plainfield and former superintendent of the Plainfield School District 202. Van De Voort’s medals from the war, pictures from his time spent overseas while enlisted and various other memorabilia were present for the ceremony, which took place at the First United Methodist Church of Plainfield at noon.
Van De Voort, or “Van” as many call him, is 93 years old and currently resides at Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Plainfield. Born in Pella, Iowa, he had dreams of becoming a high school superintendent. Van De Voort began studying economics in 1939, with rumblings of WWII beginning in Europe, he began taking administration classes. Just two months shy of graduation, he was officially drafted.
After a short stint at an Air Force base in Clearwater Beach, Fla., Van De Voort was shipped to administration school in Denver. Eight weeks later, Van De Voort was posted to a supply position. He was responsible for cataloging and sending equipment to soldiers in Europe and Japan. His unique position also required he work in photo reconnaissance. While in Germany, Van De Voort observed much of the allied movement through the lens of his camera; concentration camps, invasions, and military life interactions. His photographs taken during this time are the ones donated during the ceremony last Sunday. Upon discharge from the Air Force on Dec. 7, 1945, he returned home to substitute teach at his high school in Pella and to finish his bachelor’s degree.
Van De Voort married Vera Cannaday in 1947 and pursued his master’s degree at Drake University. After graduating in 1951, he soon became the superintendent of a district in central Iowa. While working on his doctorate at Illinois State University, Van De Voort served as the Superintendent in Dwight from 1963-1967. After moving to Plainfield, IL in 1970, Van De Voort took a position as Dean of Arts and Sciences at JJC from 1970 to 1977. From 1977-1987 he was Director of Community College Relations at NIU, during which time he also served on the Plainfield School Board.
Dr. Everett Van De Voort has six children, Jerry Van De Voort (wife Shelley), Dr. Debi Mink (husband Chuck), David Van De Voort (wife Pat), Andy Van De Voort (wife Debbie), Nancy Cryder (husband Sam), and Greg Van De Voort – retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Gunnery Sergeant, with wife Binnie, retired from the Marine Corps as a Lt. Colonel. He also enjoys time with his 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.