Arlan died quietly early Monday morning, May 27, 2013, after dealing with Renal cancer for 5 years. He was always active, even planting his garden, one week previous to his death.
Arlan lived a very full and productive life. He entered the military at age 17 by joining the Navy for 3 years during the Korean War. He tried civilian life with many different jobs for another 3 years but decided to rejoin military life, this time in the Air Force. He became a communications technician from 1957 to his retirement in 1975 as Master Seargeant. He was stationed at several radar sites in Canada, North Dakota and Illinois. Then he was assigned to the Philippines for 3 years and to Torrejón Air Base in Spain for 4 years to initiate the first computerized communications system in the Air Force. Arlan volunteered for a year in Viet Nam during the TET offensive. His last assignment was as a training advisor for the Air Guard in Reno, NV. During his stay in Alberta, Canada he met Beverly Scott. In l962 they were married in the Third Reformed Church, Pella, and had two children, Marty and Sandra.
Arlan moved back to Pella, to be near his parents in 1977 and married Sonja Valdes in 1979. He went to work for Pella Corporation as a scheduler analyst and retired after 18 years. His life of mission and ministry began with giving children’s sermons in New Providence Baptist Church in Confidence where Sonja served as pastor. He became active in Area 3 (SE Iowa) Mid-American Baptist activities, especially the campaign to build the motel at Forest Lake Camp near Ottumwa.
Arlan then became active in Mid-American Baptist Men, especially Disaster Relief and mission trips to Nicaragua. He took training in Ottumwa and Green Bay to get his CDL license so he could drive the AB Men’s Disaster Relief trailer. He also drove trucks for Geetings for a while. He was the editor of the Spokesman, the M-AB Men’s newsletter, and treasurer for many years. He served as a Trustee, a Deacon and on the Mission Board at the First Baptist Church, Pella. Other ministries included Cursillo, Brothers in Blue prison ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, VBS skits, Pella Day Care Board, Work of Our Hands, the Forest Lake Camp Ministry Team and Wisdom Seekers. He was a member of Air Force Sergeants Ass’n since 1977, the DAV, and the American Legion.
Arlan loved to travel. He traveled throughout Europe when he was stationed in Spain. Arlan and Sonja were able to visit the Holy Land as a retirement present in 1995. Later they spent a month in Spain so he could show her all his favorite places. Other countries they have visited included extensive travels in Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Thailand, Japan, Norway, Finland, Denmark and St. Petersburg, Russia.
But more than anything, Arlan loved his family, especially the grandchildren. He never made any distinctions between his many blended relationships. He was delighted when all 5 adult children and several grandchildren helped him celebrate an early Father’s Day and birthday this first weekend in May. They include Marty and Denise Van Dusseldorp, Susanville, CA, Sandra Van Scott, Reno, NV, step children Tanya Valdes, Taos, NM, Tina and Raymond Spencer, Adelaide, Australia, Rick and Satoko Valdes, Bellevue, WA. Grandchildren include Ryan, Rachelle, Rose and Reanna and Cory DeVries, Richard and Jarrod Foremaster, Alexander Eugen Valdes, Sonya, Asha, David and Ethan Spencer and Emily, Rebecca, Matthew and Elizabeth Smirl. Besides his wife, Sonja, he is survived by a sister, June Buckrop, Rock Island, IL, a brother Elmer and Geraldine Van Dusseldorp, sister-in-law, Marge Van Dusseldorp, all of Pella, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, William & Rachel Van Dusseldorp, brothers Carl and Tressa (Slagter), Gerald and Elizabeth (Menninga), and Wilbur Van Dusseldorp, also a sister, Bernice and Henry Bennick.
A memorial service was held Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the First Baptist Church in Pella
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials for Forest Lake Camp, near Ottumwa.