Pella Chronicle


April 25, 2014

Henry Vande Voort

Pella — Henry John Vande Voort was the first of two sons that were born to William H. and Grace Schimmel Vande Voort. He was born on April 12, 1925, near Leighton, Iowa. Henry attended the Black Oak # 6 Country Grade School, after which he helped his father on the farm.  When he started school he did not know English, as his parents spoke Dutch at home.

On November 27, 1944, he and Gertrude Bandstra, a daughter of Peter and Anna Stursma Bandstra, were united in marriage in the parsonage of the Second Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa. Hank and Gert, as they were known, were blessed with four children: Linda Ann, Janice Ilene, Debra Sue and Douglas Jay. 

From January, 1945 until April, 1946, Hank served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater as a fireman first class on the heavy cruiser USS Chester. At the conclusion of World War II, Henry and his brother-in-law Gilbert Bandstra took classes through a GI program two nights a week in Knoxville, Iowa in exchange for $100/month. They and their then small daughter, Linda, lived on that GI stipend along with a very modest income from a few cows and chickens on their rented farm.

In 1950, Hank and Richard Steenhoek grew 50 acres of tomatoes, hiring five boys from Pella to hoe them. That particular year they experienced God’s special blessing because it was the best crop the canning factory  ever had. The income from those tomatoes, along with being very frugal, put them on their feet and laid the groundwork for a long and rewarding career in farming.

In 1952, they moved to a rented farm near Peoria, which they bought on auction in 1954.  Hank continued farming in that location with his son and sons-in-law until he semi-retired in 1989.

He and Gertrude then moved to 701 E. Independence Street in Pella, Iowa, and their son, Doug, and his family moved onto the family farm. In November, 2013, they moved into Vriendschap Village. Until recently, Hank continued to drive out to the farm in his clean and shiny pickup almost every weekday to help “the boys.” Although his formal education ended after the eighth grade,  Henry was well-read and enjoyed keeping up with current events, both local and worldwide, through newspapers, magazines, and more recently his computer.

He was baptized as an infant at the Leighton Christian Reformed Church and made profession of his faith at the Second Christian Reformed Church in Pella in 1944. He was a faithful member of the Peoria Christian Reformed Church in Peoria, Iowa since 1952.

The church and local Christian schools were very important to Henry and he served them in various leadership roles through the years. He also served on the boards of Dordt College and the Hospice of Pella Comfort House and volunteered at the windmill information booth for the Pella Historical Society.

On Monday morning, April 14, 2014, he passed away at the Pella Regional Health Center in Pella, two days following his 89th birthday.

He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 69 years, Gertrude; his four children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. They and their families are:  Linda and Larry Vander Molen of Pella, IA; Janice and John Vander Linden of Kenmore, WA; Debra and Robert Bruxvoort of New Sharon, IA; Douglas and Barbara (Vos) Vande Voort of New Sharon, IA.  Of his original family, Henry leaves his sister-in-law, Leona (Gary) Vande Voort of Leighton. He was preceded in death by his parents, William H. and Grace Vande Voort; his brother, Gary Vande Voort; his parents-in-law, Peter and Anna Bandstra; and the following brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Paul P. and Bertha Bandstra, William and Dirkie Bandstra, Raymond and Grace Bandstra, Tena and John Westerkamp, Gilbert and Joyce Bandstra. Henry will be remembered as a patient, kind, and wise man who loved the Lord, his family, and the land.

Funeral services were held Friday, April 18, 2014, at the Peoria Christian Reformed Church in Peoria. Burial was held at the Peoria Cemetery

Memorial gifts in his memory can be designated for the Peoria Christian School or the Pella Christian High School in Pella.

Van Dyk- Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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