Ethel Peelen ’57 Van Istendal

Ethel Peelen ’57 Van Istendal 81, of Louisville, KY went home to be with her Lord on November 29, 2016. She was so happy to be with her family in Holland, Mi. for the last month of her life. Her perseverance, strong hope in Jesus, amazing attitude of gratitude enabled her to endure nine cancers.

Ethel was born July 4, 1935 to Dr. Matt ’27 and Ethel Heneveld ’29 Peelen in Boston, Mass. She grew up in Kalamazoo and Holland, Mi. Graduated from Hope College in 1957 BA Ed and Univ. of Louisville MA Ed 1985.

She taught in numerous places: East Grand Rapids, Mi., Manilla, Philippines, and Louisville, Ky. After retiring from teaching ESL in Louisville, KY in 1999 she was able to spend time with family, friends, be involved at her church (Southeast Christian Church) and many Bible Studies. She also traveled much to visit family and friends all over the US.

Ethel had such a love for God that she wanted to soak up as much of His word and spread it to others. She never met a stranger and people fell in love with her from the first time they met. She had a tender heart and a praying spirit. Her understanding of how God loved her led her to serve others her entire life. She would invite her children’s teachers to the house for an annual meal, have her ESL students and families over for Thanksgiving Dinner, take-in a fellow struggling teacher, and made sure students received proper instruction. A favorite verse that Ethel truly lived out is 2 Cor. 1:4, “He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others.”

Ethel was preceded by her daughter, Cindy (Jack) Little; and sister, Carol Peelen.

Survived by Theresa Van Istendal ’87 (Merlin ’83) Buhl of Holland, MI.; Matt Van Istendal ’88 of Indianapolis, IN; Laura (Scott) Case of Alpharetta, Ga.; 11 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brothers, Matt (Sandy) Peelen ’58 and George (Virginia) Peelen ’60; and sisters, Beth (Wayne) Ray and Mary Peelen ’63 (Bob ’64) Tigelaar.

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