Robert Vander Aarde ’58

The Reverend Robert L. “Bob” Vander Aarde, child of God, loving husband and father, retired pastor of Christ’s Church on the Hill, RCA, passed away at Peace Hospice on January 26, 2022.

A funeral service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church Great Falls at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 12, 2022, with burial at Highland Cemetery and luncheon to follow.

Bob was born August 20, 1936, in Orange City, IA to Bernard and Christina (Luchtenburg) Vander Aarde. He married Marjorie Ieleen Hartog on June 18, 1960, a partnership that continued for over 61 years. Bob and Marj met as a result of a theatrical production at Northwestern College/Junior Academy in Orange City, IA in which he forgot to throw off a spotlight he had positioned on her on stage.

Having received an AA degree at Northwestern College where he initially studied mathematics and physics, he subsequently received degrees from Hope College (BA) and Western Theological Seminary (MDiv) in Holland, MI after feeling a call to Christian service. He was ordained to ministry in the Reformed Church in America in 1961. Bob also did postgraduate coursework in pastoral counseling at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN from 1968 to 1970.

Bob and Marj became missionaries to Kuwait, Arabia where he served as hospital chaplain and administrator at the American Mission Hospital and assistant pastor to the National Evangelical Church in Kuwait. After returning to the United States, Bob accepted a call to be pastor at Christ’s Church on the Hill in Great Falls in 1970, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.

During his time as pastor at Christ’s Church on the Hill, Bob requested that one-fourth of his time be devoted to service to the greater Great Falls community and with the consistory’s blessing he volunteered or served on the board of directors for many Great Falls organizations such as the Great Falls Mercy Home for Battered Women and Children, Great Falls Crisis and Information Center, the American Red Cross, the Mental Health Association, the Cascade County Sheriffs Chaplaincy program, Gateway Recovery Center, Alliance for Youth, the American Heart Association, the Great Falls Area Church Association, and the Great Falls Ministerial Association.

Bob is survived by his wife, Marjorie Hartog-Vander Aarde; daughter, Liesl Vander Aarde; daughter and son-in-law, Tamela and David Scholten; and grandchildren, Bridger and Aiyana Scholten. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Stanley Vander Aarde.

In this time of national blood shortage, the family suggests making donations to the American Red Cross or to any of the many organizations Bob supported. Funeral arrangements are being made by O’Connor Funeral Home.

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