Donald Barkel ’56

Donald J. Barkel, age 86, of Holland, died Friday, May 29, 2020, at Vista Springs Holland Meadows.

Don was a graduate of Holland High and attended Hope College. He graduated from Michigan Technical University with a BSME, MSME and Western Michigan University with an MBA. He was a lifelong member of First Reformed Church in Holland serving as a Sunday School teacher, Deacon, Elder and Consistory Vice President. Don was a Mechanical Engineer employed by Lear, Inc., Lear Siegler, Inc., Smiths Industries, and was involved in Aero Space for 46+ years. He retired as Director of Military Flight Management Systems.

He enjoyed the Salmon Fishing Derby on Lake Michigan which was held several times a year. Often, he caught the largest salmon. Don was also a league golfer with Smith Industries for many years and often won the league championship. Don and his wife Lavina traveled all over the world for business and vacation several times each year, seeing many places in our world.

Don’s twin grandchildren, Olivia and Nicholas were the love of his life and he would say they truly were a gift from God! They always called him Poppie.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Ray and Effie Barkel; brother, Lavern Barkel; son- in-law, Larry Rynbrandt; brothers-in-law, Glen Brower, Henry Bleeker and Lawrence Bleeker.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lavina Barkel, and children, Karen Rynbrandt of Zeeland and Bonnie and Rick Haydon of Zeeland; twin grandchildren, Olivia and Dillon Dangler and Nicholas and Rachel Harmsen; and Randall Harmsen, father of the twin grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Marge Barkel, Nellie Brower, Barbara Bleeker and Gayle Bleeker.

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