Gerald Vander Velde ’55

Rev. Gerald Anthony Vander Velde, age 92, passed away at home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 10, 2023. Jerry was born on December 25, 2030, to the late Harry and Mattie (Elhart) Vander Velde in Grand Rapids. Jerry married Ardythe Andree in 1953. Jerry attended Calvin College and later Hope College, where he obtained a BA in sociology. He went on to study at Western Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained to the ministry of the Reformed Church of America in 1958. During his career he served as head, interim, and calling pastor for congregations in New Jersey, Michigan, and Iowa, and held administrative roles in the RCA. In partnership with his wife, Jerry was a faithful servant of the church. He retired for the third time in 2018 from a ministry spanning 60 years. He was an accomplished preacher, a minister deeply engaged in pastoral care, and a generous mentor to many students. Jerry loved spending time with his family and friends at the cottage he built at Upper Silver Lake with the help of dear congregants, hosting picnics and skippering boat rides. He enjoyed traveling around Michigan with his wife to visit its lighthouses and beautiful parks, at the same time planting and nurturing trees and flowers in his own backyard. He cherished friendships with many from his youth in Grand Rapids and loved his city, knowing well its neighborhoods, churches, parks, and history. Jerry is survived by son, David ’78 Vander Velde, and wife, Jane ’79; daughter Karen Richardson and husband, Tom; son-in-law Geno Russo; daughter Susan ’92 Steele and husband, Addison; 15 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Arthur Vander Velde; his wife, Ardythe; and his daughter Beth Russo.

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