Betty VandeWege ’49 VanDenBerg
Betty (VanDeWege) VanDenBerg, daughter of John and Amanda VanDeWege, grew up in Holland, Michigan. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Hope College (1949) where she was a proud member of the Delphi sorority. She then worked on her master’s degree at Michigan State. In her high school and college years, during World War II, she was a member of the exhibition Dutch Dance Group and represented the City of Holland in New York City at Rockefeller Center. They even met the Queen of the Netherlands! Betty was very proud of her teaching at Hudsonville Public Schools. Most of her years were spent at Forest Grove Elementary where she loved teaching lower elementary students. Early in her career, she coached High School Girls Volleyball and Basketball. Betty continued Dutch Dancing with the Evergreen Commons Senior Citizen Dutch Dancers. She was also the Queen Mother of the Red Tulip Red Hat Group. She loved spending time with her friends and family and sharing stories about her life when she worked at the Model Laundry and at Model Drug as a soda jerk. Back then, Saturday afternoons were spent at the movie theater or at the beach watching the big bands perform.
In 1950 she met the love of her life, Carl Jay VanDenBerg. They married June 20, 1952, and took their 1949 Plymouth convertible to Yellowstone National Park. Betty loved her convertible and she loved adventures. She retired after 34 years of teaching and held many offices, including President, of the Ottawa Country Chapter of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel (MARSP).
Her adventures continued after retiring when she continued to travel with several friends and family to places like the Netherlands, Germany, France, England, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, and throughout the US. Betty purchased a home in 1994 in Fort Myers Beach where she wintered near her brother, Elmer VanDeWege. Betty loved to travel every year to the International Twins Association events held around the country with her family, including her husband, Carl, oldest son, Tom, and twin sons, John and Jerry. They traveled at the end of every summer each year to places like Colorado Springs, St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Branson, and New Orleans. Betty and Carl loved spending time traveling with their children, including yearly trips to Florida for Christmas. In her later years, Betty was so very proud of her grandchildren, Haydn and Harmon, and enjoyed attending their many events including school activities, sports, and graduations. Next year she was looking forward to seeing Harmon graduate from Holland Christian and Haydn from Drake Law School.
Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Carl VanDenBerg, brothers, John VanDeWege (infant) and Elmer VanDeWege, and sister-in-law, Carrie VanDeWege. She is survived by her three son’s Tom (Dalane), John and Jerry, Granddaughter, Haydn VanDenBerg, and Grandson, Harmon VanDenBerg. Betty had a very special relationship with Elmer and Carrie’s children, Karen (Ray) Knoll, Jim (Linda) VanDeWege, Vicky Lynch, Lu Ann Money, Kari Sue (Ron) Craton, Gary (Melissa) Maxey, and her many great-nieces and nephews.
Even though the last few months have been a difficult road, Betty’s faith and her family continued to be the most important part of her life. We were so blessed to have Betty in our lives. Although she is no longer here, the imprint of her life will continue to influence each of us.