1929 - 2008
Rev. Leonard Van Staalduinen Jr., for whom the gospel was an open book, who loved children, who knew the art of listening, who cherished the company of God’s people, and who served God in three countries, passed away Sept. 10, 2008, from pneumonia.
Van Staalduinen was born in in the Netherlands in the town of Gravenzande. His family immigrated to Ontario, Canada, when he was 10. While he was still in grade school the family moved to Terra Ceia, N.C., which Van Staalduinen later considered his hometown.
He graduated from Eastern Academy in 1949 and enrolled at Calvin College, from which he graduated in 1954. He completed his studies for the gospel ministry at Calvin Theological Seminary in 1957. Van Staalduinen married Barbara De Bell in 1955.
The first congregation the young couple served was Edson (Alberta) Christian Reformed Church. Five more churches on this continent were to follow: Regina CRC, Saskatchewan, 1960; Leighton (Iowa) CRC, 1963; Lodi (N.J.) CRC, 1968; Lucknow (Ont.) CRC, 1975.
In the early part of 1980, the Van Staalduinens accepted a call to the Netherlands. The Gereformeerde Kerk of the town of Daarle, in the Province of Overijsel, called Van Staalduinen to be their pastor. Here the couple served with much joy for the next 11 years.
The congregation there deeply appreciated Len and Barbara, especially for their hospitality and readiness to mingle with the members. The parishioners said they were edified by Van Staalduinen’s unpretentious gospel messages. Van Staalduinen felt a deep concern for the salvation of people entrusted to his care.
Following his retirement in 1991, Van Staalduinen worked for some years in his son Robert’s funeral home in Lombard, Ill. For the last three decades of his life he was in constant pain.
Van Staalduinen is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their children: Joel and Rose Van Staalduinen, Robert and Elaine Van Staalduinen, Judith Van Staalduinen, and Carol and Jon K. Shell Sr., and by 14 grandchildren.
—Louis M. Tamminga