Rev. Stanley Vander Klay, 77, was a believer without guile, uncomplicated but profound, with a heart zealous for people’s salvation. He passed away following an attack of ventricular fibrillation on March 4.
Vander Klay was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc. He grew up in Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa, where his father had a succession of pastorates.
Vander Klay graduated from Pella (Iowa) Christian High School, Calvin College, and Calvin Theological Seminary before being ordained as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church. He also attended New York Theological Seminary, where he obtained a Master’s in Counseling degree, and, in1984, a Doctorate in Ministry degree.
Vander Klay started a ministry at Northside Community Chapel in Paterson, N.J. and remained there for 36 years. After serving in Baldwinsville, N.Y. for four years, he retired in 2000.
Those who knew Vander Klay—and they were many—emphasize that he was a caring, warm, inspiring, studious, generous, diligent, and humble servant of the Lord.
He excelled in so many things: as an able church planter, expert on inner city ministry, supporter of many Christian institutions, advocate of Christian education, leader of denominational ministries, mentor of younger pastors, and promoter of racial justice. But his loving heart lingered most among the poor and the marginalized.
He loved traveling, photography, nature, and cars. He loved life. He was the author of Chains of Grace (2011), snapshots of how one community dealt with the Civil Rights movement. He and his wife, Barbara, were recipients of the Calvin College Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987.
Vander Klay is survived by his wife and their children Ruth and Tom Huizenga, Paul and Beth Vander Klay, Lori and R. Paul Johnson, and ten grandchildren.