Harry VanderWindt, a teacher, pastor, and prolific fine-detail woodworker, was an active person who greatly enjoyed the ministry and the opportunities it gave him to serve others. Sixteen years after his official retirement, VanderWindt was still making weekly pastoral visits and preaching regularly. He offered his last sermon the Sunday before he died unexpectedly on October 30 while working in the woods, one of his favorite places to be. He was 79.
Born on a small family farm in the Netherlands, VanderWindt immigrated to Canada in 1954. VanderWindt recognized his love for teaching by teaching Sunday school in Brampton, Ont. After completing a teaching degree, he served as principal for two Christian schools in Ontario, followed by a stint as director of Lakewood Christian Conference Grounds in Forest, Ont.
It was at this time that VanderWindt felt a call to the ministry. He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1978 and served the following Ontario congregations: Lindsay CRC; Bethel CRC in Dunnville; First CRC in Owen Sound; and Fruitland CRC in Stoney Creek. Following retirement in 1999, he served numerous congregations as an interim pastor.
In his preaching, VanderWindt blended a strong biblical emphasis with real-life scenarios. He was known for including special details in the service such as objects to teach and singing as part of the message. He was particularly gifted in his home visits and providing encouragement. As a woodworker, he donated many items to school, church, or other charity bazaars, and he enjoyed spending time with grandchildren in his workshop.
VanderWindt was predeceased by two children, Deborah Caroline and Robert Peter, who died in the 1960s shortly after birth. He will be dearly missed by Henny, his wife of 56 years, and his children Ed and Karen, John and Renée, and Mike and Judy, and by 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.