Prior to serving as a pastor and chaplain for 65 years, Samuel Vander Jagt served his country with distinction during WW II. In the European theater, he flew 66 missions on a B-26 Marauder Bomber with the 596th Bomber Squadron and was awarded four Battle stars and an Air Medal with two silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters. Following his death on April 29 at the age of 99, Vander Jagt was honored with a military burial.
Vander Jagt graduated from Calvin College and Seminary and was ordained in 1952. He served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Covenant Hope CRC in Battle Creek, Mich.; First CRC of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich; church plant Living Stones CRC in Sacramento, Calif.; and Kimberly Village CRC in Davenport, Iowa. Vander Jagt also served as Protestant chaplain at Davenport’s Mercy Hospital for over 13 years.
Vander Jagt served as an interim pastor for Bethel CRC in Fulton, Ill., and for three Presbyterian churches in Illinois. At the age of 88, he was hired as chaplain for Select Hospital in Davenport, where he ended his formal career at the age of 92. He continued informal pastoral visitations.
Loyalty to his country was evident throughout Vander Jagt’s life. He was a member of the Davenport American Legion and served many years as its chaplain. He worked with youth in the Civil Air Patrol. He earned Citizen of the Year Award from the Rock Island City Council for his service to their local rescue mission. He worked tirelessly to protect the rights of the unborn through the local Right to Life group and helped establish what is now the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. He served on its board for 25 years.
Vander Jagt will be lovingly remembered by his children Sandra and Marve, Jane “Laurie” and Steve, Janna and Bruce, and Samuel Vander Jagt, Jr.; and by 16 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. He was predeceased by Jane, his wife of 73 years; by their son, Ronald; and one granddaughter.