Kenneth Vander Heide was born in McBain, Mich., in 1931, and died on July 30 in the house where he was born. He was 86. He served in parish ministry in several Christian Reformed churches, spent almost a decade in hospital chaplaincy, and filled his retirement years with travel and volunteer work with World Renew’s Disaster Response Services.
After graduation from Calvin College and Seminary and ordination in 1969, Vander Heide served the following congregations: Lakeview (S.D.) CRC; Holland Center CRC, Lodgepole, S.D.; and Terra Ceia CRC, Pantego, N.C. He served in rural churches where his love of nature, hunting, and fishing helped him to make connections. Following a two-year leave to train for hospital chaplaincy, he ministered at West Mesa Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., from 1984-1993, after which he retired.
Following retirement, Vander Heide and his wife enjoyed serving for three years as campground hosts with Alaska State Parks and three years in Northern Michigan. They also volunteered with World Renew Disaster Response Services throughout the southern and central U.S., where Vander Heide was able to use his carpentry and leadership skills.
Able to put people at ease with his engaging sense of humor, Vander Heide enjoyed reading and loved word play. He will be remembered for the way he sang and hummed through each day. His fellow parishioners at Prosper CRC will miss his “hallelujahs” and “amens” during worship.
Vander Heide is survived by Sena, his wife of 66 years; by their five children, Betty, Mike, Joyce, Kay, Diane, and their spouses; and by 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.