Growing up on a farm, Fred VanDyk enjoyed helping in the fields and tinkering with things mechanical, especially farm equipment. He was a die-hard John Deere man. Farming provides a good metaphor for his life in ministry, as well. As a pastor, he worked in fields in places as varied as Texas, Canada and Nigeria, where he planted seeds, gently cleared weeds and created a space for people to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord. VanDyk died May 7. He was 85.
After ordination in 1960, VanDyk served Missio Dei Church in El Paso, Texas. He went on to serve Burdett (Alta.) Christian Reformed Church, Highland CRC in Marion, Mich., and Paw Paw (Mich.) CRC, before training pastors for eight years as part of the faculty at Smith Memorial Bible College in Baissa, Nigeria. After returning to the U.S., VanDyk pastored Hollandale (Minn.) CRC and Pioneer CRC in Cedar Springs, Mich. He retired in 1999 but continued to serve several churches afterward.
VanDyk was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, encouraging those he loved through the seasons of their lives as much as time, health, and distance would allow.
He is survived by Bette, his wife of 65 years, their four children and spouses, 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter.