A pastor and servant-leader, Fred VanderBerg was kind, thoughtful, gentle, sometimes stubborn, and had a unique sense of humor. He tried consistently to follow God, embrace others, create community, and be there for his family. Fred, age 69, died May 3, 10 weeks after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
A lifelong learner, Fred loved to study and recently completed his master’s thesis for the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ont. He will graduate posthumously at ICS’s June convocation with a Master of Arts in philosophy.
Fred’s first career was in construction, and he operated a successful siding company for many years. He followed God’s call into ministry at age 35, already married and with four children, after completing an undergraduate degree part-time. He graduated from Calvin Seminary, was ordained in 1992, and served the following congregations in Ontario: Hebron Community CRC in Renfrew; Westmount CRC in Strathroy; and Mountainview CRC in Grimsby. He also served for many years as chaplain at Shalom Manor and Gardens in Grimsby, an assisted living and long-term care facility. Fred’s sermons were thoughtful and thought provoking. His way of pastoring was quiet and caring.
Fred enjoyed reading and camping. Cycling was a passion. After retiring in 2019 he worked part time in ministry until June 2021. He also enjoyed volunteering with his wife at the Welcome Inn, a community center in Hamilton, Ont., focused on alleviating poverty. To that work, which was sadly cut short by his illness, he brought his cooking skills, sense of humor, and perseverance.
Fred is survived by Nelli, to whom he was married for just shy of 50 years, four children and their spouses, and 11 grandchildren.