Life Story / Obituary
June Vander Wall lived a very active life well into her later years. She was a devoted wife, sister, mother, and grandmother. Through her life of service, June delighted in supporting her community through her work with the church and her years as an organist. An avid baker, she was known for her delicious cinnamon rolls, almond tea rings, and pies. Always generous and loving, June leaves behind a rich collection of warm memories for her special friends and her loved ones to forever cherish.
Looking back on the Roaring Twenties, it was most certainly a period of sustained economic prosperity. By 1926, The Ford Motor Company announced the creation of the 40-hour work week as the focus of jazz music was all the rage. Yet for Hendrick "Henry" and Jemima (DeWaal Malefyt) DeJonge, new life in the U.S. held new found hope as they both had immigrated from the Netherlands. Having settled as husband and wife in Prospect Park, New Jersey, this was especially true when on April 12, 1926, they welcomed home their newborn daughter, Jemima. One of eventually seven children in DeJonge home, young Jemima's birth brought great joy to her family.
Raised by a set of hard working parents, Jemima was accustomed to her parents being focused on the family business, Modern Installation Company. Her father kept busy installing oil furnaces in greater New Jersey and her mother worked as the secretary and homemaker. As a young child, Jemima liked helping her mother with housework, baking and cooking. She especially enjoyed taking her twin baby brothers, Victor and Vincent, out for walks in the stroller. As a family they experienced a great trauma when June's younger sister, Arlene was severely burned when her doll fell on the gas stove. They remained a close-knit family and enjoyed many Thanksgiving holidays riding into New York City to visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Public Library, as well as numerous other holidays and family celebrations.
By the time Jemima reached grade school, her father allowed her to be affectionately referred to as "June". Some of June's favorite childhood memories of her father were accompanying him to his local choir concerts where he sang a beautiful tenor. Her natural ear for music began during these years as she went on to play the piano for chapel in grade school and during her time in high school at Eastern Academy Christian. As teenagers, June and her siblings frequented the Jersey Shore, often spending time at Ocean Grove and Green Pond, a lake in northern New Jersey. Later as adults, she and her siblings rented a cottage on Crockery Lake during the summers as well as great times vacationing together at Glen Lake.
After high school, June attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she met a young man by the name of Art Vander Wall. She caught his eye and his ear while playing the piano and from that moment on, he knew she was the woman he couldn’t live without. While Art served as a United States Navy Aviator during WWII, June wrote letters to him during his deployments. She was a great prayer warrior for him and many other soldiers.
Following a two year courtship, June and Art were joined in marriage at the Prospect Park Christian Reformed Church in 1945. Without many resources, they did manage to spend a memorable honeymoon with a cross country trip from Michigan to California with many tales of flat tires and even changing drivers without stopping the car! The newlyweds made their first home together at 1401 East Leonard in Grand Rapids when Art accepted a position as a tool and die maker. Together they raised five children, Albert, Philip, Mark, Jamie, and Thomas who each brought great joy to their lives and home. They later moved to their forever home at O-3705 West Leonard in the Marne, Michigan area where many memories were made.
June relished her role as a mother. Firm yet always loving and forgiving, she raised her children with a strong foundation of faith. Each and every Sunday she cooked a large family dinner, and there was always room for anyone visiting the church or a local widow or widower who were always welcome at their table. June instilled in her children the opportunity for supporting those in need, and she was a wonderful role model imploring generosity for all others. For special occasions June enjoyed cooking a feast of her homemade lasagna or her delicious Prime rib roast. A professional teacher, she was always one to correct her children’s grammar and see to it that they completed their studies. As a family, they went on many vacations to Burt and Mullet Lake in northern Michigan where good times were enjoyed and shared by all.
June held many special talents and pastimes. In addition to her teaching grade school at Lamont Christian School where she will be fondly remembered by so many for her animated reading of stories, June also taught Sunday school and served as a bible study leader in Lamont, Eastmanville, Walker, Coopersville and Cottonwood CRC churches. She also was a bible study leader for the Bible Study Fellowship and for nearly a remarkable 60 years she played the church organ at Lamont Christian Reformed Church. In fact, June had the privilege of having taught hundreds of children and adults how to play the piano and organ. June’s love of music was a tapestry of her giving nature woven with that very deep love of music. Through her life she enjoyed classical music and held season tickets to the Grand Rapids Symphony. She never passed up an opportunity to catch a performance of her favorite piece, Handel’s Messiah, at Calvin College. She also loved Christian hymns and psalms sung in church and by her family.
In retirement, June and Art enjoyed traveling extensively. They toured Europe, Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean islands, Hawaii, and Africa. In addition to her love of travel and music, June was most importantly a devoted Christian woman and dedicated, loyal wife, loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Often described as Christlike, optimistic, and loyal, there is no doubt that June will be deeply missed and fondly remembered for generations to come.
June (DeJonge) Vander Wall, age 94, of Lamont, MI went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 while in the comfort of her home and in the company of her family. Along with her parents and four younger siblings, June was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 67 years, Arnold “Art” Vander Wall who was called to the Lord in 2012. She is survived by her five children, Al and Nyla Vander Wall, Philip and Helen Vander Wall, Mark and Dawn Vander Wall, Jamie Joy and Calvin Hofland, and Tom and Kristy Vander Wall; 21 grandchildren, Chad and Lori Vander Wall, Craig and Marcie Vander Wall, Alysha and Cory Melvin, Jacob and Laura Vander Wall, Joshua and Chelsea Vander Wall, Rebecca and Karis Mpindi, Rachel Vander Wall, Elizabeth Vander Wall, Anna Vander Wall, Monty and Courtney Vander Wall, Clayton and Jessie Vander Wall, Kassey Vander Wall, Tyler Vander Wall, Avalon Yackish, Benjamin and Lydia Hofland, Micah and Abigail Hofland, Levi Hofland, Jeshelle Hofland, Nathan Vander Wall, Megan Vander Wall, Jonathan and Joanna Vander Wall; 19 great-grandchildren; brothers, Vic and Ruth DeJonge and Vince and Carol DeJonge as well as many nieces and nephews. Due to current COVID restrictions, a private family graveside service in Maple Wood Cemetery in Lamont, MI will take place. A public Celebration of Life is forthcoming. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to Lamont Christian School, Lamont CRC or Resonate Global Mission (formerly Christian Reformed World Missions) for the ministry of Jamie and Calvin Hofland (https://www.resonateglobalmission.org/support/donate-now). Please visit June’s personal memory page at www.heritagelifestory.com, where you may share a memory, upload a photo and sign her online guest book.