Life Story / Obituary
With quiet faith, Paul Van Wyk enjoyed nothing more than the family entrusted to his care, and in them he found the greatest joy. A hard working man, he spent his free time surrounded by those he loved or the freedom he felt on the open road. Paul appreciated the peace and quiet of the woods where he felt the closest to his Lord. For these things and so much more, he will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
The year 1943 was a time of mixed blessings. Declaration was made that the Great Depression was finally over, and The Pentagon was officially dedicated in Arlington, Virginia. With publications like The Saturday Evening Post and box office hits like Casablanca, a sense of optimism gave American households a sense of normalcy as citizens throughout the nation came together during the tumultuous times of World War II. It was during this time when a most blessed occasion took place in the lives the John and Caroline (Phillips) Van Wyk when they welcomed the birth of their first child and son, Paul Robert Van Wyk, born on March 30, 1943, in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Raised on the northwest side of Grand Rapids where the Van Wyk’s made their home, Paul was the oldest of three children in his family. His father was a carpenter while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. Paul enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation filled with boyhood adventures. He attended Covell Elementary School where he was a friend of many, although he missed a year of school when he came down with rheumatic fever. Paul and his family moved often. His father would build a home and they would live in it while building the next house. There was quite a housing boom taking place in the area at the time and during his youth and teen years, Paul helped his dad often.
Paul went on to graduate from Union High School with the Class of 1963. Raised in a family of faith, Paul and his family were very active at Calvary Church. Quite often Paul picked up his cousins for church and it just so happened that a young lady three years younger than Paul by the name of Sallie VanderJagt began living with one of those cousins. She went to church with them that day, and soon a close friendship developed between Paul and Sallie, as did a deep, abiding love. Wedding bells were in their future although they needed to move their wedding date up due to Uncle Sam calling Paul into the military. The couple was happily married on May 9, 1964, at South Christian High School and spent their honeymoon visiting the Detroit zoo.
The newlyweds lived in a new house built by Paul’s father. Paul worked at Bissell for several years while Sallie worked for Michigan Bell Telephone. Before long they welcomed the love of children into their lives with the births of their three children, Tammie, Robert and Scott. Numerous memories were made and enjoyed over the years during the holidays and other special occasions. As a family they enjoyed snowmobiling and running their three wheelers up north near Newaygo. They spent a good deal of time up north during the summers, most often camping with their dirt bikes.
Paul later landed a job with MichCon in the fab shop where he remained for the next 37 years of his career. While he pretty much kept to himself, he did make several good friends while working there throughout the years. In his free time, Paul indulged in some of his hobbies, like restoring his 1955 Chevy pickup truck. Later in life he built a woodshop. Quite good at working with his hands, Paul could build nearly anything and enjoyed woodworking. One of Paul’s most prized possessions was his Honda motorcycle. To Paul, there was nothing like hitting the open road on a sunny day. Every Tuesday night, he and the boys road with the Christian Motorcycle Association. They’d meet at Johnson Park and then take off for a pleasurable ride to a mystery destination for ice cream. He and Sallie did some traveling, usually with Paul’s sister, with whom he was close, and her husband. Some of their excursions took them to Disney World, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.
When it came to food, Paul liked a good burger if it was cooked just right. He had a huge sweet tooth, though, and could easily go for a Snickers candy bar, a generous slice of apple pie, chocolate cake or a good brownie. For many years each Friday, Paul and Sallie treated themselves to a Mr. Fables dinner complete with a burger, onion rings and a chocolate shake.
Paul and his family owned ten acres near the community of Chase, Michigan in Lake County. Paul and Sallie enjoyed spending time there where Paul took in the peaceful tranquility and the quiet of the woods. He absolutely loved watching the deer and wildlife roam along with riding their three and four wheelers, and golf carts. Over the last few years, however, Paul began experiencing some health issues, he had difficulty breathing and was eventually placed on oxygen.
Paul Van Wyk lived with quiet faith. He enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, and never asked for much. He found joy in his family, and by way of example, he taught them much. Dearly missed, Paul leaves much to be remembered in the hearts of those who knew and loved him best.
Paul R. Van Wyk, age 75, of Grand Rapids, found peace in his Eternal home on July 27, 2018. He was preceded in death by his sister, Kathy Windemuller. Paul is survived by Sallie, his loving wife of 54 years; children, Tammie (Dan) Warners, Robert (Teri) Van Wyk and Scott (Sarah Kuklewski) Van Wyk; grandchildren, Jonny (Lisa) Van Wyk, Cory Van Wyk, Emily Warners, Kaylee Warners and Andrew Van Wyk. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, August 3, 2018 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Friends and family will gather to share stories from 1-3 and 6-8 PM on Thursday at the funeral home. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Contributions in Paul’s memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Paul and to sign his online guestbook.