Wednesday, July 8, 2020
10:00 AM EDT
Washington Park Memorial Gardens
1205 Richmond Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Oakview Community Church
4242 Plainfield Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Ardythe Vander Velde was a loving person throughout her life – best friend to many, caring older sister, and loving wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her generous and joyous spirit will be deeply missed by all.
As the adorable first child of grocer Arthur and homemaker Anne Andree in 1933, Ardythe Faye Andree grew up off Leonard Street in northwest Grand Rapids. Her brothers Bob and Don Andree soon joined her and contributed to a lively household where all had a hand in keeping the Giant Market a great place to shop. Ardythe was known for careening around the neighborhood on her bike, where she once nearly knocked over the boy who would later become her husband, Gerald Vander Velde. The family was also active at Seventh Reformed Church, where the Vander Veldes also attended.
Ardythe was a popular, athletic child and excelled in school. She took every math and science class offered at Union High School and graduated second in her class of 1951. Her education instilled a lifelong love of reading and learning. She took accounting courses at Grand Rapids Junior College and several companies received her bookkeeping talents until Jerry and Ardythe commenced their lifelong ministry.
Jerry and Ardythe married in 1953, and their first child David Gerald Vander Velde was born in Grand Rapids in 1957. After Jerry completed his degree at Western Theological Seminary, the young pastor’s family moved to Hawthorne, New Jersey and resided in the parsonage of Union Reformed Church of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Beth Louise joined them in 1962. A few years later the family moved to the parsonage at New Era Reformed Church, and Karen Marie became their third child in 1966. Soon after, the Oakview Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan took on the growing family where Susan Lynne was born in 1970.
After seeing both Dave and Beth graduate and leave home, the family accepted a call at First Reformed Church in Hull, Iowa in 1981. Jerry and Ardythe stayed in Hull until 1995 when Jerry retired from full-time ministry. Her presence in the fellowship of all of their congregations was greatly valued and produced deep, abiding friendships, and many children first learned about the Lord in her Sunday School classes.
Ardythe loved the outdoors and traveling. She expressed fond memories of skating, sledding and swimming at Richmond Park as a child. As an adult, her love of the outdoors led to a special place – a cottage on Upper Silver Lake, which the family built and enjoyed for 35 years. The home of many large family picnics, waterskiing, outings on boats and rafts, the cottage provided a place where the family could relax and play games or take off on a hike over the dunes to Lake Michigan. It wasn’t long before Ardythe and Jerry’s children found spouses and started to provide the couple with grandchildren who all adored their visits to the cottage. She enjoyed spending even more time at the cottage after retirement, serving as a base for traveling to new beaches and lighthouses in northern Michigan. Her photography skills were a blessing, providing memories that her family will cherish forever.
She is survived by her husband, Rev. Gerald Vander Velde, their children, Dr. David and Jane Vander Velde, Karen and Tom Richardson, Susan and Addison Steele, and Geno Russo, fifteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. She is also survived by sibling Robert and Mary Kay Andree, sister-in-law Jan Andree as well as many cousins and nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her daughter Beth Russo and her brother Donald Andree.
A graveside service for family and friends will be held Wednesday, July 8, at 10 a.m. at Washington Park Cemetery, Richmond Street. Contributions in her memory may be made to Oakview Community Church.