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.
Edison Christian Health Center
1000 Edison NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Bethany Christian Services
901 Eastern Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Harold VanderZouwen would agree that he was an exceptionally caring and generous person. He especially loved his family and was no stranger to the hard work it took to provide for them over the years. Harold leaves behind a rich tapestry of memories shared with those he loved. There is no doubt that he will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by the many special loved ones in his life.
Harold was welcomed home by George and Marie (Shortonhouse) VanderZouwen on May 25, 1925, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was raised by a set of hardworking parents, his father George, a factory worker at Kelvinator and his stepmother Margaret (Knoll), a homemaker. Harold brought much joy and happiness to his loving parents.
Growing up in a large family meant that there was never a dull moment. Harold and his siblings; Betty, Shirley, Doris, Lavonne, Nancy, Audrey, and Don were raised on the small family farm in Hudsonville.. Ambitious and hardworking, Harold often lived and worked at a neighbor’s farm to help support his family. Farming deserves credit for his early understanding of the value of a hard day’s work. Harold attended Forest Grove school. He joined the Army National Guard during the middle of World War II. Luckily, he was never called up.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the woman who would change the course of his life forever, Catherine Douma. They met at a roller-skating rink, the two of them shared many common interests right from the start! Eager to spend the rest of their lives together, they dated for a couple of years before uniting in marriage on October 30, 1946, at Harold’s grandparents’ home on Burton St. SE. Harold was twenty-one and Catherine was nineteen. After their small family ceremony, they settled into an apartment on Laurel St. SE. Later, they moved to another apartment in Hudsonville before they built their home in Tallmadge Township in 1950. Together they raised two wonderful children; Mark and Marlene on their small family farm where he enjoyed working in the apple orchard and garden. He also enjoyed having horses to ride and many other assorted animals and pets.
As a family, they shared many lasting memories. They rented a cottage on Kimball Lake and later had their own cottage on Long Lake where they enjoyed boating and relaxing in the beautiful scenery. One summer, they took a trip around Lake Superior crossing into Canada and enjoyed making memories along the way. Catherine and Harold raised their children with a strong foundation of Christianity and were active members of Standale Reformed Church. They both were very involved in their children’s school events at Grandville Public Schools. A steadfast provider, Harold delivered coal to area homes before starting his own trucking company, Kent Cartage. After owning and operating it for about twenty remarkable years, he sold the company to Columbian Storage and Transfer where he stayed on as manager of the maintenance garage. He was a proud member of the Teamsters Union Local 406 and it was not too surprising that he remained working at Columbian until he retired at the age of sixty-eight.
Harold lived a very full and active life. He enjoyed eating the produce that he grew in his garden and dinner usually included meat and potatoes. When it came to dessert, he almost always chose his favorite, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce! He enjoyed meeting his friends for coffee and donuts once a week. Woodworking became his passion later in life and he had a real knack for making birdhouses. Usually, while he was involved with one of his projects, he would turn on his favorite gospel music from the Gaithers or listen to the country and gospel music of Alan Jackson. An active reader his whole life he enjoyed reading several magazines; National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, and truck and farm magazines, as well as the daily Grand Rapids Press. When it came time to relax, he often chose to turn on old western TV shows like Gunsmoke, or other classic television programs. He also favored Rejoice in the Lord, a weekly nationwide television broadcast of the Campus Church in Pensacola, Florida as well as Heartland, a Canadian drama series.
As much as he cherished his role as a husband and a father, nothing prepared him for the joy of being a grandpa and great grandpa. The family was immensely important to him and there simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for each and every one of them. He prayed for them in his daily prayers and leaned on his trust in the Lord to help them succeed in life. Harold modeled a life of being loving and accepting of others. Dedicated to his family and blessed with an abundant life, he leaves behind many treasured memories for his family to enjoy forever. May they always remember his warm and nurturing ways as well as his wonderful sense of humor to guide them in the years to come.
Mr. Harold George VanderZouwen, aged 94, of Tallmadge Township, Michigan, went to be with his Lord, on Saturday morning, June 22, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Margaret VanderZouwen, his sisters, Betty (Carl) Galer, Shirley (Otis) Stratton, and Doris VanderPloeg; brothers-in-law, Isaac Elenbaas, William Freeman, and Frank Nienhuis. He is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Catherine VanderZouwen (Douma); children, Mark Harold (Laura) VanderZouwen, Marlene Kay (Darrel) Bergsma; grandchildren, Adam VanderZouwen, Amanda (Mike) Walma; great grandson, Colton Harold Walma; brother and sisters, Don (Sheryl) VanderZouwen, Lavonne Elenbaas, Nancy Freeman, Audrey Nienhuis; sister-in-law, Dawn Douma; brother-in-law, Ellis “John” VanderPloeg; many cousins, nieces and nephews. Harold was a loving and dedicated, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. He was a longtime member of Standale Reformed Church. A service to celebrate Harold’s life will be on Saturday, June 29 at 12:00 noon at Heritage life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Washington Park Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to Edison Christian Health Center or Bethany Christian Services. Relatives and friends may meet the family at the funeral home on Friday, June 28, from 6:00–8:00 pm and again on Saturday from 11:00 am until the service begins at 12:00 pm. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com