Saturday, October 5, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Westend Christian Reformed Church
1015 Westend Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Friends may visit with Lawrn's family at the church from 10 AM until 10:45 AM, and for a time following the service.
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.
1101 Hoyt St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A wonderful husband, father, grandpa, great grandpa, uncle, and friend, Lawrence “Lawrn” Vander Klipp was a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know him. Humble and kind, Lawrn was a man of unwavering integrity. He was a hard worker whose consistency and commitment to excellence was unrivaled. Lawrn never hesitated to do the right thing regardless of the personal sacrifice or discomfort that might require. Though a man of few words, his actions and example spoke volumes about how to live a heart-centered life in service of others.
The beginning of 1929 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the yo-yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of Dick and Catherine (Lindhout) Vander Klipp as they welcomed their son Lawrn into their family on April 10.
Growing up on Eastern Avenue on the NE side of Grand Rapids during the 1930s and 40s, Lawrn’s early years formed firm foundation upon which he built the rest of his life. The oldest of the Vander Klipp’s three children, Lawrn enjoyed a childhood filled with the fun and freedom of playing outside in nearby fields with friends. Baseball games were the preferred activity of the warmer months, while the winter months were filled with sledding and skiing on nearby hills. Lawrn was also introduced to fishing and small game hunting as a boy. And the moment he first laid eyes on his uncle’s Chris-Craft boat, he fell in love with boating—a passion he pursued for the rest of his life.
After completing his elementary education at Hastings Christian school, Lawrn attended Creston High School and Davis Tech. His teen years including many good times with friends and the beginning of his working years. At the age of 13, he began working at an uncle’s grocery store. Once he earned his driver’s license at the age of 14, he delivered groceries to local families. Because of his family’s need to have him work, he missed out on some of the opportunities he might have otherwise had in school, but he never complained and found fulfillment in the work that he did.
Immediately after completing his schooling, Lawrn began his tool and die apprenticeship, working weekends at a gas station in Standale to make ends meet. In 1951, like many young men of his era, Lawrn was drafted into the US Army. For two years he proudly served his county. He was first stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado and later at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Having the opportunity to meet new people and see other parts of the country was eye-opening for Lawrn, and for the rest of his lifetime he was very proud of having served his country.
Prior to entering the service, Lawrn had gone on a blind date with Donna Francis, who was four years younger and still in high school. They kept in touch a little during his service years, but once he returned home, their relationship took off after they ran into one another outside a local barbershop. They began dating and married on October 28, 1955, at North Park Presbyterian Church.
After enjoying a honeymoon in Niagara Falls and in the mountains of Pennsylvania, the newlyweds settled into a NE side house for the first few months of their marriage before moving to their first home on Gordon street. After two years they built a larger family home just two doors down the street. Here they raised their family of five children. Lawrn and Donna’s three daughters and twin sons were the center of their world. Lawrn had wonderful relationships with his kids. Though he wasn’t one to talk a lot, his children respected and honored him. Because they didn’t want to disappoint him, there was rarely a need for discipline. The family enjoyed taking the boat out on weekends or going for picnics at local beaches. In 1970 the family purchased a travel trailer, which became the center of the family’s summer vacation time. Lawrn’s favorite place to camp was on Lake Charlevoix, where the family stayed for two weeks every summer. They would also camp in west Michigan with other church families, and Lawrn would often commute out to the trailer with the other dads to be with the families.
After working for several shops in the tool and die industry for many years, Lawrn eventually found work at DLP Inc., a local company that specialized in disposable medical products. Lawrn enjoyed the clean environment of the machine shop there and gladly gave many years of service to the organization. After a long career, Lawrn eventually retired from the company. Though he gave it a noble effort, Lawrn ultimately failed at retirement. He gratefully returned to working in the medical device manufacturing field at Rose Medical, where he continued to work until he was 88 years old.
Never one to sit still for long, Lawrn was always busy. Remaining proud of his time in the service, Lawrn faithfully flew a flag, respectfully raising and lowering it each day. A natural tinkerer, he could always be found working on something. Whether hanging wallpaper, generally puttering, fixing or improving something, or giving his cars their Saturday morning wash, Lawrn took meticulous care of everything. His keen eye for detail and excellent organization were unrivaled. His love of boating inspired many projects and adventures over the years. When he was younger, he and some of his friends built several boats. Over the years he owned wooden boats, runabouts, and eventually a pontoon in later years. He loved fishing with his friends and his sons and grandsons, both on the water in the summer and on the ice in the winter.
A 60-year member of Highland Hills (now Westend) Christian Reformed Church, Lawrn was also very involved in his church community. He served as Sunday school superintendent, an elder and deacon, and sang in the choir. In later years he also coordinated transportation for Gold Avenue’s inner-city ministry. Lawrn and Donna also volunteered with various other organizations. He especially enjoyed driving the bus for Samaritan’s Carriage, where he continued his amazing run of 72 years without a ticket or an accident!
Lawrn and Donna gifted their entire family with a wonderful marriage. Together they demonstrated a godly example of love, respect, and care. In one another’s good company, they especially loved spending time with their grandchildren. They took many trips to see them, enthusiastically supporting each of their endeavors. Whether visiting them locally, or traveling to Tucson, AZ, Traverse City, or Milwaukee, WI, they enjoyed attending the kids’ concerts, graduations, and sporting events. While they also took a few special trips to Europe and Alaska, their favorite place to spend time with loved ones was at their cottage on Hamlin Lake in Ludington. For over 22 years, the cottage served as a gathering place for family and friends. Sometimes a large group would come together, but at other times it was about making special memories with one family at a time. Lawrn loved sharing his passion for boating with the grandchildren, marking a grand rite of passage for each one as they sat on his lap and took their first command of the wheel. Evening “jammie cruises” on the pontoon gave the grandkids many precious memories as well.
In October of 2017, after a few years of health challenges, Donna passed away. Just a few short weeks after her death, Lawrn was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With signature determination, Lawrn fought to gain back his health in hopes that he could return to the work that he loved and the many coworkers he loved working with. Though his compromised eyesight didn’t allow him to return to Rose, he settled into a positive and healthy routine at the condo. Over the last two years, his children made sure he had company every evening for dinner, and all five of them were able to stay with him for extended periods of time to enjoy his company.
In the last few weeks, as Lawrn’s health steadily declined, all five of his children gathered around to help. Living together at the condo, the days and evenings were spent sharing stories and time together while taking care of his needs. All of his children were present in his last hours, encouraging him and praising God as he took his last breaths and was reunited with Donna in the presence of their Savior.
Lawrence Edward Vander Klipp, aged 90, passed into glory surrounded by family on September 27, 2019, after a 10-year battle with cancer. A kind, godly, and loving father and grandfather, he devoted his life to his family and his church, Westend CRC. He was preceded in death by Donna, his loving wife of 62 years, and is survived by three daughters and twin sons: Jill (Chuck) Haak of Tucson, AZ; Julie (Howard) Johnson of Grand Rapids; Jane (Phil) Bylsma of Brookfield, WI; Mark (Suzanne) Vanderklipp of Traverse City; and Michael Vander Klipp of Grand Rapids, as well as 18 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and a large and loving extended family.
The service to remember and celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, October 5, at 11:00 a.m. at Westend Christian Reformed Church. Friends are invited to visit with the family from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 4 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW, and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 until the service. Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Michigan or Samaritan’s Carriage. We love you, Dad, and are so happy to know you’re finally together with Mom. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord…they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Rev. 14:13). To read more about Lawrn’s life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.