Clarence Van Dyke
Clarence Hulscher Van Dyke (Van or C. H.)
September 28, 1932 – November 30, 2022
Clarence Van Dyke, lover of God, family, music, cars, and sports, died on November 30, 2022, peacefully in Tomball, TX where he had lived with his wife for 30 years.
Van was the 3rd of three sons born to Rev. John G. Van Dyke and Catherine DeKraker Van Dyke, in Grand Haven, MI, and was born in the parsonage of First CRC in Grand Haven. He had two brothers, John (Vivian) and Irving (Margorie) who remained in Michigan throughout their lives. Van, however, left Michigan and lived in numerous states and places throughout his life.
Van entered the Navy Reserves in 1951 and activated into the Navy in 1952 as a carpenter and served until he was released in 1954. That same year he enrolled at Michigan State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering after 4 years there. Throughout his adult life he was heard to have said “Go Green” to which we had to respond, “Go White”. It always put a smile on his face.
While he was in the Navy, he met a beautiful young girl at the Christian Reformed Church Conference grounds on Lake Michigan and eventually proposed to her. Mary Ann Bykerk and Van were married on March 22, 1957, at Eastern Ave CRC. To the very end, Van loved her dearly.
Mary and Van spent over 65 years together, sharing the joys, love, sorrows, and hardships that life brings. They were a God-fearing couple throughout their time together and were a strong witness to the power of God.
Van’s first job after MSU was as an engineer with Lockheed Aircraft Service Company in southern California. Soon after that he joined IBM also as an engineer and served out his career with IBM, retiring in 1991. IBM, aka I’ve Been Moved, was the reason why Van and his family moved many times with all of its challenges, but IBM, Van and Mary made it fun for their children and we always looked forward to the adventure. One of Dad’s most interesting jobs was as the voice of the status of the Apollo 11 launch program. Dad would record the daily status such that anyone who called in to find out what the status was, they heard his voice.
Van and Mary loved taking the family on vacations whenever they could, and mostly during the summer when the kids were out of school. We camped and saw the nation throughout our time together, enjoying each trip better than the last. Van imparted a love of travel to his whole family which we all enjoy to this day. Thanks Dad!
He was the father of three children: Julie Walden (David), Mark Van Dyke (Karen) and Joan Nieuwenhuis (Bob); grandfather to six: Holly Gibbs (Brian), Jessie Huerta, Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Bethany), Garrett Van Dyke (Demi), Krista den Dulk (Adrian) and Arie Van Dyke (Kirsten); and great-grandfather to twelve: Mia, Thistle, Ava, Rex, Schylar, Sawyer, Leo, Makenna, Saylah, Wade, Ryatt, and Ryker. He had a full quiver of children in his extended family.
Throughout his life, he taught us many things: how to keep God in the center of everything you do; Think (stolen from the IBM mantra); how to fit a family of five into a travel trailer built for two; how to put family first; how to curse without cursing….Dog Bite Me!, I want gets nothing, and always pray before you make a big decision.
Dad had a powerful and logical mind and used it in many ways, organizing and lending his leadership to many organizations. He served as the Captain of the Security Patrol in 8th grade at Creston Christian School, a Deacon at the Silver Spring CRC, and a particularly fond job of his as Regional Director for the Southwest for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC). He loved serving our Lord along with Mom in Disaster Relief through the denomination. He also dearly loved ministering to the elderly people at Arcola Towers in the Silver Spring, MD area. He witnessed whenever he could about God’s faithfulness and love.
Dad will be remembered as a man who loved smoking his pipe or cigar on the back porch, having a glass of wine, talking about all the things he loved in life with the ones he loved in life.
His 90 years of life influenced too many to mention; and he will forever be in our hearts.
STROO FUNERAL HOME
1095 68TH ST SE
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49508