It is with great sorrow that the family of Judith Ann VanderLaan (82) announces her passing on April 24, 2021. Although we will miss her dearly, we are comforted in the knowledge that Judith is at peace in heaven. Her lengthy suffering is finally over.
In life, Judith’s home was filled with her music – she sang and played her piano and guitar. Her beautiful soprano vibrato resonated “all the way into the rafters” as she joined her voice with that of the heavenly choir. She dedicated her voice and perpetual song to the praise of Our Lord – at home, in the church choir, during special events, and especially during her favorite celebration of all, Christmas Eve, when her rendition of “Oh Holy Night” could be heard by all and Judith’s version was beautiful beyond all others.
As a young mother, Judith founded the first Catholic Third Order of Secular Franciscans in the English language. She served Our Lord as the Fraternal Minister of Our Mother of Sorrows Fraternity of Secular Franciscans. Then, once her children had grown, Judith was called again by Our Lord as she served as the Director of HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid for 13 years. It was there that Judith had truly found her calling, offering spiritual and life-sustaining support to pregnant mothers and newborn babies.
Judith was preceded in death by her parents, Woodrow L. and Edna R. VanHouten, her sister Carol Jean Crawford and her brother Gary VanHouten. She is survived by her husband, Robert N. VanderLaan of Grand Rapids, Michigan, daughters Ann (Malcolm) Brown, and Mary (John) Kim; sons Steven (Karen) VanderLaan, Keith (Gary Gross) VanderLaan; grandchildren Jennifer, Johnathan, Zachary, Courtney, Matthew, Nicholas and Joshua; her sister Diana Brown, her brothers Bruce and Woodrow VanHouten, her beloved sisters-in-law, her many nieces, nephews and cousins, and her close friend Gillian, who all held special places in her heart.
Social distancing and face masks are required at all events:
Visitation will be held on Sunday May 2, 2021 at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., with the recitation of the rosary at 4:30 p.m.
On Monday May 3, 2021, visitors will be received at 10:00 a.m., followed by Catholic Mass of Christian Burial at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Dr., Ada, MI beginning at 11:00 a.m. The mass will be live streamed via YouTube at the following link:
We will celebrate Judith’s life at a memorial luncheon at Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI, which was the VanderLaan family homestead from 1870 to 1964. Lunch will be served from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. There will be strict social distancing enforced at tables of 6. Face masks are required.
Enjoy the gardens and the sculptures during the afternoon until 4:30 p.m., with complimentary admission.
Judith’s interment will take place at Fairplains Cemetery, 1056 Diamond Ave NE, Grands Rapids, MI, next to her beloved mother and sister, and amongst many of her ancestors.
In remembrance of Judith’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made in Judith’s name to:
Help Pregnancy Crisis Aid, 705 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 or Emmanuel Hospice, 401 Hall Street SW #263, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.