Gerst Logo

Judson “Jud” M. VanderWal, PhD



Memorial Contributions:

Shriners Hospital for Children


St. Jude’s Hospital for Children

501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959

Jud, as he is known by friends and family, has completed his journey on earth and is now with his Creator. Jud was forever inspired by God’s intelligent design for the evolution of our universe and earth. His curiosity was always captured by the wonders present in our being as well as the creatures surrounding us. Jud was a true biologist who taught at Grand Rapids Junior College (now Community College) for 32 years and served as Life Sciences Divisional Chair. He also served a 10-year term as Vice President of the Junior College Faculty Association. Jud’s biology and teaching education followed a path from completing a bachelor’s degree from Calvin University, two master’s degrees at Michigan State University and his formal education culminated in a PhD. from Western Michigan University. His former students, when he saw them in the community, never failed to let him know that he was a “favorite — hard but fair and always interesting,” always respected. Jud was a faithful member of both Eastminster and Forest Hills Presbyterian Churches, teaching Sunday School, counseling youth, and serving as Elder. In retirement, he enthusiastically volunteered as a zoo docent, bringing small animals to various groups, including seniors and school children. In addition, he served on various community committees, including Golden K, co-chairing the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital picnic for several years.

Jud loved travel, and with his wife, Judy, fulfilled a bucket list of many continents and countries. A fun-loving (and sometimes practical jokester), Jud enjoyed the friendships of many throughout his life; but
family, including children and grandchildren were the primary source of his joy. He will be sadly missed by his wife of 62 years, Judy (VanDyke); his children, Marc VanderWal (Kelly Quick), Vicki VanderWal and Bethanie (John) Pollock; grandchildren, Jacob (Raeann), Avery and Arianna VanderWal, and Anthony, Austin and Alexander Pollock.

Please note change of time in services: Visitation with the family will take place from 5-7 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Funeral Services will be held at 2 PM on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, 7495 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, with visitation one hour prior. Rev. Jim Pollard officiating. Interment Cascade Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Jud’s wishes were that donations be made to his favorite charities, Shriners Hospital for Children, or St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959

Sign the Guestbook

4 Responses

  1. It has been an honor to know Jud and the VanderWal family through our dear friends Bethanie and John. HIs life’s work along with his passion for spreading joy and God’s love are are truly an inspiration. Much love and God’s peace to you all. Love and many blessings, The Machesky Family

  2. I have known Jud since grade school at Grandville Elementary. Later, we taught at Grand Rapids Junior College together, and later still we both moved to Clark Retirement Community. In all that time, one thing that never changed was Jud’s wonderful smile. There was a kindness, a welcome about him, that came straight from the soul. He will be deeply missed.

  3. When I joined the Life Sciences department, Jud was a mentor to me who, with sincerity and a twinkle in his eye, took me under his wing, showing me “the ropes” and sharing with me the politics of my new position. He would see the humor in life as well as anyone I can think of, and could lighten the overly serious mood of many a faculty meeting. I am so glad to have known him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.