Arloa J. Vander Kolk

June 6, 1928 ~ July 18, 2019 (age 91)

Arloa J. Vander Kolk, age 91, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Thursday, July 18, 2019.  It was a peaceful passing, only 10 weeks after the love of her life, Ken, passed away.  She was surrounded by her loving children.  Arloa was born in the summer of 1928 on a farm in Zeeland, MI.  Her parents, Joe and Kate Vander Velde, gave her a happy Christian upbringing with her brother and 2 sisters.  She talked fondly of riding and showing Tennessee Walker horses as well as going to the markets with her father to sell the gladiola flowers that they raised on the farm, along with chickens and cows. 

She met Ken at Zeeland High School, but their courtship did not begin until she was a nursing student at Butterworth School of Nursing.  He was a pre-med student at University of Michigan, and they fell deeply in love.  They lived a fairy tale life raising 4 children who blessed them with 8 grandchildren and 12 (soon to be 13) great grandchildren.  Arloa loved God and her faith. She was a lifetime member of Central Reformed Church where she became an Elder and sang in the choir.  She loved life. 

People will remember her as a friendly, thoughtful and talkative lady with a big heart and sweet smile.  She loved playing games and had a great sense of humor.  She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren and she knitted each one of them a sweater or blanket.  Her knitting extended into one of the many volunteer capacities she took on.  She sent her toddler sweaters and blankets to children who were sick or less fortunate.  She loved reading, golfing, boating, music, dancing, worshipping, crafting and jigsaw puzzles.  She sent countless cards to friends and family over the years, always sending a positive message of hope and faith.  For the past several years, she made beautiful jewelry.  Family, friends and neighbors at her home in Cook Valley Estates and Porter Hills Village are all wearing her works of art.  

Arloa was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Ken; brother Carl (Dorothy) Vander Velde, sister, Ruth (Rodger) Kramer, brother in law, Larry Smith.  She leaves behind her children, Ron Vander Kolk, Kathy (Steve) Savara, Judy (David) Levick, Jim (Kim) Vander Kolk; her grandchildren, DeAnne Vander Kolk, Justin (Andria) Savara, Jason (Kelli) Vander Kolk, Karly (Craig) Merizon, Ben (Stephanie) Levick, Lindsay (Adam) DeLong, Katelyn (Alex) Billings and Adam Levick; 12 great grandchildren; sister, Jane Smith, brother and sister in law, Alvin and Joy Vander Kolk; many nieces and nephews.  She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.  She was a blessing to so many.  Special gratitude to Porter Hills staff and Emmanuel Hospice who lovingly cared for her. 

A Memorial Service will take place on August 10, 2019 at 2pm at Central Reformed Church, 10 College Ave. Grand Rapids, MI.  Family and friends will be received one hour prior to the service at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Emmanuel Hospice (616-719-0919 or or Porter Hills Foundation (616-577-2297 or

Donations may be made to:

Emmanuel Hospice
2161 Leonard St. N.W., Grand Rapids MI 49504
Tel: 1-616-719-0919

Porter Hills Foundation Benevolent Fund
4450 Cascade Rd. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49546
Tel: 1-616-949-4975

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