Gerald (Van) W. Van Valkenburg

On December 25, 2020, Gerald (Van) Waldron Van Valkenburg, passed away at his home in DeWitt, Mich., with his loving wife, Kim, daughter, Kiya and her husband Leonard, and son Todd along with his wife Wendy, by his side.

Van was born in Marshall, Mich., on February 12, 1932, to Faye and Florence (Waldron) Van Valkenburg of Tecumseh, Mich. He was the youngest of three sons. At age five, they moved to their family centennial farm just outside of Tecumseh. Van excelled at math, studied Latin, and played baseball, basketball, and football in the Tecumseh High School, graduating in 1950.   

In 1955, Van earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan and soon thereafter landed a job at the Michigan State Highway Department, but due to the Korean War, Van enlisted in the Army and was sent to the Army Language School in Monterey, Calif., to learn Romanian. 

Van was stationed in Frankfort, Germany, and occasionally took sightseeing trips with some buddies. One such trip was to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he met his wife, Kim. They tied the knot in 1958 in Copenhagen and then temporarily settled down in Lansing where he rejoined the Michigan State Highway Department.  

The family grew by one in 1959 with the arrival of their daughter, Kiya, and then by one more with the birth of their son, Todd, in 1964. The desire to travel took the family to Santiago, Chile, for a couple of years and then back to the U.S.

where Van earned a master’s degree in highway engineering at Purdue University in 1969. Suitcases were packed once again and this time the family went to Brazil (São Paulo and then to Rio de Janeiro), where Van worked for a consulting firm designing highways. 

In 1976, the family returned to Lansing, Mich., where he once again was employed by the Michigan State Highway Department as a design engineer and ultimately retiring in 1997 as a supervising engineer.  Van was a life-long Wolverine (“Go Blue!”), enjoyed playing duplicate bridge with his wife, and will be remembered as a kind, caring, patient, family-oriented, thoughtful, smart, and one heck of a nice man with a great sense of humor.

Van is survived by his wife, Kim (Holm) Van Valkenburg; daughter Kiya (Leonard) McElveen of Dorr, Mich.; son, Todd (Wendy) Van Valkenburg of Houghton, Mich.; eldest brother, Ernest Van Valkenburg of Downingtown, Penn.; and adoring sole granddaughter, Tamika (Kenny) of Grand Rapids, Mich. He is preceded in death by his parents, Faye and Florence (Waldron) Van Valkenburg of Tecumseh; and brother, Dalton Van Valkenburg of North Canton, Ohio.  At Van’s request, no funeral services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Bridge Center of Greater Lansing.


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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