Bruce W. VanderKolk

OREGON – Bruce W. VanderKolk, 72, of Bonita Springs, Fla., and formerly of Oregon, died Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. He was born March 16, 1945 in Allegan, Mich., the son of Wiley and Violet VanderKolk.

He married Donna Sue Townsend in 1968. Mr. VanderKolk graduated from Hopkins High School in 1963 and from Michigan State University in 1967. He received his Masters degree in 1977 from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

While at Michigan State University he was a member of the ROTC program and upon graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He served in the active Army from 1967-1969 and was a Vietnam veteran. Upon leaving the active Army in 1969, he remained in the Reserve Components and retired in 1994 from the Illinois National Guard as a Brigadier General. He received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters and Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

After leaving the active Army, he joined the Illinois State Police in 1969 and served in a variety of positions, retiring in 2001 as the Commander of the Forensic Sciences Command. He was an Emeritus member of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors and Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists.

He was a member of Anchor Christian Church in Bonita Springs, Fla., where he and his wife lived. He was a prior member of Southside Christian Church in Springfield. While living in Oregon, he attended the Oregon Church of God. He was a member of Oregon VFW Post 8739 and Oregon American Legion Post 97.

Mr. VanderKolk is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Donna Sue; his sons, Roger VanderKolk of Woodbury, Minn., and James (Shelia) VanderKolk of Oregon; and seven cherished grandchildren, Ethan, Corey, Sean, Matthew, Nadia, Caelyn and Madilyn.

A funeral service was held Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Anchor Christian Church, Bonita Springs. Visitation for family and friends took place at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.

A celebration of life service will be held Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 5 p.m. at the South Side Christian Church, 2600 S MacArthur Blvd., Springfield. Graveside services with Military Honors will take place Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Maplewood Cemetery in Hopkins, Mich.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Anchor Christian Church Building Fund, 11651 E Terry Street, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

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