Funeral services for George Van Vark, 97, of Pella were held Wed-nesday, June 4, 2014, at Heartland Reformed Church, Pella. Interment was in the Oakwood Cemetery at Pella. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory may be designated for HCI Care Services (Hospice of Central Iowa) or the Heartland Reformed Church in Pella. On Friday afternoon, May 30, he peacefully passed away at the Bright Kavanagh House in Des Moines.
George J. Van Vark was born on July 6, 1916, on the family farm in the Sandridge neighborhood north of Pella. He was the eighth of nine children born to John H. and Mary (Van Gorp) Van Vark.
At a young age, George was exposed to rheumatic fever and nearly lost his life. The effects of this disease affected him his entire lifetime. He attended the Sandridge Country Grade School and graduated with an eighth-grade diploma. George spent his younger years farming the family farm with his father.
At the age of 30, he met his lifelong partner, Helen Margaret Meulpolder, and they were married on Sept. 12, 1945. To this union four daughters were born: Delores Arlene and Lois Eileen, Lori Lynn, and Brenda Kay. Due to the timing of their births, they always joked and said they had two families, the first two kept them busy and the second two kept them young. In 1959, George and Helen moved onto the family farm.
George was known as a farmer and cattle buyer. His many interests in life included fishing, gardening, dancing, and playing cards. He loved nothing more than to have family and friends gather around his kitchen table. It was there he offered them a cup of coffee, or better yet, a drink of Black Velvet, while he reminisced about the good old times. George was privileged to remain on the family farm, which was recognized as a Century Farm in 2006, until the final days of his life.
George is survived by his four daughters and their families: Delores (Jack) Boerigter of Pella, Lois (Larry) Aldridge of Kellogg, Lori (Tom) Bailey of Knoxville, and Brenda Quirk of Knoxville. George was the last surviving member of his immediate family and leaves his sister-in-law, Gerdena (Francis) Van Vark, and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Ray and Donna Meulpolder of Pella, along with several nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Helen Van Vark, on Sept. 18, 1993; a son-in-law, Jack Boerigter; his parents; his five brothers and three sisters and their spouses: Harry and Sarah Van Vark, Francis Van Vark, Charles and Elizabeth Van Vark, Louis and Hattie Van Vark, Cecil and Mabel Van Vark, Nellie and Leo Kiser, Minnie and Sam Dop, and Marie and Marion Boat. George was a charter member of the Heartland Reformed Church in Pella.