Dr. Paul VanFaasen of Holland, who retired from Hope in 1997 as a professor emeritus of biology after teaching at the college for more than 30 years, died peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 8, at The Inn at Freedom Village. He was 81.
He graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1952 and Hope in 1956. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, in which he served for two years.
VanFaasen completed a master’s degree at Michigan State University in 1962 and took a one-year appointment at Lake Forest College in Illinois. While he was there, Hope invited him to come back. He remained at the college for the rest of his career except for some time that he took to complete his doctorate, also at Michigan State University.
Education was always important to him. Although he specialized in botany and plant systematics, his true calling was to serve the students and colleagues with whom he worked. He also served eight years on the Board of Education for Holland Public Schools and many years with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. He was also a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church of Holland.
Following his retirement, VanFaasen served as a board member and one of the founders of the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway. He also enjoyed spending time with the Evergreen Commons Stamp Club, Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP), and his grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Maria and Hans Walters.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Janice VanFaasen; sons, Bill and Susan VanFaasen of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, and Carl and Pam VanFaasen of Holland; grandchildren, Neil VanFaasen and Cora VanFaasen; sisters, Ella Von Ins of Pleasanton, California, and Jane Ruiter of Spring Lake, Michigan; and in-laws, Betsy and Eric Mihan of Kennebunk, Maine, Barbara and George Fanke of Loveland, Colorado, and Susan and Randy Kreps of Lake Monticello, Virginia.
An outdoor memorial service is planned for Friday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. under the Pavilion at the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway, A-4214 56th St., Holland, with Rev. Linda Knieriemen officiating. An indoor reception will follow inside the newly opened Visitors Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway.
Arrangements are by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home. Condolences may be left online at langelandsterenberg.com.