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John Marinus Van Sweden

December 30, 1928 ~ September 26, 2018 (age 89)
Van Sweden, John Marinus

Of Kalamazoo, MI

John Van Sweden, age 89, passed away September 26, 2018, at Bronson Hospital surrounded by his loving family, all of whom were surprised by the suddenness. John was born December 30, 1928, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Peter Van Sweden and Minnie (Vendeville) Van Sweden. His father was a Dutch immigrant who came to this country at the age of 16. John resided in Kalamazoo his entire life. Growing up, John lived close to the Kalamazoo Country Club where he became a caddy and shared the job of caddy master with Jack Moss, who became a lifelong friend and Kalamazoo Gazette columnist. Jack often made reference to John, who was actually the best man in his wedding, by ending those columns "John Van Sweden, Always My Best Man." It was a sentiment shared by many in his extended community.

John graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School where he was on the State Championship Golf Team all four years. After graduating from high school, he joined the US Marines serving from 1946 to 1948. After his honorable discharge, he attended and graduated from Bradley University School of Horology as a Watchmaker and went to work for Morrison Jewelers. He married Marie Van Nus in 1956. In 1974 he and wife Marie decided to give themselves a "Dutch Raise" (more hours for less money) and opened Van Sweden Jewelers in the basement of the ISB Building. They later moved the business to the Kalamazoo Mall where John enjoyed working with customers and was known to be a kind and giving businessman, sometimes taking a loss to help someone in need. In exchange, he extended his frugal ways by using the same Christmas wrapping paper, albeit a large roll, for fifteen years!

Golf was a passion John pursued and enjoyed and he was active in weekly golf leagues throughout his life. Indeed, at the age of 86 his team won the League Championship at Ridgeview Golf Course! In recent years John enjoyed wintering in Spring Hill, Florida, where he was able to play golf all winter. He continued to repair watches and attend jewelry shows while in Florida and Michigan until his passing. John also was a past member of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club.

John and Marie were known for always having an "open door" and over the years many people have called their house "home," and still fondly refer to them as "Mom and Dad."

John was preceded in death by his parents and brother Robert (Dutch) Van Sweden. John is survived by wife Marie, four children: Paul Van Sweden, Kalamazoo; Rebekah Van Sweden, Boulder, CO; Elizabeth (Ron) Bloomfield, Ridgeland, MS; and Daniel (Sally) Van Sweden, Kalamazoo; and grandchildren: Hillary and Allison Bloomfield; Adrianna, Joshua, and Aneka Van Hansen; Lillian, Nora, Lucas and Ava Van Sweden; and many friends and relatives including Julie Wood, a special niece. There will be two visitations…one at Langeland Family Funeral Home, Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2018, and another at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 247 W. Lovell St., Kalamazoo on Monday, October 1, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. The funeral will begin at 4:00 pm at St. Luke's and immediately following, a reception in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army or charity of your choice (or play a round of golf in his memory at your favorite course). John Van Sweden truly was Always the Best Man.

Please visit John's personalized guest book at

Donations may be made to:

Charity of Donors Choice

Salvation Army
1700 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo MI 49001
Tel: 2693446119

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