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Robert M. Vlietstra

May 24, 1937 ~ May 31, 2018 (age 81)
Went home to his loving Savior on May 31, 2018 at 3:00am. After giving all the love that was his to give to his family, church, and community, Bob's heart gave out while at home where he passed into heavenly rest and eternal glory. Bob was born the eldest of 5 children to Gerrit and Mabel E (Merriam) Vlietstra on May 24, 1937 in Birnamwood, Norrie Township, Wisconsin. Bob graduated from Birnamwood High School where he was a member of the 1954 State Championship Basketball team as well as a notorious troublemaker along with his twin brothers Jack and Jim. He was also distinctly proud of his degree from the School of Hard Knocks. Bob is remembered by all for his kindness, servant's heart, and the ability to tell stories with Olympic endurance. After hitchhiking to Kalamazoo from Wisconsin at age 18, Bob built a life for his family as a construction worker, Farm Bureau Insurance Agency Owner, Alamo Township Supervisor, and Western Michigan University Athletics usher. Bob served on many boards and committees including the board of Kalamazoo Christian Schools. In retirement, Bob traveled extensively. The Eisenhower administration seems to have built the Interstate Highway System for him and brothers Jack, Jim, sister Sharon, their spouses, and dear friend Marilyn. Most recently, racking up tens of thousands of miles, he completed tours of all the presidential libraries, nearly all the National Parks, and even participated in the commemoration and reenactment of the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War on his 3 times great-grandfather Miriam's farm, "Miriam's Corner" in Concord, Massachusetts. The cornerstone and guiding light of Bob's life was his saving relationship with Jesus Christ. From this deep well of faith Bob devoted his life to serving Clara Jean (Esman) his wife of 55 years, and raising son Nathan, daughter Stacey, grandsons Cameron, Donovan, and Gerrit, and great-granddaughter Massey. He was an elder of the Reformed Church in America for over 50 years, serving and giving of himself faithfully to Twin Lakes Reformed Church, Voyage Church, and the Southwest Michigan Classis. He is survived by son Nathan (Margaret) Vlietstra, Otsego, daughter Stacey (Rev. Brandon) Beebe, Charlevoix, MI, grandsons, Cameron, Donovan, and Gerrit, great-granddaughter Massey; brother Jack Vlietstra, sister Sharon (Bruce) Jensma, sister-in-law Diann Vlietstra; and many nieces and nephews. Bob is preceded into heavenly rest by his wife, mother and father, brothers Jim and Gary Dale, and sister-in-law Karen. Visitation will be held from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Friday, June 8th at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 South 9th Street Kalamazoo, MI. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, June 9th at Voyage Church 6339 Atlantic Avenue Kalamazoo, MI. Revs. Wes Tillett and Brandon Beebe will officiate. Afterward, all are invited to a reception at the church. A family interment will be in Alamo Central Cemetery immediately after the service. Memorial Donation can be made to "Kalamazoo Christian School Association" (Memo: Vlietstra - 2nd Impressions) benefitting the Second Impressions Thrift Store or Voyage Church. Please visit Bob's personalized webpage for directions, online guestbook, or to leave a condolence.


JUN 8. 04:00 PM - 06:30 PM

Langeland Family Funeral Homes Westside Chapel


JUN 9. 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Voyage Church
6339 Atlantic Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI, US, 49009
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