Benjamin Korendyk passed away peacefully on July 17, 2021 at his home in Kalamazoo Michigan, surrounded by his loving family. Ben was 89 years old and born on September 6, 1931 in Appingedam, Netherlands to Klaas and Henny Korendyk.
He had an enjoyable childhood growing up in the Netherlands playing with friends and particularly loved riding his bike to Hazelhof grandmother's farm. In Groningen, the family owned a butcher shop and during the war they provided food and assistance to the resistance. After the war, he served in the Dutch army medical Corps; his service was extended to assist in the rescue effort during the Great Flood helping many survivors.
In the 1950s, Ben's family emigrated to the United States and settled in Kalamazoo. He worked days as a construction worker and nights as a butcher for Kroger. He continued in construction trades and became a union hall carpenter. From there he worked his way up to Construction Supervisor. Ben had a remarkable construction career due to his strong work ethic. He worked on the original construction of several iconic Kalamazoo buildings including the Kalamazoo Center and WMU Read Field House; he then went on to supervise the subsequent renovation projects of these buildings decades later. He retired from Miller-Davis Company at 62 but went back to work for a few years with the AJ Etkins Company where he supervised several more projects downtown. Even in retirement, Ben had numerous projects and continued to enjoy working.
He met his beloved wife Eena in 1957. Eena was working in the United States as an au pair and although she returned to Germany, they continued to communicate through written letters and fell in love. They waited three years as her paper work cleared, and when she was able to immigrate, they were married in 1961. Ben and Eena went on to create a beautiful life together with a family of three boys (Clarence, Hans and Ben). He was a loving and inspirational father to the boys. He gave each of them love and support throughout their lives. Ben was a faithful and loving husband to Eena, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on April 20. They had many happy days together and are an inspiration to all of us.
Ben built their current residence in 1967, doing much of the work himself. Ben enjoyed working and playing with his boys. As the boys were growing up, he taught them countless skills and passed along his belief in helping others and hard work. After the boys married, Ben also helped each of their families with their houses and projects. He loved listening to what they were doing and giving counsel to them.
Ben was an active member of the Christian Reformed Church. In early years, he taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. In later years, he was a Deacon in the church and led the construction of the Northern Heights Christian Reformed Church. Ben also served on the Christian School Board. As part of his tenure, he oversaw the construction of major new facilities at North Christian School.
Ben enjoyed travel with the family went on many vacations throughout the United States and took multiple trips to visit family in Germany and the Netherlands. He took his sons to Jamaica and Europe as teenagers. Later in life he and Eena went on numerous trips including Alaska and Mexico as well as bringing many of their grandchildren to Europe as well.
Ben was a loving grandfather of 10 grandchildren, who in turn loved their Opa very much. He enjoyed talking to his grandchildren, listening to their stories and always looked out for their best interest. Ben and Eena made many trips to Ludington and Washington DC to visit the families of Ben and Clarence. He enjoyed many Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday meals with Hans's family in Kalamazoo. Ben was present at countless events, recitals, concerts, and sporting events because his grandchildren were so important to him. As he grew older, his grandchildren returned the favor of his care for them, by caring for him.
He endured a long battle with cancer. He went through rehabilitation multiple times just so that he could go home to be with his wife Eena. We are grateful for the exceptional care and love shown by the staff, nurses and doctors at Bronson Hospital, West Michigan Cancer Center, and Hospice of Southwest Michigan.
Ben was preceded in death by: Hans Korendyke (son), Martha Glas (sister), Harm Korendyk (brother), Klaas and Henny Korendyk (parents). He is survived by: Eena Korendyke (wife), children: Ben (and Kristin) Korendyke, Clarence (and Nancy) Korendyke, Jill Korendyke (wife of Hans), grandchildren: Amanda, Hannah, Ashley, Mary, David, Skylar, Anika, Karina, Mariella, and Halle.
Memorial contributions can be made in honor of Ben Korendyk to: Bronson Methodist Hospital.
Please visit Ben Korendyk's online guest book to leave a condolence, personal message or memory of him at https://www.langelands.com
service will be held at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, 3926 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, July 23 at 11AM.