Ivan Newton Woodhams, age 101, passed away June 21, 2021. He was born September 30, 1919 in Kalamazoo to the late Howard N. and Jennie R. (Peel) Woodhams.
Ivan grew up on a 40-acre fruit farm in Oshtemo Township. He attended Mattawan High School where he graduated in 1939. On May 12, 1941, Ivan was inducted into the Army and assigned to the Signal Corp.
Ivan was engaged to the woman that he would spend his life with, Dorothy, and planning a wedding for December 19th, 1941. He was living on base at Selfridge Field near Mt. Clemens Michigan, when he got word on December 11 that they were to be shipped out for Mitchel Field on Long Island and then to England. He called Dorothy at work to tell her that they would have to cancel their wedding plans. She said that she didn't think so. She drove from Kalamazoo to meet Ivan, and they were married by a minister in Roseville Michigan at 2 AM on December 12, 1941. Certainly not an elaborate wedding, but it seemed to work. They were together until her death on September 3, 2010, over 68 years.
Ivan served in the Army for four and a half years, which included time in England, France and Germany. He was honorably discharged on October 22, 1945.
Ivan started the next chapter of his life when he was hired by Michigan Bell Telephone company on October 29, 1945. His career took him to retirement as a Construction Supervisor on March 1, 1982, some 36 years and 5 months later.
In the Spring of 1953, an important change came to the lives of Ivan and Dorothy. They began to study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. They found great comfort and hope as they were learning what the Bible actually says about the purpose that Jehovah God has for the future of mankind under the promised Kingdom of Jesus Christ. They were baptized as Jehovah's Witnesses in the summer of 1954. Ivan became very active in the Kalamazoo South congregation where they attended. Acting as an ordained minister, he fulfilled several organizational roles in addition to the ministry work in the community.
In 1959, Ivan and his family along with another family were asked to transfer to another smaller rural congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Vicksburg, Michigan. The congregation was meeting in a rented facility and needed their own place of worship designed to hold Bible educational meetings. Within a few months of making that move, ground was broken on a modest but suitable place of worship at a location a few miles south of the town of Vicksburg. Ivan, along with many other volunteers, spent long hours working on that building that would be dedicated to the worship of Jehovah God. Over the years that followed, Ivan would work on the building or remodeling of a number of places of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses. Ivan remained attending the Vicksburg congregation until February of 2019 when he relocated to the Kalamazoo South Congregation which was much closer to his home.
Ivan was a hardworking man and a good provider for his family. Every year he would grow a large garden, and he loved to fish. He had a very social disposition and enjoyed being around others. His stories and visits will be deeply missed by those that knew him.
Ivan was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy (nee Klauberg) in 2010 and sisters, Ruth VanPelt and Esther Forslund.
He is survived by his son, Charles (Leslie) Woodhams; daughter, Carol (Ronald) Thompson; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren.
Per Ivan's wishes, cremation will take place, and a memorial service will be hosted by the Kalamazoo South congregation.
Memorial donations may be made to the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses (see https://www.JW.org).
Please visit Ivan's personalized online guestbook at https://www.langelands.com