A public Celebration of Life - Open House will be Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 1:00 - 5:00 PM at the Luverne Christian Reformed Church. Due to COVID-19 and concern for public health a private family service was previously held. Burial was at Maplewood Cemetery in Luverne.
GARY ALLAN VANDEN BERG was born on April 28, 1947 to Richard and Marie (Verhey) Vanden Berg at the Pipestone Hospital in Pipestone, Minnesota. He was baptized at Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Edgerton, Minnesota and later made his profession of faith at Fuller Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During his childhood, Gary’s family moved frequently throughout Rock County and Murray County. They settled on a farm near Edgerton where Gary and his brothers helped with the farming operation. When he was 16 years old, he took a job at Huisken Grocery Store in Edgerton. In 1965, Gary graduated from Southwest Christian High School in Edgerton. He then furthered his education at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa and Davenport College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and become a Certified Public Accountant. On June 13, 1969, Gary married Evy Flietstra at Fuller Christian Reformed Church. The couple first made their home in Grand Rapids. After a short time in Decatur, Michigan, they returned to southwest Minnesota and lived near Hardwick, Minnesota. At the time, Gary accepted a position at Les’ Foodland in Luverne, Minnesota. In the summer of 1975, they moved into a home on Lincoln Street in Luverne. In 1986, Gary and the family moved to Hawarden, Iowa, so that Gary could manage the grocery store there. They returned to Luverne in late 1988 and Gary began working for Kenny’s Grocery Store. In December 1989, he began in building maintenance at the Rock County Courthouse in Luverne where worked until his retirement in 2012. On Friday, December 25, 2020 while at the Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Gary went to be with the Lord at the age of 73 years, seven months and 27 days.
Gary was a member of the Christian Reformed Church in Luverne. He was passionate about teaching boys Christ and used the Calvinist Cadet Program to share his ministry. His passion started when he was a teenager when he was asked to be a Junior Counselor because of the talent with woodwork. Later he became a Counselor which eventually led him to becoming a Head Counselor for many years. The motto “Living for Jesus” was an important part of who he was. After many years of mentoring young boys, Gary changed his role and started to mentor the leaders teaching the boys and became a Director of Cadet Education. His favorite part of the year was when the camp came around. Whether it was international, regional or local programs, he could always be found helping out, either cooking or helping with crafts. He could also be found taking his group of boys for weekends of canoeing and camping. He received the Gold Star Award, which is the program’s highest honor, by the head office in Grand Rapids, Michigan in recognition of his service and dedication to the program. This honor has been given to very few Cadet leaders.
Gary was a member of the Green Earth Players in Luverne. During his time, he built numerous sets, was an actor in a few plays and served on the board. He was a member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and was a member of the Gideons. He loved woodworking and built and repaired many things for people. He will be remembered by many for his dry sense of humor, always having time for others, being humble and how he always carried a silly smirk on his face.
He is lovingly survived by his wife, Evy of Luverne; two daughters, Maria Korthals and Jennifer Vanden Berg, both of Luverne; six siblings, Connie Lovell of Mesa, Arizona, Rich (Nancy) Vanden Berg of Munster, Indiana, Les (Alice) Vanden Berg of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Verlyn (Anne) Vanden Berg of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Beth (Tom) Van Weelde of Hudsonville, Michigan, and Tim (Brenda) Vanden Berg of Pipestone; numerous cousins and relatives; and many friends. He was preceded in death by a stillborn son; parents; and two brothers, Ivan and Doyle Vanden Berg.